Cat Secrets Revealed! How to Know If your Cat (or Dog) Really Loves You

Pebbles the Blind Cat

It’s easy to distinguish people who know cats versus people who think they know cats. First of all, people who say they don’t like cats, well, they simply must not know cats (or at least they must not know me). So often us sweet kitties are characterized by the ignorant folk as aloof, independent creatures who only care about ourselves. Sometimes people make comments like, “I had a cat I liked once. But that was only because he acted just like a dog. He followed me everywhere.”

Oh, my inner feline groans just to hear offensive comments like this. It’s just embarrassing for the humans who make comments like that. Please, oh please listen up while I clear up some of the misconceptions about feline love. I may even throw in a couple of thoughts on canine affection as well, just to avoid any accusations of media bias. 

Dogs were bred to be close companions to humans. Cats, having evolved comparatively little, were simply encouraged to live near humans to keep pests under control. Dogs learned to communicate with humans and they even share a similar linear social structure. Felines have maintained their own communication style and distinct social structure. But don’t, just don’t, confuse different with cold, indifferent, unfriendly, etc. Now, pay close attention. I’m about to reveal some feline insider information. Here are some ways we (oh so subtly) reveal our love to our human companions.

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Bunting

You know that adorable thing we do where we bump our heads and rub our cheeks up against you? Yep, it’s a real thing. Bunting. And it means “I love you. You belong to me,” in cat speak. We deposit scent glands that mark our territories and belongings. And we only rub things that are the most important to us.

 

Rolling

Cat tummies are cute, no doubt. Because the abdomen in such a vulnerable area for us, we only present them to those we love and trust the most. With very few exceptions, cats will not tolerate a belly rub. No, just don’t do it. Seriously, guys, this is not a lesson you want to learn the hard way.

Gordon has such a sweet, soft belly. Trust me, he is NOT asking for a belly rub.

Purring

Okay, this is an easy one. Felines begin purring at birth, and it continues throughout life in domesticated cats. We can mean a lot of things when we purr, but very often we use it to communicate contentment with our human or feline companions. It helps us bond and demonstrates affection. As a side note, the low vibrations emitted during purring have been found to have healing properties on both  kitties and people alike. You’re welcome.

The Slow Blink

So you want to tell your feline companion that you love her? Just gaze at her from across the room and blink slowly. If you get a blink back she is saying, “I love you, too.” Aren’t we just precious? For obvious reasons I asked my sister, Mia, to demonstrate the loving stare.

Mia is beautifully demonstrating the loving stare

Meowing

If your feline companion meows at you, feel flattered. We only rarely talk to other cats. We know that humans are not extremely advanced at reading body language. Being the patient and accommodating creatures that we are,  we have learned to vocalize more around humans. But it is typically reserved only for those we are most bonded with.

Gifting

Ever day can be Christmas with a cat! You will find that we can be very generous with our gift giving. We only give to those we love and trust the most, and we will gladly present our most prized possessions. This may be a toy or even a (live or dead) catch that we have made. We are just so charitable like that.

True story – Mom told me about what my sister, Echo, did before I was born. It was nighttime, Mom and Dad were just laying down to go to sleep. They heard Echo yowling in the hall, and she promptly jumped on the bed and climbed on Dad’s chest. Proudly she presented him with a gift because she adores him. And she was even kind enough to bring it before she had even killed it. When he saw a sudden flash of movement he realized what it was. A spider. Not a little house spider, mind you. No, this was the largest hairy spider dad had ever seen. Now, Mom and Dad did not seem to be as appreciative of the gift as they should have been. I think there was some unnecessary jumping and yelling involved. But at least they can’t deny that Echo loves them!

Close Contact

Despite popular nonsense beliefs, cats love to be near their humans. We will follow them, sit by them, knead on them, even groom them. And, seriously, what is better than a warm kitty in your lap?

Tail Position

When a cat is greeting a friend of any species they signal their intentions for a positive interaction with their tail position. The typical “I love you” tail is straight up with the slight shepherds hook bend on the end.

Pebbles the Blind Cat loves her mom, showing "I love you" tail
I’m showing Mom “I love you” tail.

What about dogs? How to know if your dog loves you

There is one question you can ask yourself to know if your dog loves you. Are you ready for it? Here it is: do you have a dog?

If you answered “yes” to the above question, then congratulations! Your dog loves you. Now, I mean no offence to the simpleton canines out there, bless ’em, but they are really not that complicated.

Because dogs have a similar communication style to humans, they are easier for people to understand. They want to be close, following and even leaning up against their human. They frequently watch out the window waiting for said human to return home and bounce around (foolishly) when they finally get back. Like cats, they like to share their (often slobbery) toys. And of course you know the tail wagging.

Very disturbing to me is the mouth licking. Dogs use quick flicks of the tongue (and they prefer your mouth) to demonstrate their submisison. Really, pups? Right after eating the yard crunchies out there? No thank you!

And dogs even smile. It looks different on all of them, but they tend to have a loose body posture with a parted mouth and tongue gently lolling out. Some dogs even present a wide grin and show their teeth, like my canine sister, Linnie.

Linnie grins from ear to ear when she sees someone she loves.

Hopefully by now you realize that just because we are not typically as outwardly demonstrative as some other species, cats certainly have no less love for our human caretakers. So the next time some foolish person talks to you about how “aloof” cats are, please feel free to pee in their favorite shoes for me.

Until next time – Keeping Pebbles Strong!

 

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