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You love your cat but does your cat love you in return? Discover how cats show they love you

As you gaze lovingly at your feline friend, listening to their soothing purr and stroking their soft fur, you may be wondering, does my cat love me? Of course, they can’t tell you they love you with words or a thoughtful greetings card and box of chocolates, but they do give away some subtle clues with their body language.


Learning to read your cat’s body language is a great way to improve your relationship with them, as it will help you understand when they’re happy, and also when they’re stressed and want to be left alone.

If it’s the look of love you’re searching for though, here are five ways cats show they love their humans.

1. Slow blinking

If your cat is looking at you and then slowly closes their eyes and opens them again, perhaps also turning their head away, this is a good sign that they like you a lot. It means they trust you enough that they don’t need to keep a watchful eye on you at all times, in case you do something to startle or annoy them. The best response to this gesture is to slow blink back, letting them know the feeling is mutual.

2. Showing their tummy

For most cats, their tummy is a very vulnerable area and so they don’t like to be touched or stroked there. If your cat rolls over and shows you their tummy, it’s a way of greeting you that’s also a test to see if they can trust you. If you touch their tummy, you’ll likely get a scratch in response and they’ll be wary to do it again, but if you give them a nice chin rub instead then they know you can be trusted.

3. Head bumps

Head butts, bumps or boops, whatever you want to call them, they’re essentially the cat equivalent of a hug. When a cat rubs their head or cheek on you, they’re actually transferring some of their own scent. By making you smell just like them, they’re marking you as someone who is familiar and can be trusted. You might see them doing this to other objects around your home to mark their territory as safe and familiar, so unfortunately you may be competing for their love with the coffee table.

brown tabby cat walking on grey outdoor decking with tail sticking up in the air

4. Kneading

Also known as ‘pawing’ or ‘making biscuits’, kneading is a behaviour cats perform as kittens as a way to stimulate the flow of milk from their mum at feeding time. However, many cats continue doing it well into adulthood, and it’s thought they do this simply because it feels good and is a sign of contentment. So if your cat starts kneading you, it likely means they’re feeling happy and comfortable sat your lap. And if you can withstand the pain of their claws, that’s an extra sign that you love them too.

5. Tail pointing up

Cats can communicate a lot with just their tail. For example, if their tail is low to the ground and swishing from side-to-side, this means they’re feeling worried or indecisive. If their tail is puffed up, then it’s likely they’re scared or stressed. But if your cat comes towards you with their tail pointing upwards, then it means they are happy to see you. This might also be accompanied by a little hop up onto their back legs, and the best response is to let them sniff your hand and give them a bit of a fuss to show you’re happy to see them too.

If your cat shows you any or all of these signs then it’s likely you’ve found your soulmate! If you’re not quite there yet, then discover how to show your cat you love them, and hopefully the love will be returned in no time at all!

Nicky Trevorrow, Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager, said: “While there are behaviours that are true for most cats as well as a few things that should be avoided, each cat is an individual. Getting to know your cat is one of the most fulfilling things about becoming a cat owner.

“Take your time, take their lead. Ask your cat to show you how they like to be treated. Some cats take longer than others to build a relationship, so don't be too disappointed if you don't become best friends straight away.”

Find lots more information about cats’ curious ways with our online guide to cat behaviour.

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