Does Your Cat REALLY Love You? 2024

3 comments Jan 3, 2024by Denise Lessard


Have you ever thought to yourself: "Does my cat love me?"

And just to set things straight, cats do feel love for their owners, and they show it in many subtle ways. While there is no question that your cat loves you, his way of showing affection through his body language is not as easy to interpret (or even remotely similar) compared to his canine counterparts.

Your feline friend rubbing against your leg, having an upright tail, asking to be pet, purring, and bringing gifts are a few signs your cat loves you—and other humans, too.

If we're being honest, a cat's body language is a bit tricky to understand. Interpreting cat behavior is not as easy as compared to their canine counterparts. Random cheek rubs with the front paws as well as head butts can also be considered expressions of cat love.


Yes, Cat Parents, Your Feline Friends Love You

Cats can learn how to love humans.

"One warm summer evening, I was sitting outside with my dog and two cats and was met with an unexpected visitor. A skunk had taken up residence under our deck. And it took serious offense to our dog Petals sniffing around down there!

Not only did this skunk let out the most offensive odor I had ever experienced, but it bolted TOWARDS Petals! I was so worried about Petals. What if the skunk scratched her? What if it had rabies??

I jumped up and ran towards them, yelling and waving my arms in an attempt to scare the skunk away. Not only did this not work, but the skunk turned towards ME! This all happened in a moment, but it seemed like it was happening in slow motion.

So...does my cat love me?

Suddenly, like Superman swooping down from above, one of my cats came speeding down from his spot in the maple tree to save the day. In the blink of an eye, my cat was on the skunk’s tail and managed to chase it out of the yard. And his brother's cat was right behind him…”

This is a story we’ve heard from one of our customers, but it mimics a sentiment we hear often. It’s a sentiment that some doubters seem determined to disprove.


"Cat Love" is Not That Apparent Compared to "Dog Love"

"Cat love" is different.

The reason some Negative Nellies believe that cats don’t care is because they don’t show affection in the same way we’re used to. It’s a common stereotype among humans that cats aren’t as affectionate as canine companions when their pet parents are concerned.

Feline affection is different.

But not being as "loving" or "affectionate" as dogs is a misconception that many cat owners seem to believe. You see, a cat’s love is more nuanced. A cat tells you "I love you" or may express contentment in a manner that you won't perceive immediately.

It's not uncommon that a cat may display gestures of affection that might not seem to be so at first. Examples of these include head butting or head bunting, as well as a cat giving you a "present" like a dead bug or rodent near the front door. Presents cats bring may also consist of leaves and twigs.

Comparison is just futile.

Pooches show love in a way that’s more in line with what we expect. Cats express the same level of affection, but they do it in different ways. They may display the same emotions but through different body language and expressions.

There is no "ultimate sign" to determine if a cat loves you.

Cats purr differently when they feel relaxed. A cat's belly will only be exposed for rubs when they're comfortable. Kneading cats might be saying "I feel relaxed around you but let's still keep boundaries for personal space."

Some cat purrs may even mean "I consider you as a friend but let's lose eye contact." They might also blink slowly or swing their tail around while at it to get their point across. This is quite common among indoor cats even at a very young age.

Cats are social creatures that seem to have "anti-social" characteristics.

In short, a cat's behavior may be unpredictable most of the time, but your feline best friend can still show love and affection. Cat behaviorists theorize that this attribute may be due to their origins as natural hunters.

Before we move on to the next part of our discussion, it is important to take note that feline behaviors are significantly different compared to those in dogs. Happy cats may even act a lot differently compared to happy dogs.

To understand how cats love better, let’s take a look at their roots...



Pre-Domesticated Dogs Versus Cats

Cats love in a different manner.

We are well-versed in the pack mentality that dogs instinctually carry with them. We’ve even taught ourselves to think similarly to train our pooches effectively. They are subservient to one single alpha leader.

But what kind of mentality do cats have?

To most of us, it’s a mystery. If you ask a cat behavior expert, though, the truth is that our feline companions are more complicated. Their "social behavior" can be significantly different compared to other pets like domestic canines.

Cats spend a lot of time alone. However, they may also form communities. Unlike their canine counterparts, they don’t need the “pack” to survive. They can usually hunt and protect themselves without the help of other cats.

When cats are part of a community, it’s by choice. It’s not out of need. What's really interesting is that many cats live alone (whether in the wild or in the domestic setting) without experiencing any negative effects on their well-being.

A cat typically does not have the concept of a leader of the pack.

So when you bring a cat into your home, it’s not about who is alpha or beta. It’s about mutual respect and this must be earned. A cat doesn't see humans as "masters" or creatures that they have to be subservient to. This applies to kittens as well.

Your cat sees you as an individual sharing their space and you’ll see this reflected in how they act towards you. Dogs, on the other hand, are eager for your respect and attention because they acknowledge that you are their leader, and they need you to survive.


A Cat's Love Language Explained

Cats express affection differently.

Now that we know not to expect our cats to act like canine pets.

We've also learned that cats are capable of love. You aren’t likely to see signs of affection from your cat until you have earned their respect. However, once you do, your cat will grow to love you and will show the same in a lot of ways.

How about we check out the ways your cat may say "I love you" in the next part of our discussion?


6 Signs Your Cat Loves You

  1. Upright tail

  2. Rubbing against your legs

  3. Asking to be pet

  4. Bringing gifts

  5. Purring

  6. Slow blinking (it's his version of a "flying kiss")

Upright tail

The upright tail may well be the most obvious way cats show love. When a cat walks around with their tail upright, it says it’s comfortable in its surroundings. A curve at the end of her tail means she’s even more excited about seeing you.

So while you may not enjoy the view when her tail is upright and the back half is in your face, your cat is saying he loves you. Your feline best friend may also slowly swing his tail around in this situation.


Rubbing against your legs

Does your feline friend rub your legs?

If you’ve ever seen cat friends interact, you’ll probably notice them rubbing faces. This is because they have distinct scent glands in their cheeks, lips, and forehead that get stimulated, and help "introduce" or "greet" one another.

They may even do it with canine pets if they have a close enough relationship. Rubbing against your legs is kind of the same thing. It is important to take note that a cat rubs other parts of the bodies of cat people, too, like to arms, shoulders, and even the head.

It’s their way of saying, "Hello, I love you, and please pet me." This is usually accompanied by slow blinking. They are letting you know that they are looking to bond. 

Moreover, you can think of the whole thing as a privilege because a cat won't just get into full-on "scent sharing mode" with just anybody.

Asking to be pet

When your cat asks for your affection, it’s not necessarily a selfish act.

This is one of the few ways your cat knows how to bond with you, so asking for affection is also a way for them to show affection. You also have to check the position and rigidity of a cat's tail in this situation.

Does your cat follow you around all of a sudden? It could also be a sign that he wants to cuddle. Studies show that this behavior is often displayed by female cats to possibly stimulate milk flow.

Bringing gifts

Cat owners may find random "presents" courtesy of their kitty.

Ah, the dead mouse or bird. Those are unpleasant, aren’t they? Although cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, they have retained the strong hunting instincts of their ancestors.

What does that have to do with you? Let’s explore…

In the wild, cat mothers bring prey to their kittens to teach them how to hunt. When they are domesticated and often spayed, they don’t have children to pass their hunting knowledge. So, they are attempting to pass it on to you. It’s an act of love.


Purring? Maybe. Many pet owners think of purring as a sign of affection.

This may be true, but there’s more to the story. Cats may also purr when they are hungry and some even purr when they are angry or anxious. When you hear a seemingly satisfied when you're grooming cats or during feeding time, it could be positive.

However, if the purring has an irritated tone to it like when your pet's litter box needs to be cleaned out, then it might mean otherwise.

Slow blinking

When you see your cat slowly blinking, he is giving you the feline version of a flying kiss. This is often accompanied by love bites and a bit of rubbing here and there. If you notice your cat slowly blink or move his eyes slowly, that's your cue.

However, humans should not engage their cats in eye contact for a very long time. It just makes them uncomfortable.


How to Bond with Your Cat

Cats are social creatures that are capable of love.

One of the most important things to remember when trying to bond with your cat is that it takes time. You must spend time and show them affection to earn their respect before they will return the favor.

But when a cat loves you, it will treat you as an equal. It’s not quite the same thing as the “pack mentality” that you’ll find with canines, but it’s more like a familial bond. If a dog sees you as a parent of sorts, you’re more like a sibling to your cat.

It’s also important to note that kittens must be handled very early in life, between 4 and 8 weeks, for them to be able to trust and bond with humans.


About the author

Denise Lessard
Denise Lessard


Denyse Lessard is deemed as the “mother” of Zumalka, which was established more than ten years ago to provide easily accessible natural products for pet wellness worldwide.

Besides being a trained alternative medicine therapist, Denyse also has expertise in homeopathy, naturopathy and iridology, reflexology, as well as Chinese medicine. She is a long-standing member of the Professional Union of Homeopaths of Quebec, as well as the Association of Naturopaths and Naturotherapists of Quebec.

Denyse’s philosophy as regards pet wellness is not just about only dealing with disease and illness when they get in the picture, but keeping animals in ideal health each and every day.

Find out more about Denyse when you click HERE.


  • Eva Pline July 19, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Thank you so much for this article. For a while some cat-hate comments were getting to me like, cats only love for the food etc. and I wasn’t sure about how my cat truly felt about me and it was really hard on me because of my great love for cats. So thank you so much, Denyse for this article it help me so much and helped me to better understand the animals I love.

  • Debora March 29, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    We have 4 cats, one of which we joke that he turned in his ‘cat card’ long ago. He was in ‘the pen’ (shelter most of his life.) He is a Manx and I guess to most he was unapproachable. We let the cats choose us. When (They had named him Brussell for some reason, but it was all he’d known) saw my husband, his eyes lit up. Big green eyes, awesome marking etc. He went to my hubby and stole his heart. He had never really been out of the caged area. He gave a whole new meaning to scardy cat. He couldn’t jump up onto the bed, he actually meowed the first time after about a week. It was the weirdest we’d ever heard! We were like, what was THAT. He thinks he is a dog, begs shamelessly for food from our plates.
    he didn’t know how to play, to be cuddled, anything you normally expect from a cat. He was born on Christmas day, and we got him 3 months later. He is my guardian angel kitty. He knows when I am hurting (I have 3 autoimmune disorders and I hurt alot. He comes to me and lays next to me in ‘guard mode’ and sleeps beside me. I taught him to give ‘sugar’ he will do it anytime he is asked. He rubs his face on mine and loves ‘Itchy scratchy’ Our next rescue was a kitten. (I like adopting older cats, but my husband fell in love when this kitten chose him. (They had named him Conway) Ugh! He was a brave and curious little boy, so we called him Simba. I swear this next story is true.My hubby brought him home and soon we couldn’t find him. We figured he was hiding from the other 2 cats, didn’t think too much of it. I got a bad feeling when we searched and searched. I looked at Brussell and asked

    where is you new brother?" He got up on the back of the sofa and just stared out the window. So I thought he isn’t interested. Another round of searches, I again asked him that question. He got back up on the back of the sofa and looked out the window. I got it then! I said to my hubby, I think Simba got outside somehow! So off he goes out front and to the side of the house. He called for ‘Simba’ and he came running to his Daddy. He was in grass taller than he, he was only 8 weeks old! Brussell told me where he was. When my husband passed away, Simba nearly grieved to death. He mourned so bad. (The cats were alone with him a whole day and night with him gone.) He pulled his hair out, and most of his fur fell off. He got so sick, I didn’t think he was going to survive. With tons of extra love and attention he finally got better, little by little. He still will stop every now and then and look where he was found and get a sad look. He runs around and then he’s ok. Cat do love and they do care. Either that or mine are the exception. I just needed to share this. Thanks for your time.
    Debora Duren

  • Sara March 29, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    My Sophie girl lives and breaths to be with me. Is a talker and likes to sit on my lap all the time.

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