30 Signs Your Cat May Love You After All
Cats are sometimes mysterious. They’re highly independent creatures that only do what they want to do. But that doesn’t mean they don’t love their human owners. There are all sorts of cat signs that prove you’re accepted in their small little circle of affection. The key is getting to know your cat and understanding the ways they’re trying to signal that they love you every day.
In case you’re curious where to begin, here’s a list of the 30 most common signs your cat loves you. Keep in mind they’re different for every cat, every situation and every personality. But knowing at least a few of these may help you decipher the various ways your cat is communicating with you.
And if none of these resonate, here are 30 signs your cat actually does hate you.
The Intense Stare Down
Masters of both intensity and patience, a cat staredown can be unnerving at first. But if your cat looks at you for long periods of time (without, it seems, even blinking), it can be a signal that they love you. Though it may feel like they’re plotting your demise, they could be just protecting you.
Of course, if they haven’t been fed in a while, it could also be that they’re interested in some food. But rest assured, they can be hungry and love you. They just might love you more when they’re fed.
What the Experts Say About Cats Staring
There are lots of reasons a cat may stare, but according to leading veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein, cats typically stare out of curiosity, protection and affection.
So, there’s no need to feel awkward. Just soak in the love.
Kneading Your Body
Cats may not be trained masseuses, but they sure know how to work their way into your muscles when they want to. Kneading into your leg, your back or your arm is often called “making biscuits,” and it’s a very common way that cats show affection.
Cats will knead anything they can get their paws on, from couches to blankets to bodies to beds. Even if their claws come out in the process, they’re not using them aggressively. It’s a sweet way to show they see you as comfort.
What the Experts Say About Cats Kneading
Kittens first learn to knead on their mother’s bellies as a sign that they’re hungry. Even when they’re weaned and away from their mothers, they continue to do this as a sign of affection and as a destressor.
To do it on a human is usually a signal that they’re ready to chill out and are preparing their favorite spot, which is often alongside their owner.
Being Your Sleepytime Companion
A cat choosing to sleep cuddled up on you is a great signal that you have a strong bond. Some cats sleep next to you to assert dominance or make sure you’re still protected. But even if a cat thinks that it is in charge (and, let’s be honest, they usually are), that doesn’t mean that it loves you any less. It just may mean it also feels the need to protect you more.
Then again, some cats just enjoy snuggling in with you with no agenda beyond simply enjoying the warmth.
What the Experts Say About Cats Sleeping on You
If a cat sleeps on or near you, it means they think of you as a secure place and that they trust you. They also usually grow up sleeping with a group of other family members.
So, now that they may not have them around, you become their chosen family.
Showing You Some Tummy
Cats may have a reputation for always landing on their feet, but that doesn’t mean they prefer to stay there. Happy cats often show their bellies as a signal of trust and as a way of asking for affection. Of course, it can vary depending on the cat, but most cats that show their belly are looking to get some sweet pets.
Just be aware that Whiskers may not actually want those pets directly on the belly.
What the Experts Say About Cats Showing Their Belly
The belly is such a sensitive place for cats that when they show it off, they are signaling a deep trust. Unlike with dogs, however, they typically don’t want their belly rubbed.
So, be careful if you go in to pet it because you may get repaw-manded. It’s likely they actually want some other affection or for you to give them treats.
Butting Heads and Rubbing Cheeks
One of the most common ways that cats show affection to other animals is by giving them a gentle head butt and rubbing cheeks.
For humans who also love to get face to face with creatures they love, this is one of the sweetest acts your little kitty can do.
What the Experts Say About Butting Heads and Rubbing Cheeks
Cat headbutting and cheek rubbing are typically done in order to co-create a scent with their owners, so it can feel safer. Cats also do it as a genuine agenda-free form of bonding, though it’s typically done with other cats or animals.
And they also do it to self-soothe when they’re feeling anxious or need a little extra relaxation.
Unwavering Eye Contact
A bit similar to the intense stare down, if you look at your cat and it looks back at you without wavering, there’s a solid chance that you have a good trust and bond in place. And if it’s not already there, it will be soon as you deeply delve into each other’s souls through the eyes.
A cat that isn’t interested in you or whose trust you haven’t yet earned won’t maintain eye contact. Or, if they do, you’ll pick up from their body language that they’re likely wondering what you’re up to and calculating all the means of escape in case they need to.
What the Experts Say About Eye Contact
Much like the staring contest they engage in, cats will happily retain eye contact with someone they love for long periods of time out of affection. That’s assuming they’re actually awake. Some cats can sleep looking like they’re awake because why not?
In rare instances, there may be a neurological issue or a physical issue and they’re trying to signal for help. But usually, a happy cat is a confident cat. And that confidence can shine through their eyes.
Tripping You Up
If you find yourself sometimes having a hard time walking around the home you share with your feline friend because they’re always weaving in and out of your legs, you are certainly not alone. Although their motivations may feel sinister, it’s quite the opposite.
When a cat wants to walk below or on you, it’s often a sign that they can’t get enough of you. Or they want you to stop whatever you’re doing right now and give them attention. And cat owners will tell you, there’s no sense in fighting them because they usually win.
What the Experts Say About Cats Tripping You Up
Because cats are typically small (Garfield excluded), there’s usually very little harm they can actually do. And if while they’re attempting to walk on you, you accidentally grab or step on them, they usually let you know and run away for a while only to return once they’ve forgiven you.
Cats learn at a young age that being near and around other creatures (humans included) is enjoyable. So, usually when they’re walking on you, they just want to enjoy your company.
Making Sweet Purrs and Strange Gurgles
Cats can make all sorts of strange sounds that are sometimes confusing and hard to decipher. The more famous sounds are typically easy to understand — i.e., purring is good and hissing is bad.
But if you hear a cat making a strange gurgling sound, that may actually be a sign that they’re happy and enjoying your company. And they want you to know that you’re appreciated.
What the Experts Say About Cats Making Noises
The sounds cats make are highly dependent on their breed and personality. Some cats are much more vocal than others. But if your cat is extending its purring to something longer or louder, there’s a good chance it just wants you to know that it’s happy.
Just be very careful that the sounds you hear aren’t something more dangerous, like a parasite or a polyp.
Ankle Rubbing and Twirling
Cats rubbing around your ankles and twirling in between your legs is a sign of love similar to head butts and walking on you. They want to be near you. They want you to give them attention and affection.
And they want you to know that you may pet them now, which will be enjoyable for everyone involved.
What the Experts Say About Ankle Rubbing
Ankle rubbing is not only for affection, it’s also for these territorial creatures to stake their claim on your bodies. They want any other creature who gets near your legs to know that you already have their scent on them, so stay away.
It is also just to greet you and say hi. But anyone in a relationship will tell you, being territorial often goes along with giving affection.
Keeping You Clean
Cats like to keep themselves clean. But some cats like to also make sure you stay clean by adding you into their licking regimen. Their prickly tongues may choose to lick your hands or your face for various reasons.
Since it’s not a natural way for them to greet strangers, grooming is almost always a sign that they’ve accepted you into their group.
What the Experts Say About Cats Grooming You
Experts seem to say that there’s no one reason a cat may choose to lick you. It might be part of their territorial tendencies to make sure you smell like them. It might be a sign of pure affection to let you know that they love you. It might be that they need something or they like the way you taste.
While the motivations may be different depending on the cat and the situation, the one thing all experts seem to agree on is that it’s usually a positive thing if you get licked by your kitty.
Leaving You Special Somethings
Cats are notorious hunters. Or, at least, they can be if they want to be. Given the chance, some cats like to show off their hunting skills to their owners by giving them little (often dead) “gifts” as a way of expressing bonding and pleasure.
While some particularly stealthy outdoor cats may actually kill something for you, most indoor cats like to simply leave you toys and items they’re done chewing.
What the Experts Say About Leaving You ‘Gifts’
Cats can be complicated. So, it’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all explanation behind the motivation of an individual cat bringing you a gift. It could be that they want to show you they’re pleased with you and want to make an offering. It could be that they’re trying to show you how to hunt. Or it could be that, when they bring you something disgusting that you try to get away from them, they get more attention and they like that.
Whatever it is, the best thing to do is keep your cat as busy as possible with inanimate objects that stimulate them and challenge them in the same ways hunting might.
Tall or Twitchy Tails
Cats communicate a lot through their tails. If a cat approaches you with their tail held high looking like a submarine periscope, it’s usually a good sign that they’re feeling happy and confident. If their tail is high and twitching around a bit, it could indicate that they’re curious (depending, of course, on the situation).
But generally if you see a tall tail, you can rest assured your cat is telling you it’s happy and giving you love.
What the Experts Say About Cat Tail Signals
There’s lots to decipher when it comes to what a cat’s tail might mean.
But, generally speaking, when you see it held high or straight up, that cat is friendly, confident and ready to dole out some love.
Guarding the Door Before You Leave
If you start showing signals that you’re preparing to leave and your cat is camped out by the door, it’s a sign that they don’t want you to go.
Your loving cat wants you to stick by them, so they’re making sure you see them before you leave in case their big-eyes and sweet little face can change your mind about leaving them alone.
What the Experts Say About Cats Guarding the Door
Typically, cats are fans of doorways. They allow for them to have eyes on the comings and goings of their people.
If you find your cat is always near a doorway, it’s likely that they want to keep tabs on where you are and where you’re going because they care.
If you’re feeling down and not able to move, you may find that your kitty wants to give you extra love and attention. That’s a good sign that they actually do love you, even if they may be generally more aloof. It could also mean that they like your warmth and the fact that you’re nearby all day long.
Remember, cats don’t do anything they don’t want to do. So, if they’re caring for you while you’re sick, they actually want to give you extra love.
What the Experts Say About Cats Nursing You
An interesting study showed that cats do seem to understand human physical and emotional cues. That doesn’t always mean that they respond to them. And the findings could only pick up on really subtle cues.
But most cat owners would agree that their feline companions can be really intuitive of their needs, even if they don’t always show it off.
Being Your Cat Shadow
Cats usually have agendas of their own. But some cats want to make sure their owners are always nearby — so much so that they may follow them around just to keep close eyes on them.
If your cat is your shadow in every room you go to (even the bathroom), it’s likely a great sign there’s a strong bond of love and affection between you both.
What the Experts Say About Cats Shadowing You
The most common time for a cat to turn into your shadow is when it’s near feeding time. But they also follow you to protect and to make sure they have easy access in case they want attention.
Sometimes that reason may be hunger. Sometimes it may be just to have us give them extra affection. Either way, it’s a good sign that they trust that you’re there to help them.
Capturing You With Their Tail
If you find your cat is constantly wrapping your arm or leg up with their tail, they are trying to say they love you and want you to stay near.
Confident, happy cats will use their tail to signal that they want to hold you and keep you close to them. So, just enjoy the love for as long as your feline friend will allow.
What the Experts Say About Cats Curling Their Tail Around You
When cats wrap their tail around a creature, it’s the equivalent of holding hands.
They often do it with humans, but they’re also known to do it with animal friends they love and adore.
Holding Their Head High
Confident, happy cats will approach you with their head held high. And if they do, they’re happily greeting you to say “Hey, I like you.” Or if they already know you, it might be “Hey, I love you.”
We all know they’re not like humans in a lot of ways, but this particular trait is very human-like in that the more confident the face when you approach, the more likely they are to shower you with love.
What the Experts Say About Cats Holding Their Head High
A head held high with its neck outstretched is a great sign that your cat is ready for contact. And the fact that the cat has chosen you as the point of contact means that it probably likes you.
Always be aware of other factors involved in a high head, like the placement of the cat’s ears or tail. But, generally, a high head and a confident strut are great signs of a cat ready to give and receive love.
If you find your cat waiting by the door every day when you arrive home, you know that you’re officially loved by them. Of course, their motivations could be more than excitement to see you. Maybe you always feed them when you get home. Or maybe they get extra head scratches that they’ve been missing out on all day. But if they took the time to get to know your schedule and your sounds, they are showing you love.
What the Experts Say About Cats Greeting You
Unlike their dog counterparts, domesticated cats didn’t evolve along with us. So, they’re not nearly as dependent on us as their canine counterparts.
If and when they greet you by the door when you arrive after a long day, it’s likely because they’re genuinely excited to see you. That, and you might feed them right when you get home.
Breaking and Entering
Good luck telling your cat what to do. If you want Whiskers to stay out of your bedroom while you’re away (or maybe at night), there’s a strong chance he’ll disagree and find ways around it.
But he doesn’t do these things to outright disobey you. Often cats who can’t get enough of your bedroom enjoy your scent and the comfort that comes along with being surrounded by it because they love you.
What the Experts Say About Cats Breaking Into Your Bedroom
Cats like to sleep. And if your cat likes to sleep with you during the night, there’s a good chance that, while you’re away, they’ll want to catch some zzz’s surrounded by the same creature comforts they have with you at night.
So, sneaking into a room they’re not supposed to be in while you’re gone could just be a sign that they want something in there that reminds them of you. Or, of course, it could also mean that they want to remind you that you’re not their boss. Really, it’s dependent on the cat and the personality.
Setting Your Schedule
Some cats like to come over while you’re working to let you know that it’s time to do something else like, say, give them pets. Those cats aren’t just trying to annoy you. They’re trying to get your attention because they love you.
It’s worth taking the break just to give them some affection and increase the bond between you two.
What the Experts Say About Cats Making Schedule Demands
Cats have a good sense of time and thrive on schedules. Even if your work schedule may differ each day, that doesn’t mean they’re open to negotiation about it.
They may want to still come over at the same time for their daily play and pet routine no matter what your work circumstances might be.
A cat biting you is not exactly a sign of affection. But cats who love you may actually nibble you gently to play with you and show you that you’re part of their family.
Depending on the cat (or your tolerance), the nibbles might be more intense than others. It’s still a signal that your cat loves you, even if you don’t love the behavior.
What the Experts Say About Cats Nibbling
Sometimes considered “love bites,” these are a well-known way that cats show affection. As long as they’re not actually hurting you and the bites are done gently while receiving affection, they’re nothing to worry about.
In fact, they’re something to enjoy!
Slow-Motion Love Blinks
A cat making eye contact with you, then slowly blinking their eyes is one of life’s happiest joys. It is a sign of affection that cats do to genuinely just say, “I love you.”
There’s no evolutionary reason they need to do this. And there’s no protection mechanism associated with the slow blink. It’s pure love through and through. Plus, there’s some evidence to suggest that they notice when you do it back to them and understand it as a sign of affection. So, slow blink away!
What the Experts Say About Cats Slowly Blinking
If you’re looking for a way to bond more with a standoffish cat, the slow blink is the way to go. Cats respond less to the human smile, which flares teeth and might be confusing to them.
But they do understand the slow blink as a sign of affection.
Cats have a good sense of time. So, if you’ve been gone for a while and come back only to have a cold cat who doesn’t want anything to do with you, it’s likely because they’re feelings were hurt. They want to show you they don’t appreciate you leaving them.
While it may not be an outright sign of affection, the fact that they missed you means they love you. Don’t fret — most cats will eventually forgive and forget. (Food, treats and head scratches help.)
What the Experts Say About Cats Sulking
There are a few reasons beyond simply missing you that cats might be cold upon return from a long trip. They could have their feelings hurt, sure. But more importantly, you messed with their beloved routine.
And they may feel that their strong bond with you, which was built largely upon trust of taking care of them, has been affected.
Asking to Be Picked Up
If you have one of the rarer cats that not only loves to be constantly held but actually asks for you to pick it up, you can rest assured that your cat loves you.
Some cats can be trained into tolerating being picked up. And some cats enjoy the fact that the view of their kingdom is better while they’re being held. While some cats simply like being held close like a baby because they may think they actually are one.
What the Experts Say About Picking Cats Up
For the most part, cats don’t like to be held, largely because they don’t like to be restrained. Even if the motivation is a loving one, cats aren’t big fans of not having their independence.
There’s nothing natural in their instincts about the action of being held by a human. So i,f they’ve learned it from you as a form of affection and allow it, enjoy yourself (but don’t expect it from every cat).
Quite a Booty-Filled Presentation
It doesn’t take a cat expert to convince you that the butt is a place filled with lots of smells. And for cats, that means if they show it off, they want you to know they’re friendly and that their smells are, well, friendly ones.
It’s a signal they’re saying “hello” and that they’re ready to have some serious bonding or play time with you.
What the Experts Say About Cats Presenting Their Butts
When cats greet each other, they’ll exchange all sorts of signals and odors. So, it’s natural that they will do so with the people they care about.
There’s no need, of course, to actually take in the smells.
If a new creature enters the equation, and you find your once-friendly cat acting less-than-happy, that’s likely because they’re jealous.
And while jealousy might not be the prettiest emotion on your kitty, it’s at least a sign that they love you enough to be jealous of whatever creature you’re currently giving your attention to.
What the Experts Say About Cats Showing Jealousy
There are lots of ways cats may show they’re jealous of something. They could get between you and whatever you want to give your attention to. They might swat, hiss, scratch or growl at it. Or they may be quieter about it and simply pee either on something you own or something that smells like the other creature.
While it’s not welcome behavior, at least you know your cat cares.
Gently Pawing at You
It may seem like a small act for your cat to come sit beside you or put their paw on your leg. But it’s nothing to overlook when it comes to them signaling their love.
The very act of a cat wanting to be next to you or to get your attention often means that they love you. And if they do so just because, it’s a sign they enjoy your affection immensely.
What the Experts Say About Cats Touching You
Cats may be able to stare out a window for hours and be easily entertained. But that doesn’t mean they don’t also get bored.
If a cat is bored and decides that you’re going to provide them entertainment or affection, they may come over to let you know they’re ready for it. Or, maybe they just like your pets. Only your cat knows the truth.
The Cat’s Meow
While purring is the most famous happy cat noise, cats may also meow or make a trill sound when greeting someone.
They usually save the trills for greeting each other. But if they’ve accepted you as part of their family and want to make sure you know that you are welcome with them, you could find yourself the happy recipient of a friendly cat noise symphony.
What the Experts Say About Cat Meows
As generally social animals, cats enjoy greeting other creatures. They have all sorts of ways they may do so. And the vocal sounds they make are pretty universally used and understood by other cats.
So, it’s only natural that they may also attempt to communicate with humans using the same methods.
Sitting in Your Lap
Much like the other ways that cats show affection, your cat may show affection and love to you by always wanting to sit in your lap. Sure, a constant need to be on your lap may get annoying when you have other things to do, like working a job that can pay for their cat food.
But, generally speaking, cats who want to sit in your lap are showing you that they love both you and the warmth that your lap provides them.
What the Experts Say About Cats Sitting in Your Lap
Cats who like to sit in your lap may not only enjoy the warmth, they may also be relishing in your smells and your sounds. For a cat who really loves its owner, or really loves feeling close to a human, the lap is the perfect place to relax and take it all in.
Only cats who really trust someone will do this sweet act.
Thinking You’re (Worth) the Poop
This is quite literally the most crappy way a cat shows its love, but pooping on your items may be how your kitty wants to say it loves and can’t get enough of you.
This often happens when a cat is upset that you’ve been gone for a while or simply wants to get your attention, you may find some special “treats” on your bed or in your shoes.
What the Experts Say About Cats Pooping
Like domesticated indoor cats themselves, the litter box is a relatively new and novel idea. So, even if you cat picked up on using it easily, it doesn’t take much before it can be inconsistent.
You need to rule out any pain or health issue behind not wanting to use the box. But sometimes a cat just decides that it wants to show you love in strange ways, including pooping on something you own.