Cats can’t say they love us with words, but they do have their own love language that they share with us on a daily basis. Here are 7 ways your cat tells you he loves you:
Listen when its time to relax:
1. Grooming – (or allogrooming) is a behavior that happens between two cats during times of rest and involves cuddling up and licking and grooming each other. This act of love reinforces friendships and provides stability in the group. It can also be a way of offering ‘a fig leaf’ when reconciliation is required after a recent misunderstanding. So when your cat gives you a lick, you don’t just taste nice, he is reinforcing your relationship.
Listen with your eyes:
2. Tail position – When your cat approaches you with his tail in an upright position he is greeting you and inviting you to stroke and play with him.
3. All in the eyes – Eyes reveal a lot about how your cat is feeling. Narrowed pupils communicate a content cat that is relaxed in your presence. When your cat slow blinks at another cat, it is believed he is looking for reassurance in a tense environment. So if you are staring at your cat and he starts blinking at you, he may be feeling intimidated and it is a good idea to redirect your gaze of love.
4. Scratching – your cat will often scratch on a mat or the arm of a couch when he is entering a room or returning home. Aside from leaving a familiar scent in his environment (see below), your cat is visually saying “hello good to see you my friend”.
Listen with your nose:
Communicating through scent is very important in the feline world and cats send and receive a mountain of information though special glands along the body; including face, side, base of tail and paws.
5. Rubbing – (or more correctly, allorubbing) is another mutual behavior that helps to confirm and maintain relationships and a familiar scent in the environment. It is believed that cats rub against the head and body of other cats to acknowledge the other cat’s status rather than to be submissive. So when your cat rubs against your leg he is confirming he has a relationship with you and exchanging smells to provide reassurance that you both belong in the same group. And although cats don’t live in a structured hierarchy, he is probably acknowledging your status. He may also just have you very well trained as, in the past when he has done this he has been rewarded with you going to the treat cupboard!
Listen with your ears:
6. Meow – When your cat ‘meows’ with an open mouth that gradually and softly closes, he is greeting you and encouraging social interaction.
7. Purrrrr – Did you know that cats don’t only purr when they are happy, they purr when they are stressed too? But your cat does purr with you during interactions that he enjoys.
Bowen, J & Heath, S (2005). Behavior problems in Small Animals. Practical advice for the veterinary team. Elsevier Saunders