Do Cats Love Their Owners? Signs Your Feline Friend Cares

Denise Lessard
Authored by Denyse Lessard
Denyse is an in Chinese medicine, homeopathy, and naturopathy, and the formulator behind most of Zumalka's natural health products for pets.

Many cat owners often wonder if their pets truly love them. While your feline friend can sometimes seem indifferent, this blog post will reassure you that your cat loves you, even if his or her behavior sometimes suggests otherwise.

If you're a cat lover who often speculates if your affection for your pet is reciprocated, then you've come to the right place. In this article, I will not just walk you through proof that your cat loves you, but also share some useful tips on how to become even closer with your kitty.

Let's start things off by correcting a wrong notion believed by most cat owners...

"Cat Behavior" is Entirely Different From "Dog Behavior"

One of the biggest misconceptions why most cats are perceived as "uncaring" or "unloving" is because they are directly compared with how dogs act with human contact. Given their different species and traits inherited from wild ancestors, cats tend to exhibit behaviors distinct from their canine counterparts.

Cats have unique ways of showing affection to their owners, using different body language and facial expressions, marking their personal space, and responding to their names when called. Interestingly, evidence suggests that cats feel love and can reciprocate it as well.

Why do cats seem indifferent?

From being the subjects of murals created by ancient Egyptians to starring in Internet memes, cats have been a mainstay in human lives as feline companions. Although many people might prefer dogs for their jolly and demonstrative dispositions, the distinctive character of cats can be explained by their evolutionary history.

Research reveals that cats descended from ancestors who were solitary and territorial in nature. Despite thousands of years of domestication, this heritage has not entirely erased their aloof and seemingly uncaring demeanor.

Unlike dogs, which are more sociable and demonstrative, cats prioritize territorial security over bonding with others, including their human caregivers. This behavior stems from their evolutionary need to ensure their own survival before forming close relationships.

However, this does not mean that cats are incapable of feeling and reciprocating love. Their actions are simply a reflection of their evolutionary path.

Do cats know that you love them?

Yes, cats can feel love and experience a wide range of emotions, not just with other cats and animals but also with their pet parents. Interestingly, a study found that cats understand human emotions by integrating visual and auditory cues.

Here is additional research-backed information on how cats feel love and show affection, in their own unique ways:

The ability of cats to perceive and respond to our feelings deepens the bond between them and their owners, highlighting the emotional intelligence of our feline friends. While many cats might not display excitement and animation upon hearing their owner's voice, they exhibit affection through different behaviors.

In the next part of our discussion, we will explore these unique behaviors in detail, revealing the subtle ways our feline companions show their love and understanding.

Signs of Affection from Domestic Cats

Do Cats Love Their Owners - A Bengal cat being petted by its owner

Humans hug, and dogs wag their tails, but what about cats? For this part of our discussion, I will walk you through the signs of affection that your kitty is displaying—signs you've probably been missing out on.

Indicators of "cat love" that you may have missed

#1. The slow blink

The slow blink is a subtle yet meaningful gesture from your feline companion. When a cat gives you slow blinks, it indicates a positive response to your voice or gestures. Research reveals that this behavior is a sign of trust and relaxation, suggesting that cats feel safe and untroubled in your presence.

Moreover, by returning the slow blink, you can reinforce this bond of mutual affection and security. This simple act not only deepens the sense of comfort and companionship between you and your cat but also strengthens your overall connection.

#2. Displaying an upright tail

An upright tail is another sign of cat love that you should take note of. Research indicates that this gesture serves as more than just a social greeting among cats—it is also a way for them to show affection to their owners. You can think of it as a "wave" when a person enters the same room, signaling both greeting and affection.

#3. Licking humans

Licking is a common gesture between dogs and cats. When your pet licks you, it's a sign that they want to establish a strong bond with you. This affectionate behavior indicates their trust and love, reinforcing the connection you share.

Similar to other animals, it is important to practice good hygiene after your pet has licked you. Make sure to properly wash the areas where your cat made contact with your skin. Additionally, prevent your cat from licking open wounds or rashes to avoid bacterial infections and other related issues.

#4. Belly exposure

If your cat often exposes their belly while you're spending time together, it means they feel safe and relaxed around you. While some owners might see this as a sign of submission—true in some contexts, such as with more dominant cats or humans—it's usually a loving gesture in normal circumstances.

Cats understand emotions quite well, and showing their belly is one of their ways of reciprocating your affection.

#5. Following you around

Surprisingly, cats often follow their favorite humans around. According to a study, this behavior may indicate that cats see their owners as part of their social group and seek to maximize interaction. Interestingly, your pet may even follow the sound of your voice and respond to their name in various ways.

So, cat owners, don't hesitate to call your pets by their names when you want to initiate verbal contact. A simple way to help your furry friends get used to their names is by repeating them when you spend time together.

#6. Purring

One very common cat behavior is purring, which cats use to communicate and express emotions with humans, other cats, and even other animals. Research shows that a cat's purring often becomes more prominent after being separated from its owner for an extended period.

Additionally, soft purring may be your cat's way of saying "I love you," while short, repeated purrs might indicate a request for food, water, or treats. Pay attention to the subtle nuances in your cat's purrs to better understand their needs and emotions.

#7. Giving you occasional head butts

For cat lovers, it’s a familiar sight to receive random head butts from their feline friends. Known as "bunting," this behavior is a gesture of affection and trust among cats. While cats often head butt humans, they may also extend this loving gesture to dogs or other animals with whom they share a strong bond.

This unique form of communication highlights the deep connections cats can form across species. Additionally, veterinary medicine data suggest that head butting or bunting may also serve as a way for cats to "mark" their humans, dogs, and other animals with their scent, indicating that they view them as family members.

This marking behavior further underscores the deep bond and sense of belonging that cats feel towards their companions.

#8. Leaving you "presents"

As a cat owner, you may have noticed your pet leaving you with all sorts of things like leaves, twigs, and even the occasional dead animal. While some of these "presents" can be a bit icky, this behavior can be seen as your cat's way of providing for a family member.

Some experts believe that cats bring these "presents" to encourage humans to become more proficient at hunting or foraging for food, similar to how an adult cat teaches a kitten to be independent. Additionally, more inquisitive cat breeds may bring their fur parents unusual items such as sponges, socks, and even coins.

#9. Gentle kneading

If you observe that your cat loves to knead you with their paws, it indicates they consider you an essential part of their social group and seek interaction. This behavior likely originates from kittenhood when kneading stimulates milk from their mother.

Kneading also signifies a positive emotional state and reduced stress levels in cats. Whether you're sitting or cuddling, a kneading session from your pet is a heartwarming compliment. It's a delightful sign that your feline friend feels happy and secure with you.

#10. Rubbing against your legs

Have you ever noticed how your cat rubs against your legs when you spend time together? When our feline friends do this, they are marking us with their scent, signaling that they consider us family and want to interact.

This behavior is often accompanied by other gestures we’ve previously covered, such as purring, belly exposure, kneading, and the slow blink. These signs of affection are how your cat communicates its love without words. Together, these behaviors form a unique feline language of love, allowing our pets to bond with us in their own special way.

Yes, Cat Owners, Our Feline Friends Love Us

Do Cats Love Their Owners - African American woman with curly hair, smiling and holding her white fluffy cat

Sure, cats tend to get a bad rap because they aren't as demonstrative as dogs in expressing love and affection to humans. But they have their own unique ways of showing love. Whether you have a kitten, a juvenile kitty, or a senior cat, they can express love, especially in certain situations.

In this part of our discussion, I will share some simple and practical tips on how to become closer with your cat. These tips include activities that cats love, such as interactive play and gentle grooming. You'll find these activities enjoyable and fulfilling too. Are you ready to strengthen your bond with your feline friend?

  • Take time to understand your cat's unique personality. Building a close relationship with your cat starts with getting to know him or her better. Observe your pet’s quirks, note favorite foods and treats, and list the activities they enjoy most. A responsible cat owner truly knows their animal ward.
  • Create a trusting and respectful environment for your cat. Just like other pets, cats need to feel safe and secure. If your feline companion isn't relaxed, they will likely feel stressed and anxious, which negatively affects their overall quality of life. Ensuring your cat feels at ease in their surroundings is essential for their well-being.
  • Make meal times more interesting for your cat. Use food to strengthen your bond with your pet. Besides providing a proper diet, incorporate cat-safe treats like freeze-dried chicken or special catnip snacks to keep things exciting. Always ensure treats are safe to prevent any health issues, particularly if you have a kitten.
  • Patience is a virtue. Rushing things will only lead to disaster. Whether you're starting a playtime schedule or a grooming plan, give your cat plenty of time to adjust and adapt to these new activities. Be prepared to make adjustments if things don't go according to plan. Remember, flexibility and patience will help build a stronger bond with your pet.
  • Go for interactive games. Cats love interactive play, and you can use it to strengthen your bond with your pet. Interestingly, some games you play with dogs also work with cats, such as hide and seek, scent games, and chase the prey. You can also use catnip to encourage your cat to participate more actively.
  • Schedule regular cat grooming sessions at home. These sessions serve a dual purpose: keeping your cat clean and helping you monitor their health. While grooming, you can check for issues like bumps, lumps, or rashes. If you notice any problems, consult your vet or pet wellness expert promptly.
  • Take note of "out of character" behavior immediately. Most cat parents have a profile of their pet’s behavior, bathroom habits, food preferences, and pastimes. If you notice anything unusual, seek professional help as soon as possible. Cats can easily hide pain and discomfort, so be extra vigilant.
  • Consult a vet or pet wellness expert regularly. Keeping your cat’s health a priority should always be at the top of your pet care checklist. Don’t wait until your cat is sick to call a vet. Schedule regular check-ups and consult an animal homeopathy professional as soon as you notice changes in your pet’s diet or behavior. Zumalka offers convenient online consultations to help you stay on top of your cat's health.

As a responsible cat parent, it's crucial to be prepared for emergencies that could affect your pet's quality of life. Whether dealing with sudden vomiting, diarrhea, or skin issues, having a pet emergency kit on hand can make a significant difference.


As a fellow pet owner, I understand how much your cat means to you. While cats may not always show affection openly, the scientific facts in this article demonstrate that they do feel and reciprocate love.

To summarize, cats' behaviors stem from their evolutionary history. Though they may seem indifferent, they seek interaction and bonding with their caregivers. They just need time to adjust. As mentioned earlier, patience is a virtue with cats.

It's important to remember that, like other pets, each cat is unique. Your cat may warm up to you immediately or take some time. No matter how indifferent your cat may seem, they will return your gestures of affection in their own way.

So, do cats love their owners? Based on the evidence presented, it's clear that they do.


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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