How Cats Show Affection to Owners, Other Cats

Cats are very friendly and playful animals. While you know that you love your cat, at times you wonder whether your cat feels the same. It is common to misunderstand cat language. To understand how a cat feels towards you, here is more on how cats show affection.

How Cats Show Affection

They say that a dog is a man’s best friend most likely since it is trainable, loves to exercise, intelligent, kid-friendly and an awesome pet. Myths surrounding the cat species claim that they are untrainable, aggressive, can cause infections especially to pregnant women and they do not love exercise because they tend to sleep a lot but guess what these are not true at all.

Cat Affection to their Owners
Cat Affection to their Owners

Despite the myths, cats have proven to be a woman’s best friend; maybe it’s due to their, snuggly warm nature or because they offer a confident, independent, non-judgmental environment. Famous celebrities not limited to Penelope Cruz, Taylor Swift, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz are cat lovers.

Quite the contrary, cats are highly intelligent as they make use of their brains to ‘compass’ their way back home when lost. They learn more by acting out what they are shown rather than watching meaning that they create long-term memories. Surprisingly they are also very low maintenance especially since they don’t crave for too much attention as compared to dogs and clean well after themselves by licking and pooping in the litter box. Cats only expose their litter if

Surprisingly they are also very low maintenance especially since they don’t crave for too much attention as compared to dogs and clean well after themselves by licking and pooping in the litter box. Cats only expose their litter if craving for attention or intimidating their owners.

Cat Behavior

Cats belong to the family of the world’s fastest animals and are thus very fast and can jump very high (six times) depending on breed and height.  The whiskers in cats are highly sensed receptors directly connected to the brain that provides timely warnings to cats of eminent danger, that’s why cats are myth logically presented as having ‘nine’ lives.

Interestingly cats can survive in areas where there is only sea water for drinking and are able to communicate with both humans and animals in unique ways. For example, they may cry like babies to seek attention when they are hungry, chirrup and meow when humans converse with them and amazingly understand dolphin communication.

Over the years men are slowly warming up to this snuggle, warm creatures as they have learned to demystify all the fables about cats. At times giving their cats weird names and posting them on social media. Male celebrities including George Clooney, John Travolta Nicholas Cage, Ian Somerhalder, Jesse Eisenberg, Rock star Morrissey and Christopher Walken are ardent cat lovers.

Male celebrities including George Clooney, John Travolta Nicholas Cage, Ian Somerhalder, Jesse Eisenberg, Rock star Morrissey and Christopher Walken are ardent cat lovers.

How Cats Show Affection to Owners

Cats have different ways of expressing their emotions, and though they rarely cry to express pain or displeasure, they may bite or scratch when agitated. But since they are warm creatures they often express love through:

Snuggling/cuddling

Cats are very defenseless when asleep. When they choose to snuggle and sleep on human laps, it is a sign that they feel safe and affectionate to the owner. Example include Devon Rex and Bombay breed that enjoys cuddling on lap and shoulders.

Yawning

Though this is usually considered an involuntary muscle move, cats express affection when they do yawn in front of their owners.

Welcoming at the door

Cats have a high sense of hearing better than humans so they can detect subtle sounds like the sound of the owner’s car and when they love the owner, they will be ready to ‘say’ hi when they arrive. When they are very excited, they do a little skip, jump dance.

Shadowing the owner

Cats do love attention, and though they act a bit independent, if they do follow their owner around all the time even in showers, it’s a sign that they are affectionate. Some breeds of cats including Ragdoll, Abyssinian, Burmese and Turkish Angora can swim and wouldn’t mind playing with water.

Staring then blinking

It may seem a bit threatening when a cat stares directly at the owner; it oozes the cats’ confidence and intimidating power. However when it blinks after the stare a couple of times, then the cat just loves you.

Purring, chirring and meowing

This is a form of communication used by cats. They can chirr when a stranger approaches to show approachability, and if they purr loudly, then it means that the cat is affectionate.  Examples include Persian, Siamese breed who love to cuddle, yowl and purr which often imitate human talking.

Gentle biting

Cat Biting Gently is a Way of Saying "I Love You"
Cat Biting Gently is a Way of Saying “I Love You”

Cats have sharp teeth, and when agitated they give a very serious bite. However, they often nibble on owner’s ears, face or fingers in a playful manner. It is often accompanied by the purr or a gentle push with their front paws. When nibbling the cats don’t expose their teeth.

Head- bunting /bumping

Cats communicate through scent in their waste and pheromones( ordinary elements released to the environment)  found in their paws, tail, anal area, chin, mouth and chin glands.

Cat head bunting owner
Cat head bunting owner

When they “head bunt” or gently bump their heads onto humans they are showing their affection and ‘marking’ their territory. This is because they can relate to when as kittens they would use their heads to find the perfect spot when nursing. .An example is the Maine Coone, a kind giant who loves to head butt, play with water and follow the owner.

This is because they can relate to when as kittens they would use their heads to find the perfect spot when nursing. .An example is the Maine Coone, a kind giant who loves to head butt, play with water and follow the owner.

Gentle scratching

Cats love to exercise their claws and are often found scratching furniture. If they often scratch areas where their owner occupies, it is a way to mark their territory, leave their scent and express love.

Paw kneading

The mother –child bond remains unbroken for a long time when kittens are lactating they tend to gently press their front paws on their mothers to increase milk flow, and this is a habit that they adopt till adulthood. So when a cat gently kneads its front paws on humans, this is a sign of affection. Example includes the Egyptian Mau who loves kneading the owner’s lap with the front paws

So when a cat gently kneads its front paws on humans, this is a sign of affection. Example includes the Egyptian Mau who loves kneading the owner’s lap with the front paws

Face rubbing

Rubbing their faces and upper gums which are full of pheromones on human legs and face, to leave their spoor and mark their territory.

Tail rubbing

Using their tails a  relaxed posture with a still vertical tail, vibrating tail, wagging of the tail similar to that of a dog and creating of an upside ’U’ tail by kittens expresses affection and excitement.

Cats often groom through licking, and they have often spotted bonding with each other through this process. When they do this gently to a human, it is a sign of affection.

Obedient poses

Cats are usually found on their ‘fours’ and rarely lie on back with belly exposed as it is a sign of weakness. However, when they roll on their back, exposing their tummy, it’s a sign of trust, comfort, and affection. An example is a Sphynx breed who is entertaining and loves to roll on the floor.

Cats are usually very alert creatures, and when they are aggressive, their ears tend to lie flat on their head. But when they are calm with the owner they tend to faintly relax their ears in an upright, manner.

They also may prolong their necks to the owners for it to be stroked as a sign of love.

Urinating

Cats are usually very territorial, and in some cases, the male cats often referred to as ‘Tom’ urinates on their handler’s bed as a marking sign. The urine is much stronger than normal, but it is a way of fond communication.

Attention seeking

When a cat tries to show off some of the tricks learnt it seeking attention from the owner and expressing its affection. In some cases they cats may present to the owner a dead animal, it may be seen as a sign of mocking the owners hunting skills, but it’s also a way of expressing security and affection. Examples of these breeds include:

  • Cornish Rex breed who always loves to compete even with family dogs.
  • Tonkinese breed who are highly trainable in playing fetch, walking on a leash. They also enjoy lap cuddling and very devoted.
  • Ocicat and American Bombay breed who love to learn

Responsiveness

Cats are intelligent and good listeners and when they are able to listen when given basic instructions such as covering their poop, not littering when they are instructed not to. This then means that they are affectionate to their owner. If they are also able to rush to the owner when their name is called out, it shows that they are attentive.

Examples include Chartreux and Manx breed which are intelligent and can respond to their name.

How Cats Express Affection to Other Cats

Cats have salient ways of expressing affection   to each other through:

How Cats Show Affection to Each Other
How Cats Show Affection to Each Other

Raising of their tails

This is perceived as a form of greeting, and in a friendly environment, one cat raises their tail in an upright position and the other responds. In some cases where there are older cats, they tend to raise their tails higher than the rest as a show of dominance.

Allogrooming

By licking each other’s face grooming each other, they are able to bond through the process.

They may also lick each other on top of the head as part of grooming.

Nose touching

Touching of noses allows exchange of sniffs and scents (olfactory communication) about their escapades

Momentary whisker-touching

Whiskers are vital to a cat’s existence as they act as sense receptors that not only allow a cat to move through tiny spaces, encourage it to hunt but also it warns of impendent danger. By touching each other’s whiskers, it means that the cats have both received brain information that they are in a friendly environment.

Butt sniffing

When cats lick each other just above the tail, they sense from the anal pouches located on the cat butt which scent is received and from there can identify friendliness level of the other felines.

It is also a form of greeting for cats in a familiar environment and also a form of bonding between mothers and their kittens when grooming.

For kittens, it’s a way to relate to their mothers

Cuddling

Snuggling with each other during cold weather to keep each other warm especially mothers and kittens.

Subtle rubbing gestures

Cats mark territory and communicate by leaving the scent on each other through:

  • Quick rubbing against each other
  • Head bumping.
  • Cheek to cheek rubbing

Paw swatting

Cats gently and quietly slap each other using their paws without unleashing their claws not to mark their territory but also be playful. They also engage in gentle wrestling where they often nib and pounce on each other.

Purring

Mothers purr to signal her presence to her kittens, and the kittens respond when their mother is stroking them.

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