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Cats show affection in ways that often go unrecognised by their pet parents because some people aren't sure how cats demonstrate their love. Since cats express their affection in ways very different from people and other pets, it makes sense that we often miss these precious moments.
1. Head Butting
One of the most endearing behaviours of cats is when they head butt you and rub against your body. Not only is it cute to watch, it's a sure sign that your cat loves and cares for you. In fact, by head butting you, your cat is leaving pheromones on you to let everyone else know that you belong to them, says Vetstreet.
2. Love Bites
Biting is generally something people associate with negative feelings, but cats are a little different. When your cat nibbles you playfully, they’re really offering affection. This is much different from a fearful or defensive bite that's meant to cause harm, and the feelings behind it are different as well. Love nibbles are ticklish, funny little quirk of lovable cats.
Cats begin kneading as tiny kittens when they are nursing. This behaviour is the act of doing a small little march on your leg, and it translates into affection in adult life. When your cat kneads you, they’re being very clear that you make them feel loved and comfortable. Kneading is probably one of the most well-known ways cats show affection.
Purring is one of the loudest ways cats show their love. Although there are times cats purr when they're uncomfortable, the occasion is rare. More often than not, your cat is purring because they’re happy to be around you. The more your cat purrs, the better!
5. Following You
Many pet parents might find it odd that their cats follow them everywhere they go, even right into the bathroom! This just means that your cat wants to spend more time with you. A cat that enjoys your company and feels comfortable around you is going to follow you around the house and cling to you like glue. They just want you to know that they see you as a great companion. If you’re trying to get work done around the house and your cat makes it impossible to do so, they’re just telling you that they are more important than anything else you're doing and it's time to focus on them.
6. Bringing Gifts
Probably the most unpopular among pet parents is the gracious gifting by their furry friends. Cats often show their affection by leaving presents for their pet parents to find. Cats are natural hunters, so when you’re brought freshly caught prey, they’re offering you a delicious meal. You don't want to touch it with your bare hands, but keep in mind your cat means well and this behaviour really is a sign that they care deeply for you.
How cats show their love can be a bit confusing to their human companions, but as long as you understand their behaviour for what it is, you can appreciate it. You love your cat, and it's nice to know they love you back. So, knowing when and how your cat shows affection will provide you both with clear communication. After all, there's nothing better than being told you're loved.
Katie Finlay is a Los Angeles, CA based dog trainer and writer. She has been working with pets and their owners both in person and through her articles for over six years.