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How Do Cats Show Affection to Humans? - Petsy

How Do Cats Show Affection to Humans?

You may notice your cat is wandering around more often when you’re at home or they may be relaxing far away from you.

Cat showing affection

You may take this as a sign of disinterest and that your cat doesn’t care about you. In fact, there is a common misconception that cats are not affectionate primarily because they more subtle in their expression, compared to dogs who display affection much more explicitly. But that doesn’t mean the bond between you and your cat is any less. Read on to find out some of how your cat shows love. 

Body language

Specifically, tail language is key when decoding cat behavior. It tells a lot about the cat, and often cats use their tail as a form of expression. Remember the moment when your cat was winding its way through your legs or sat so close to you until its tail touched you? It’s a sign of a happy cat. An upright tail with a slight curve at the top can be translated as “You make me so happy!” Similarly, if a cat offers their belly up for a rub, this is the ultimate sign of trust and affection your cat has for you. 


A cat’s purr communicates several different emotional states. Compare it to a human smile – you could smile when you’re happy, nervous, trying to make someone else smile. Similarly, cats may purr in contentment, when they are nervous, sick or even to soothe a potential opponent as a last route of escape. The most common interpretation of a purr is a sign of pleasure. 

So when you are stroking or grooming your cat, and you hear it purr, your cat is merely saying, “this is the best experience ever! I love you.” They are letting you know how much they are enjoying their bonding time. 

At other times, when your cat rushes to you when you open the door, the meow is your cat telling you, “I’m so happy to see you!”

Eye contact

They say the eyes are the windows to the world. For cats, the eyes are a huge factor in how they show love. A long, lingering stare may seem intimidating but step into the paws of a cat. Cats make eye contact with people they love! So that stare that seemed unnerving is actually your cat expressing its love for you. 

As a fun fact, cats are known to make “eye kisses.” They will start with half-closed eyelids and slowly blink repeatedly. You can easily reciprocate this gesture and share the love!

Social behaviours

Cheek rubs and head-butts are social behaviours in which cats build bonds and affection. When they love another cat (or human!), they attempt to both mark and mingle scents with them. So in essence, when your cat is head-butting or cheek rubbing, its simply saying “I love you!”.

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