Anyone that says they don't love cats is in denial. Honestly, who couldn't love those little bundles of love and fur? Maybe some people don't understand the language of cats, and how they show their appreciation for their humans. As cat lovers, let's share these signs of affection and clear up this cross-species communication confusion. With that intention, let's take a closer look at how our cats show that they care.
The Stumbling Block
No, your pet didn't just try to trip you. In fact, that was the pets way of saying, "I'm totally crazy for you!" When they weave and bob around your legs and accidentally trip you, it is an effort to be close to their beloved human. Consider it a compliment, and please don't hold it against them. Instead, give them a scratch around the ears and praise their love. They'll reward you with affection that will get you through the darkest of times.
The Vulnerable Belly Display
Whether human or some other type of mammal, showing vulnerability is a profound way to proclaim trust. When an animal splays its limbs and exposes its belly, it is usually a strong declaration of faith. It's either that or it feels threatened, and it wants access to all of its claws. If you don't know the difference yet, don't worry, you soon will. If it is a sign of trust and you choose to give it a belly rub, note the reaction. Some of them like it and some of them really don't.
Playful Biting or Vampire Kitten?
No, your cat didn't just try to make a midday snack out of your finger. That was a playful nibble or a cat hickey as I jokingly call them. Those little love bites shouldn't hurt. It will usually just tickle you a bit, but keep in mind that most mammals are like humans. They go through a rough-and-tumble play phase. During the cute kitten stage, those teeth might lightly pierce your skin and sometimes cause an itsy bitsy teenie weenie bit of blood loss. They'll learn though, your finger will recover, and you will be left with a cuddlesome friend.
Emotional Intelligence: Feeling your Feline's Feelings
You may or may not have noticed, but our little furry friends aren't very good at smiling. Instead, they telegraph their joy through ear and tail positions and the eyes. So what are some of those happy configurations? Well, I'm glad that I assumed you asked!
Most of the emotions that be deciphered intuitively. For those having a little bit of trouble, you can see happiness like this:
- Eyes - Slow blinking or half-lidded eyes mean that your pet is content and feels safe. It doesn't see a need to take in the environment because there isn't any perceived danger.
- Ear - It shows contentment if the ears are relaxed and pointed forward in their natural orientation. This doesn't mean that the ears are up and stiff. Note the difference.
- Tail - If the tail is wagging, then they couldn't be more ha...Wait, wait, that's a dog. Be wary dog lovers. Your playful pups show their delight with a wag of their tales. Pussycats, generally, do not. They show it with slightly relaxed tails that are pointed up and out. The exceptions to this rule are when they are about to pounce on a friend or catch a moth. If it is naptime, they will wrap their tails around themselves and curl into a cute and fuzzy little ball.
Happy Birthday!... It's a Dead Mouse. Yay.
Yes, it may be a gift from Halloween Town, but it's the thought that counts. They are fulfilling their natural instincts. Some have said that gifting rodents and birds is one of the ways that they show love. Some say that it is a way to train their family how to hunt. And others say that they just wanted a toy. Whatever the case, it's sweet if you think about it.
Kneading with Needles
Relax and enjoy as your feline friend massages away your stresses. It will be that, or it will lovingly embrace you with death by a thousand cuts! Have you trimmed your cat's claws recently? Well, you're about to put it high on your to-do list. If your cat is feeling happy and content, it might just initiate this genetically inherited behavior. It is believed that the kneading movement is a leftover trait from youth that is used to encourage the flow of milk from the mother. It shows that your little friend feels at home in your presence. That's quite the compliment! Aaawwwdorable!
Headbutting with Love
Does your kitty smash their face into you like a goat? Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. Do they firmly caress your face, legs, or any accessible body parts with their face? That's better. That behavior is called bunting. It is the ultimate expression of love for a feline. They have scent glands that release pheromones to mark what belongs to them. When they mark you, consider it is a way of saying we're family.
It might also just mean that they want you to give their ears a scratch. It really depends on the mood.
Yeah, you knew this was on the list. How could it not be? It is the sound of happiness and the attainment of bliss. It is kitty Shangri-la, and it is likely a strong reason why humans find those bundles of fur so adorable.
Recent research has found that purring is not only their happy place, but there are also physical healing benefits that happen in this state. Bones, muscles, and cuts heal faster, and pain is reduced. That's pretty cool! If you notice that your animal friend isn't feeling so great, spend a few minutes with them to return the affection. It will brighten both of your days, and it might just promote some needed healing.
Okay cat lovers, that's my list. Our animal friends sure have quite a few ways of showing their affection. I hope that you had fun and maybe even learned something. If you treat your pets with love, they will happily return the favor. Have a great day!