Is it difficult to know what your cat is thinking? Many cats aren’t exactly demonstrative of affection. Yet, even when your little one is seemingly giving you the cold shoulder, pet her a little, and listen. You might hear purring.
She’s not a pack animal like a dog, so being besties doesn’t come naturally to her. She likes to be alone, doing her own thing. The signs may be subtle sometimes, but there are indications that your cat loves you.
For example, she wants to be in the same room, perhaps not close by, but sharing space. Cats are still a little wild at heart, so their innate caution to keep a healthy distance sometimes makes them appear stand-offish. Being in the same room or following you around is an act of love. Acknowledge her presence with smiles and encouragement.
Getting a little closer, she may stare you down and then blink slowly. She’s saying she trusts you enough to shut her eyes for a moment – she doesn’t always have to be on guard. Tell her you feel the same by blinking slowly, too.
Tactile kitty love is shown in the way a cat will rub up against you, bump heads, wrap a tail around your legs, reach out for your hand, or even include you in her grooming routine. You’ve been tagged with her special scent. All the head bumping, cheeking and rubbing up against you is marking you as ‘safe’ and claiming you as her own. This scent has a very calming effect for her, too. As you pet her, you reciprocate the gesture somewhat with the natural oils on your hands, which is also soothing to her.
She may even include you in her morning grooming. That barbed tongue might feel pretty harsh, but once again she’s saying you are part of her family. This is a good time to get out the grooming tools and brush her while you tell her how special she is.
There are glands on her face around the mouth and cheeks, forehead, ears, between the toes, and all along the tail that mark her social group, special possessions and territory with molecular chemical compounds called pheromones. Although we can’t smell them, these molecules smell very strong to cats, and carry a long distance. When hunting in the wild, cats will avoid confrontation for resources by letting cats know they are there, so the other cat should hunt somewhere else. She’s marking you as her territory.
When a cat becomes strongly bonded, she will roll over, making herself completely vulnerable, which is an ultimate display of love and trust. It’s time to give her special attention and a very gentle chest rub.
You can know without a doubt that your cat loves you when you come home and she runs to greet you, tail raised high with excitement. Acknowledge this happy reunion with lots of affection, smiles and praise. She may sing or make ‘thrupp’-ing sounds, rub her head on you or wrap her tail around your leg in a hug. Sometimes the tail will be in a question mark shape. Let her smell your hands and clothes for clues.
When you do become best buddies, your cat will want to sit beside you or in your lap, and be with you all the time. It is a bond that will never be broken as long as she knows she can trust you.
Heron’s Crossing provides end-of-life care for pets in the Metro Atlanta area. In-home appointments with compassionate vets are available. If you’d prefer a home-like setting away from your home, our Decatur office is also available by appointment.