15 Incredible Ways That Cats Show Affection For Humans

close up photo of white short fur kitten sleeping on persons leg
  • Cats have a reputation of being indifferent to your presence but there are many ways cats show affection for humans
  • Cats show love for their owners by curling their tails, nibbling toes, licking ears, and many more sweet gestures
  • Discover how your cat declares its love to you. Number 9 will surprise you!

There is no doubt that we love our kitties unconditionally. For most of us, it’s easy to tell that our cats love us back.

But, if you are still wondering how cats show their affection for humans, we have listed several incredible ways that cats are trying to show their love for us.

Some of those are pretty well-known, but others might be new to you. If there’s this weird thing your cat keeps on doing to you, it might just be trying to tell you something…

Do cats love their owners?

cute cat showing affection for human

All cats have different personalities, and some may exhibit more signs of affection than others. Regardless, it is clear cats do care for their owners and feel affection towards them.

Often people say that as long as you give your cat food and a place to sleep, they don’t really care for humans. Well, granted, cats are not that enthusiastic in showing their love like dogs. That’s because cats are very subtle creatures. When you pay attention, you’ll see that they send clear and frequent clues that they really care for us.

Below, we’ll go over some of the known and lesser-known things your cat might do to show its love for you.

How do cats show affection towards their owners?

Below are several signs of affection your cat may exhibit. Not all cats will do all of these things because some cats have a more outgoing personality than others, just like humans.

When you recognize the ways your cat is trying to communicate with you, you can start to reciprocate those displays of cat-affection.

1. Giving you attention, trying to communicate with you

If your cat regularly communicates with you, it”s a sure sign that it cares about you. It acknowledges your presence and feels it wants to share something with you.

Cats communicate with humans in many different ways. When cats want to tell you their bowl is empty and they’re hungry, they will be very clear about it and greet you with loud meowing. Normally though, cats are not so clear and straightforward as dogs when communicating with humans.

Here are some cues that your cat is trying to let you know he’s really into you;

2. Cats making eye contact and slow blinking at you

Normally cats are not really into making eye contact, especially not with other animals. Making eye contact in the animal kingdom is considered threatening behavior. Normally it’s used during a standoff or any other conflict situation between animals.

cats blinking their eyes at you. Cats show affection for humans

However, domestic cats have learned that humans tend to make eye contact as a form of communication, and they’re copying it. If you notice your cat making eye contact with you, it’s a sign of trust, and it’s showing interest in you.

When your cat blinks her eyes slowly at you, it means “I trust you” and “I like you”. She’s totally comfortable around you. In the cat-world, closing your eyes in front of another cat show total trust and acceptance. Return the gesture by slowly blinking back at your cat.

3. Giving head-boops to show affection

Have you ever noticed cats rubbing their cheeks against you or giving you head-boops? Apart from showing affection towards you, this is also a way of saying to other cats, “this human belongs to me”.

Cats have glands in their cheeks and forehead that secrete feromones that other cats can smell and recognize. They use it to mark their territory but also their ‘possessions’ and loved ones.

4. Purring for comfort

Purring is a well-known and universal sign of cats having a good time. Although in some situations, purring can be a sign that something is wrong, more often than not, it’s a sign of happiness.

kitten lying on surface. cat exposing belly. cats show affection for humans

More clearly stated, cats purr as a sign of seeking comfort. It means, “don’t stop what you’re doing” or “please continue to pet me there”. When a cat is injured, scared, or in pain, purring often means that your cat asks you to stick around, protect it or provide care.

5. Curling its tail around your leg

When a cat curls its tail around your leg, it’s the equivalent of humans holding hands or putting an arm around each other. Cats do this to express their bond with you. It’s a sign of love and friendship and unmistakenly a way that cats show affection for humans.

Often your cat will try to make eye contact with you while doing this. You can acknowledge this kind gesture by looking back at your cat and slowly blinking your eyes.

6. Sleeping in your vicinity

Animals in the wild will only allow themselves to fall asleep when they’re in a safe place. Either when they’re alone or surrounded by other animals they trust. This is because they don’t want to risk attack while sleeping.

Your cat still has those same instincts. That’s why it’s a sign of trust when your cat feels comfortable sleeping when you’re around.

7. Showing their bellies

A cat showing her belly and let you stroke it is often a sign of trust as well. Few of us can resist ruffling that cute and fluffy cat belly.

grey tabby kitten lying down and showing her belly

By exposing her belly, a cat is letting her guard down and acts submissively towards you. When showing their belly, they expose their most vulnerable body parts, and therefore, it means they trust you completely.

On the other hand, be careful when a cat you don’t know well displays this behavior (e.g., stray cats or other people’s cats). It may also be a defensive act, often displayed by cats who feel cornered. If you try to stroke them, they could take a swipe at you.

It’s good to be careful, but usually, it’s easy to determine a cat’s intentions by looking at its eyes and ears.

8. Eating out of your hand

woman feeding cat from her hand. Cats show affection for humans

Unless she’s famished, cats will not eat out of any human’s hand. Cats are very wary of danger and strange smells. Therefore, they won’t eat from a stranger’s hand as dogs do.

If your cat eats treats out of your hand, it means she totally trusts you or is just very spoiled 🙂

9. Use the toilet when you’re around

Even domestic cats still have the instincts of wild cats. To survive in the wild, you must always be vigilant and strong, ready to fight off intruders or attackers. Wild animals are also very aware of their scent and how it may give their position away to others.

That’s why cats like to find a quiet spot, out of sight and away from potential threats when they defecate. It’s not because they’re shy or embarrassed but because they’re in no position to fend off an intruder.

So, when a cat feels comfortable enough to use the litter box when you’re close by, that is a sign she doesn’t consider you a threat.

That said, we would advise placing the litter box in a quiet place or separate room of your house. Even if your kitty trusts you, she will enjoy some privacy when relieving herself.

10. Coming to see you when you get home

Cats have the reputation of being aloof and indifferent to your presence, but that’s not true. Most of the time, they enjoy your presence and notice when you’re gone.

It’s not uncommon for cats to come to see you when they hear you come through the door. It’s not just because they want food but more to say, “Hey, I’m glad you’re back”. Acknowledging your presence is one of the ways cats show affection for humans.

Even though cats are okay with being by themselves for some time, they enjoy interacting with you. When you play with them or stroke them, it releases oxytocin in their brains, making them happy.

11. Brings you presents

Cat catching a mouse to show affection to humans

Using the term ‘present’ loosely because, more often than not, these are not the kind of presents humans enjoy getting.

Cat presents often come in the form of a dead (or decapitated) bird or critter. While you might not enjoy getting these presents, it’s your cat’s way of saying, “you’re family, I take care of you”.

Bringing you a prey lets them show their accomplishments as a hunter. Apart from an essential skill to have in the wild, it’s also a way of survival. It means a lot when your cat wants you to be part of that.

So, before you react negatively and punish your cat for its kill, think twice and complement it instead. Dispose of your present out of your cat’s sight.

12. Licks your hair or ears

Cats living in groups not only groom themselves but each other as well. It’s a social interaction, and it displays care and affection for each other.

When your cat tries to groom you by licking your hair or ears, it’s a sign of companionship and trust. She considers you part of her group and cares about you.

13. Kneading

Kittens nursing from their mother knead her to stimulate the milk flow. Older cats exhibit this behavior as it makes them remember how safe and comfortable they felt when doing this with their mother. It’s also a sign of affection and bonding.

A kneading cat is a sign of comfort

When your cat is kneading you as it sits in your lap, it’s their way of telling you they love you and enjoy being with you. Sometimes you might notice cat-farts when they are kneading. This is just a sign of your cat being totally relaxed and able to let its guard down around you.

14. Love bites and nibbles

This is especially common in kittens. Soft nibbling and biting in your fingers or toes is also a sign of fondness and showing affection for humans.

Love bites are easily distinguishable from real bites because they won’t hurt you at all. It’s a cat’s way of showing friendship and playfulness. It feels you’re its buddy and friend.

15. Tail signs

excited cat with tail up
Credit: Photo by Gerard Lacz/REX Shutterstock (4087552a)

Cats, like dogs, communicate their mood through their tail. Not only towards humans but also other cats. As a matter of fact, cats communicate more through body gestures and feline body language than they do by meowing.

When your cat approaches you with its tail straight up, it’s a sign of trust. When it’s straight up and slightly curled at the end, your cat is excited to see you. If, on top of that, its tail is quivering slightly, you’re probably her favorite human, and she’s happy to see you.

Tom Alexander is a life-long cat parent and enjoys sharing a home with his cat Max and his family. Being a devoted cat person, his passion for everything feline and blogging is the driving force behind catnfriends.com. As the founder and editor at Cat & Friends, Tom aims to provide an interesting and great resource for cat owners.

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