7 Surprising and Unique Way Cats Show Affection

Despite having the impression of being aloof, cats are very loving creatures.

You may be clueless, but cats generally give out a lot of hints showing their sweet, innocent love. How cats show love differs like night and day from that of dogs. 

Cats aren’t as jolly and sunny as dogs, but it doesn’t make them any less loving. Cats are just more discerning and sometimes discriminating, but they can be endlessly devoted to their owners.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, here are 7 surprising and unique ways cats show affection.

cute affectionate cat

Staring and blinking

Your cat’s expressive, kitty eyes may mean a lot more than you know.

When you notice your cat staring at you with its big, alluring eyes with a slow majestic blink, you might have disregarded it as just the usual cat curiosity. In actuality, it means your feline friend is contented and sincerely enjoying your company.

Often referred to as kitty kiss, slow blinking by a cat—a trance-like, eyes-almost-closed look—is a good sign. Cats do this when they are contented whether they are alone, with other cats, or with you, as told by Dr. Shelby Neely to PetMD.

Knowing that your cat blinking at you means it’s communicating affection. Maybe next time, try returning the sweet gesture.

Licking you

You might’ve been grossed out by your furry friend’s tendency to lick you. However, this weird habit is actually your cat’s way of showing affection.

It licks you, it loves you. Dr. Megan Maxwell tells PetMD, “Social grooming by licking is an important affectionate behavior in cats and licking can be a sign of affection between cats and between a cat and a human.” Oddly enough, they’re also trying to groom you, like how their mothers cleaned them as kittens.

What’s more, licking is also your cat’s method on marking its territory. In that case, you are its territory, in an affectionate way. Though a bit of selfish love, cats use pheromones to mark you as their own beloved human, discouraging a potential third party.

Next time your cat licks you, consider yourself lucky. You are graced by its special and unique love. However, it isn’t a very good idea to return the licking gesture.

cat lying on a ladies shoulder

Kneading you

If your cat is kneading you like dough, consider yourself privileged.

Cats start to “make biscuits” shortly after birth. Kittens do this to their mother’s belly to stimulate milk flow. Even as adults, cats can continue to knead instinctively.

The truth is, cats pressing their paws to their owners, usually to the legs, is their way of saying ‘I love you’. When your cat kneads on you, it means it’s feeling your affection and showing its contentment.

It can also mean your cat is feeling anxious and you’re its anxiety-absorber; its closest family. Like licking, kneading you also means your cat is marking you as its own, using its paws’ scent from the sweat glands.

To sum up, kneading is your cat’s own way of showing its pure love, not trying to slowly tenderize you to eat for later.

Scratching things

Sharpening their claws isn’t always the reason why cats scratch on things. More often than not, cats scratch on areas most important to them; often associated with their owners.

When you notice your cat scratching on things and places where you two mostly hang out, it means your cat loves you and that place so much that it needed to preserve and “protect” that place. That particular place grew on your cat’s heart that it marked it as its territory, warning other cats to back off.

As per animal behavior consultant Pam Johnson-Bennett, “The marks left on an object when the cat rakes its claws vertically create a visual sign for others who pass by. In an outdoor setting, these visual markers are important because they show approaching cats that they’re entering an area where another cat has been in or is currently residing. This advance warning system can reduce the number of actual physical confrontations cats may otherwise have.”

The next time you catch your cat scratching on the foot of your bed, try not to interrupt it. Most probably, it’s just trying to cherish a memory of you.

Nipping you

Also known as “love bites”, your cat’s gentle little nips are indications of overexcitement or when it feels a strong sense of bonding.

Why do cats give ‘love bites’? According to Dr. Karen Becker, “Kitties nip each other affectionately and their skin is tougher than ours, so your cat really doesn’t understand its love bite isn’t always pleasant for you.”

Basically, your devoted cat is just trying to show its affection in a playful way, clueless about your inferior, soft skin.

Bringing you “gifts”

Waking up in the morning just to see a disgusting rodent or bird carcass right beside your bed isn’t that bad at all. Though stomach-turning, it is the cats’ natural hunting instinct plus their love for their owners at work.

Mostly rodents and birds, the domestic cat’s natural prey; dead small animals, may end up right to your feet. With a proud look on its face, it is cats’ way of taking care of their owners – you, the giant bald cat who’s clueless about hunting.

Before becoming domesticated, cats were also carnivorous predators. As kittens, their mothers would bring them dead prey to teach them how to eat it. Later on, their mothers would bring them half-dead animals for the kittens to do the deed themselves. This trait was naturally inherited onto domestic cats, who now think of their owners as helpless, incapable hunters.

The next time you receive a “gift” from your cat, remember that is it their way of showing affection and it is better not to dishearten its innocent heart.

Purring

You may have heard your cat purr before but you may not know what it meant. If you’ve heard your cat purr when you were snuggling on the bed, when it was contently sleeping on your lap or when you were giving it belly rubs; good news – your cat loves you.

Purring is your cat’s signal of its positive feelings for you. Whether your cat is purring while you’re giving belly rubs or while it’s soundly sleeping by your side, it is a sign of relaxation and contentment. It also means your cat feels safe and secured.

To sum up, your cat’s melodic, soothing purr means happiness and contentment, like those vibration motors inside its body activate on the first pat you give.

Miranda LaSala
Miranda LaSala

My destination ever since I was born was to be a cat person. When I had the chance, I took the course on Veterinary Tech from Pima Medical Institute, Seattle. For the last 5 years, I've worked as a kennel assistant, veterinary nurse, and a surgical nurse.

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