The Feline Love Languages: 40 Ways Cats Demonstrate Their Affection

By Jhoana C

It has been said that cats are some of the most misunderstood creatures on Earth. Often deemed not as affectionate as dogs, you should know that cats are unique and shouldn’t be compared to dogs or other animals. They have their own quirks and their own way of communicating and showing emotions.

Contrary to what most people think, cats are not problematic or indifferent. They can actually be very affectionate. All it takes is gaining a deeper understanding of their behavior to be able to communicate with them effectively. And what better way to start than here?

If you’re a new cat parent, you have come to the right place because, in this article, we will discuss the many ways cats demonstrate affection. Read on to find out more about these adorable little furballs!

#1 They won’t stop licking you!

Licking is not only a means to groom themselves but also a way for cats to demonstrate love for their humans. Through licking, they create a social bond, and according to cat experts, there are various reasons behind this behavior.

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Most say that the main cause for the behavior might be how their mothers licked them when they were still little kittens. Well, the next time your feline licks you incessantly, don’t get angry. It’s their way of saying, ‘I love you.’

#2 They like sitting on you

Sitting on humans is a cat’s ultimate demonstration of trust. Contrary to what most people think, cats are very picky when it comes to who they sit on. They don’t do that with random people, and you should consider yourself lucky if they even decide to come near you.

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Cats only sit on the laps of people they feel completely comfortable and safe with. Bonus points if they nap on you, as we have mentioned previously. When they sit on you, they trust you enough to keep them safe from any harm.

#3 They stretch their bodies out

When your beloved cats are relaxed and happy, they let their guard down. They are not on alert because they believe they are safe and no harm is going to come to them as long as they have you around.

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This is the reason why they like stretching their bodies to demonstrate just how comfortable they are. They might stretch out next to you while you are reading a book or watching your favorite television show and just lay there.

#4 They wait for you to get home

Aren’t you curious about what your cat does when you leave your home for the better part of the day to work or to go to school? You might not know what they do when you’re absent, but you can bet that your cat misses you when you’re not around.

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This is why they always stay alert for any sign of the door being opened, a signal that their beloved human is home. Greeting you at the doorstep is a clear demonstration of love and a way of letting you know they are overjoyed to see you.

#5 They won’t leave you when they don’t feel well

Cats can feel under the weather too. As much as we want them to be, they’re not always in the pink of health. You can always tell when they don’t feel well because they’ll want to be around you more than usual. They just won’t leave you alone!

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Just like babies, they get extra clingy. This is because they find comfort in you, and they trust you. They know that when they are at their lowest point, you will be there to give them all the care and attention they need.

#6 When you let them sleep next to you

Most pet parents allow their pets to sleep next to them, and we are not just referring to furry creatures such as cats and dogs. Some people even sleep next to their pet snakes! But we are not here to judge; we will leave that to you.

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However, to cats, being allowed next to their pet parents makes them super happy. It makes them feel warm, safe and loved. But before you decide to let your cat sleep next to you, just be warned that certain diseases can be spread to humans this way, so hygiene and safety come first.

#7 They like playing with you

Just like humans, felines love having fun too. After all, life would be so dull without a little excitement. You will often see them chasing after insects, running here and there, and walking up and down their towers. But do you know what they love most?

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They love playing with their humans the most. To them, nothing can be better than having their human around and playing their favorite game with them. Some cats may even initiate the interaction, and when they turn the charm on, we guarantee you won’t be able to resist.

#8 They stay close to you when you have guests

Cats don’t trust strangers, and a common reason for this is their lack of experience with visitors when they were kittens. Cats who weren’t introduced to different people when they were only three to nine weeks of age are more apprehensive of strangers when they become adults.

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Aside from that, cats can also get very jealous and protective, so it’s not uncommon for them to stick around you when there are visitors. They want to protect you from harm and see themselves as your bodyguard. Awww, just when you think they can’t get any cuter!

#9 They rub their paws against your hands

Cats love rubbing up against their owners. Sometimes this involves their entire body, while other times, they rub only their paws against your hands. This is a sign of affection and a way of marking you with their scent, which is a lot better than being peed on!

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The paws of felines contain glands that produce a unique scent, and when they rub against your hands, the smell transfers to you. It’s one of the most wonderful things your little kitty can ever do to you, so if you experience this, just enjoy it.

#10 They can’t seem to stop jumping around

In the world of cats, pretty much nothing is off-limits when it comes to their need to know everything! They go underneath the bed, on your laptop, on your dressing table, and everywhere else they want. They are curious creatures who like exploring their immediate surroundings.

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Another thing cats love to do is jump around, and countless videos that prove this can be seen on YouTube. Don’t worry if your cat does this; they just love to show off to their humans. They want to demonstrate that they are in top form. Pretty clever if you ask us.

#11 They like following you around

Cats love following you around for various reasons. As we have mentioned, one is that sometimes they want to be around you if they’re feeling unwell. Another major one is because they crave your attention. The constant following can also mean that they enjoy and crave your company.

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There’s no better feeling than knowing your cat likes you too, and if you don’t think that cats are just as demonstrative as dogs, this list will prove you wrong. They even follow their humans to the most unusual places, like the bathroom!

#12 They puff their tummies out

We don’t mean swollen bellies here but rather when felines just puff their tummies. Some people on the net said that their kitties usually do this while also vibrating their tails, and it is a way of marking their territory.

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Animals mark their territory so that others will know that the object or place, or sometimes human, is already theirs. Selfish or endearing? There are many ways of doing this aside from the act of urinating, although that is the most well-known.

#13 They blink slowly

If your cat blinks slowly, it doesn’t mean that there’s something in its eyes. Believe it or not, it’s their way of communicating that they find you lovable and don’t feel threatened or scared with you around. Cats also watch your eyes.

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When you blink slowly, your cat interprets it as you being aware of their presence and that you are not a threatening creature. This is a trick that might come in handy when befriending a fearful cat, so you can try this next time you’re around a new kitty!

#14 They roll

Don’t be overly concerned if you see your cat rolling on the floor. They commonly do this when they are so happy to see you. They go close to your feet and just start rolling around like it’s nobody’s business.

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Most people won’t be happy to see this kind of behavior in little children, especially when you refuse to buy them something. But you can be happy if it’s your cat doing it. It’s just a way of showing you how loved you are.

#15 They show you their bellies

Those who haven’t had cats as members of their families have probably wondered before why felines often lie down and show their bellies. Every cat owner knows that this means the cat is relaxed and doesn’t feel threatened in your presence.

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If they could talk, they would tell you they trust you with their lives. That they don’t feel any kind of fear or unease with you there. You should be honored when your cat does this because not all humans are given the privilege.

#16 They pee around the house

Many people think that one of the most difficult smells to get rid of is cat urine. It’s unpleasant like most animal urine, and contains ammonia, a toxic gas that can trigger asthma and cause headaches. People with weak immune systems are most vulnerable to it.

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We know we’re asking for a lot here, but don’t get red in the face with anger when your cat starts urinating around the house. Apparently, it’s a way for them to demonstrate that they consider your house a safe abode. It’s no longer just a structure for them; it’s a home.

#17 They can’t seem to stop purring

When cats purr, it is to communicate positive emotions such as happiness and a feeling of relaxation. Other occasions when they purr are while grooming and when they feel contented. In kittens, purring often happens when they are being nursed.

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Purring is like a rumbling noise, and when you hear it for the first time, trust us, you can’t forget it. It’s not common for kitties to purr, but when you notice that yours can’t seem to stop purring, take it as a good sign. You’re doing a fantastic job being a pet parent!

#18 When you pet your cat

Cats and other animals love nothing more than the sensation of petting. Why? Because it mimics the feeling of being groomed and results in a pleasurable experience. So, pet your felines or dogs whenever you have the opportunity to do so.

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Petting is an excellent way of returning the love your feline is showing to you. Some people might say that cats are not as affectionate as dogs, but as you can see, that’s not true. Trust us; petting will go a long way toward making your kitty feel happy and loved.

#19 They like sleeping on your clothes

Smells and scents are incredibly important to felines. They rely heavily on their sense of smell to communicate and gather information. As incredible as it may sound, at times, they also use it to demonstrate affection to their pet parents.

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They find comfort in smells they associate with home or the people they trust and love. This is why it’s not unusual to see cats sleeping on their owners’ clothes. So, don’t worry if your cat loves snuggling on top of your shirt, as long as it doesn’t pee on it!

#20 They like playing with you

Although not all cats love interacting with their pet parents, the majority of them do. Playing is a great way to develop and nurture the bond between you and your feline, so don’t skip it. It is essential, especially if you have kittens.

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It helps in their development, and for adult cats, it’s an enjoyable part of the day. So, aim for a few short sessions daily and provide your cat with a variety of toys. Keep in mind to never force your cat to play and just have fun!

#21 They show emotions with their tails

If you are a new cat parent, here’s a tip to keep in mind. If you want to know how your feline is feeling, look at its tail. If your cat is wagging its tail or thumping it to the ground, it’s either angry, irritated, or annoyed.

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However, if your cat’s tail sticks straight up, it’s a sign that it is happy and willing to be friendly. Most people are only familiar with a tail that’s tucked between the legs, which means that the cat or dog is scared.

#22 They like biting you

How does biting equate to love? When mosquitoes and other insects bite you, does it mean they are trying to demonstrate their affection for you and your blood? This is a no for insects and mosquitoes but a yes when it comes to felines.

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When we say bite, we mean small bites, not ones that cause deep wounds and blood. Playful bites are a way for cats to demonstrate affection. From this, you can also tell when your cat is angry and not in a playful and loving mood.

#23 They like to headbutt

In humans, a headbutt means you are probably not happy with the other person and you want to hurt them badly. However, when it comes to cats, a headbutt is a sign of affection. The correct term for this behavior when it comes to cats is head bunt.

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It can be a gentle press of the cat’s head against yours, but it could also be a little rough. It turns out that cats have scent glands on their heads that are activated during a head bunt. In essence, your cat is transferring its scent to you during a head bunt.

#24 The vibrating cat’s tail

Ah, the mysterious vibrating tail. This behavior can be pretty perplexing for cat owners. It could mean a lot of things, both positive and negative, depending on the surroundings and the situation. On the negative side, it could mean anger, anxiety, annoyance, and restlessness.

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However, if your cat’s tail resembles a candy cane and is vibrating, chances are that it is very excited. Remember when we mentioned that a cat’s tail is a good indication of its emotions? This is a very good example of that.

#25 They like to knead

When we say knead, it doesn’t have anything to do with baking. On the contrary, it’s a thing cats do when they are seeking comfort. Happy cats knead to convey pleasure, and they often do this while being petted or when they are snuggling close to you.

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Sometimes cats jump on your lap and knead to show you just how much they love you. Afterward, they mostly take a nap or wait for you to pat them. Have a cat that loves kneading? Don’t worry; it’s all good. This just means it loves you.

#26 They make gurgling sounds

Gurgling in cats is not only the bubbly sound gasses make while traveling through the intestines and stomach. It is also a high-pitched voice that cats make, which is another sign of affection for their pet parents. Again, you’re lucky if your cat does this.

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It takes a long while for a cat to be completely comfortable around a person and to start making gurgling sounds. Don’t confuse it with normal meowing, which is a sign of excitement because they are different from each other.

#27 They use their tails to hug you

This is in relation to what was discussed previously about your cat’s tail being a good indicator of its emotions. Your cat might have a poker face, but just look at its tail, and you will know exactly how it feels.

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If your cat hugs you with its tail, you should be ecstatic because it can only mean one thing, your cat loves you! They usually brush up against their favorite humans and, for good measure, also wind their tails around them as they do it. Such cuties!

#28 They give you gifts

Another indication of your cat’s love for you is when they start giving you gifts, and we don’t mean those that are wrapped in pretty paper and tied with a ribbon. Most cats find their presents from outside the home. Cat owners know what we’re talking about.

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You can expect twigs, leaves, clothes, and sometimes even small dead animals. Don’t get angry when your cat does this, even if you dislike dead rats or lizards. Instead, be thankful and make your cat feel loved by petting it. Then maybe later, throw the ‘gift’ away!

#29 They like spying on you

If you think that only humans can be busybodies, looking out their window and into their neighbor’s yard, you’re badly mistaken. Cats also do something very similar to that. You can often find them spying on you through the window.

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They want to know what you’re up to. It’s a little creepy, yes, but it’s a love language for these guys. They want to keep their eyes on you and make sure that nothing terrible is happening to you because they’re just possessive and curious like that!

#30 They like sleeping next to you

Lying next to someone is different from sleeping on them. These actions also have different meanings when done by cats. When cats sleep next to you, it means that they trust you enough to let their guard down around you.

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They trust you enough that they subject themselves to the level of vulnerability that comes with sleep. As independent as they are, they also enjoy the company of their humans and, at times, want nothing more than to spend time with them.

#31 They scratch areas that have connections to you

Most people are concerned when their cats start scratching themselves since the most common reasons for such behavior are parasites, allergies, insect bites, infections, and psychological factors. However, this kind of scratching is different, so be mindful of where and what your cat scratches.

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If you see your cat scratching areas that have any association or connection to you, there’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s just showing affection. When they scratch the couch where you regularly sit, it means they love you loads.

#32 They like ‘talking’ to you

Cats don’t have the skill to communicate through words, but they can communicate just fine through actions. Their way of talking is through their meows. It may sound the same to you all the time, but to them, it differs greatly.

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One thing to look out for is the trill. Cats use it as a form of greeting to their humans, and it is often compared to a chirping noise. Those who have heard it say that it is very cute, and now that we know it’s an expression of love, we think it’s even cuter!

#33 They like hanging out with you

When a cat likes you, it always wants to be around you. It’s just like how when you like someone, you always look for ways to be around them. Also, similar to humans, they won’t hang around a person they can’t stand.

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So, if you feel that your cat has been extra clingy and has been insisting on hanging around you for most of the day, don’t be upset and just give in. We’re sure that within the first few minutes, their presence will put a smile on your face.

#34 They blink slowly at you when you look at them

What’s one definitive way to know that your cat loves you? Look into their eyes and see if they blink slowly at you. Any cat that does that is saying, ‘I love you.’ Yes, it’s strange to humans, but that’s how felines do it, which explains so many cartoon scenes!

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Cats may not have the gift of language, but they do just fine when it comes to showing their love. Plus, blinking slowly is much cuter than saying the words out loud, don’t you think? Try slowly blinking to your cat to let it know you feel the same.

#35 They love to moon you

You may not be very pleased when your cat’s behind is right in your face, but it is a demonstration of love. Yes, weird but cats are weird creatures, and you’ll have to live with their quirky behaviors. It’s gross but equally sweet, too, when you learn what it means.

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When your cat moons you, it’s a sign of love and trust. It’s a vulnerable position that they don’t take if they feel threatened. Your cat is allowing you to take a whiff of its scent, so even if it doesn’t smell like roses, just grin and bear it!

#36 They rub against your legs

Cats rubbing against you is a way of saying ‘Hello’ or ‘Welcome home.’ It’s also another way for them to ensure that they have marked you with their scent, meaning you ‘belong’ to them. By now, we’re sure you know that cats are territorial creatures.

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Furthermore, rubbing themselves against your legs is a way of communicating just how much they love you. So, don’t be irritated the next time they do this. Instead, you should welcome it and the positive emotions that go along with it.

#37 They get jealous around other cats

As mentioned previously, cats can be territorial and possessive and don’t like sharing with others. This explains why they get jealous of other cats. So, if you ever have a plan of adding another feline to your household, you must be fully prepared.

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It won’t be smooth sailing, especially at the beginning, because they can become stressed and might lash out at the new addition. Interestingly, this is one of the many ways of showing their love for their pet parents, so just be patient and attentive to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

#38 They knead you

We had mentioned kneading before, but this time we mean the specific action of cats kneading their pet parents. It may seem strange to new cat owners, but to cats, it’s as old as time. Kneading is when cats push their paws against different things, including their humans.

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If your cat starts kneading, it’s demonstrating affection so let it know that you love them too by petting it. Also, as cute as kneading is, it’s not uncommon to end up with scratches, so remember to put a blanket between you and your cat’s claws for protection.

#39 They like to stick around when you’re sick

Nobody enjoys being sick. Everyone hates being lethargic, feeling feverish, coughing incessantly, or constantly blowing their noses. It’s always irritating and super uncomfortable. If we could, we would always choose to be healthy, but then life is never that simple.

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If your cat truly loves you, it will stick around even when you’re sick. Other people might not want to get near you for fear of catching whatever you have, but your cat will linger close to you and won’t leave your side. There is no purer love than that.

#40 They rub their cheeks on you

If you don’t know it yet, we’re here to tell you that cats have friendly pheromones from glands on their cheeks and chin. This is one of the reasons why they love to rub their faces, especially their cheeks, on their humans.

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This act is usually a demonstration that they see you as a friend. It is used as a greeting too. So, if your cat starts doing this, you can pretty much bet your bottom dollar that your feline likes you a lot.