Reason Why Your Cat Won’t Kiss You Back

girl kissing a cat

Most of us kissed our cats to show our affection, and that’s completely natural because it is how we, humans, show affection. But do our cats understand kisses, or do they think it’s just a weird thing that humans do?

Cats don’t attribute the same meaning to a kiss as humans do. Although they likely understand it’s a gesture of affection towards them, cats are generally not fond of kisses. Depending on your cat’s personality and the relationship you have with it, their response will vary. It is more suitable to show affection in ways that your cat better understands.

Do cats like to be kissed?

As a general rule, cats don’t like to be kissed. When having a close relationship with a cat and with their favorite person, they might tolerate it. However, when kissing a cat that doesn’t know you well, you risk getting an annoyed look or being swatted at. It is preferred to show affection in ways that cats understand better.

Unlike humans, animals do not use their mouths to show affection toward one another. Apart from eating, it is generally used in defense or when showing aggression. 

Think about a cat hissing or showing its teeth. That is a clear sign for you to stay away. By kissing your cat, you might unwillingly display behavior that your cat can interpret as a sign of aggression. 

How to kiss your cat if you have to?

If you cannot resist the urge and just have to kiss your cat, what are the best ways to go about it?

Kisses on the top of her head are the best way to show affection through a kiss. Depending on your cat’s personality and the relationship you have with her, she might be okay with a kiss on her forehead. 

In case she puts her ears back, looks at you annoyed, or even growls, then you might want to give it a pass.

Kisses on the mouth are generally something to avoid. First of all, your cat will probably not enjoy your breath so close to its nose and mouth, and it’s generally an invasion of its privacy to get this close.

Secondly, you will be at risk of contracting germs that are harmless to your cat but can cause diseases in humans such as ringworm, parasites, or harmful bacteria. Some people are more sensitive to this than others, but especially pregnant women, kids, and people with a weaker immune system should avoid kissing cats.

cat kissing another cat

How to best show affection to your cat?

The best way to show affection towards your cat is to take good care of her and to spend time together. When you want to make a loving gesture, cats are fond of petting, belly rubs, receiving treats, and sleeping together. 

The most common way to show affection is to pet them gently. As most cat lovers know, the best areas to pet your cat are their cheeks, forehead, and upper back. Of course, a belly rub is among their favorites as well after you have established trust with her.

Cats are very sensitive to our tone of voice when speaking to them.

Addressing your cat in a soothing and calm voice during a petting session shows you care, and your cat will feel completely at ease.

Another great way to show your love is to prepare a special treat for your cat, something she usually doesn’t often get to show you made a special effort.

How does your cat show affection to you?

The best way to display signs of affection to your cat is by copying cat behavior and show your love in the same way they show affection.

As with anything feline, their signs of affection are as subtle as their regular communication, but for trained cat owners, this is not hard to pick up on.

So, what to look out for? How do cats show their affection to their human companions?

  • By giving you cheek rubs – Cats love to rub their cheeks on objects or people to show affection. By doing this, they rub off their scent from the glands located near their cheeks. Your cat doing this with you is a clear sign of affection towards you. 
  • By giving head boops or bumps – Head boops have the same effect as cheek rubs, and it’s also typical behavior for cats to show affection towards the receiver of the head bump.
  • Showing affection through grooming – Cats living together often engage in mutual grooming, and it’s a very common way of showing love. Sometimes cats copy this with humans and lick your hair, arm, or hand. 
  • By slow blinking at you – A very subtle gesture of love is your cat trying to make eye contact and slow blinking at you. This is a universal sign of friendliness in the cat world, and when you’re on the receiving end of it, you can be sure your cat likes you. Be sure to return this gesture by slow blinking back at her.
  • By spending time with you – When your cat likes to be in your vicinity and generally spends a lot of time with you, that’s a clear sign of a cat showing they like you and trust you. Especially when she sleeps close to you, you have her complete trust.
  • By making physical contact – Cats who are apprehensive keep at a safe distance. A cat who wants to show affection is likely to make physical contact with you by rubbing against your legs or touching your hands to make you pet her.
  • By specific body language – By picking up on your cat’s body language, you can tell a lot about how she thinks about you. For example, when her tail is up high, and her ears are pointed forward when walking towards you, she’s happy to see you and wants to spend time with you.
  • By talking to you – Although cats don’t use language as a primary form of communication among themselves, they do with humans. When your cat is chatty, and especially when uttering high-pitched meows or trills, you can be sure she’s enjoying your company.
  • By bringing you presents – Cats wanting to show their love may bring you small gifts. These can just be small items she found around the house, but these can also be dead prey. Receive these gracefully and show your appreciation as it’s a very special form of showing love.

Want to see more ways that cats show their affection to humans? See our post here to discover 15 ways that cats show that they love us.

cat showing affection to a dog

Related questions

Is it wrong to kiss your cat on the lips?

Apart from that, cats generally do not enjoy being kissed on the lips or mouth; there is a risk of transferring germs or bacteria that cause disease in humans. It is best not to make mouth-to-mouth contact with your cat.

How do cats say sorry

Cats apologize when they sense that their owner is angry at them or disappointed by something they did. They are very sensitive to our mood and body language and apologize by giving us attention, head-boops, or blink-eyes.

Is it bad to kiss your cat on the nose?

It is best not to kiss your cat on their nose because a cat’s nose is very sensitive. It may startle them are even hurt slightly. Additionally, there is a risk of transferring germs or bacteria that are harmful to humans. 

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 As the founder and editor at Cat & Friends, Tom aims to provide an interesting and great resource for cat owners.

Back to top