They aren't always known for big displays of affection, but cats do have strong emotions toward their owners.
Ever found yourself wondering "Does my cat love me?" Unfortunately, it’s not easy to ‘prove’ our pets love us, but there are plenty of ways cats do show affection. From purrs and play to cuddles on your lap, here are three simple ways your feline shows her affinity.
1. Physical Engagement
Just because cats don't greet you at the door with tails a-wag, doesn't mean they're indifferent. You can tell a cat has a strong relationship with someone when they become physically and emotionally engaged around them. Notice any rubbing against your leg, kneading or general affection? Those are good signs your kitty cares.
2. Social Interaction and Play
Some other signs your cat loves you are following you around the house, purring when you pet her, wanting to sleep in the same room as you (even if she wants out halfway through the night), and bringing you her toys. Have a stack of catnip mice in your room? Then it looks like you've made a loyal furry friend.
3. How She Acts When You're Gone
Despite their ‘I could care less’ reputation, cats have been known to develop strong relationships with their owners, and can get quite upset when their people go away.
In cases of extreme or abrupt separation it’s not uncommon for cats to show signs of distress and anxiety. Hiding, or refusing to eat while you're away are all indicators that your cat has formed a strong bond with you.
In extreme cases, cats will go to great lengths to get back to their humans. In fact some have been known to travel hundreds of miles to reunite with their families, like in 2013, when a cat in Florida named Holly walked nearly 200 miles to find her owner.
Independent, But Not Aloof
As you can see, the signs that cats care are there, you just have to look at them a little differently—I.e., you can't compare them to dogs. Cats are often labeled as unattached and aloof, but really they’re just a little more independent, and may be more particular about how they show affection.
So when they don’t come when you call, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It just means they’re not a dog, and they're going to show love on their own terms. They may simply be happy where they are, in the wonderful, comfortable home you've provided.
Showing Your Cat Some Love
While you're stopping to ask "Does my cat love me?" don't forget to return the affection. After all, love is a two-way street.
If you want to make sure your cat knows that you care, too, here are a few simple ways to share the love:
1. Plenty of Pets
Nothing shows love like a good scratch behind the ears. Just make sure you're ready to pet your cat on her own terms. Cats, just like people, have pet peeves. Whether it’s having her paws touched or tail pet, keep an eye out for your cat's bugaboos and be sure not to annoy her.
3. Healthy Care
If you truly want to show your cat the love, do it with everyday tasks. In addition to keeping her well fed with a healthy, balanced food, keep her litterbox clean, stay on track with vaccines and veterinary check ups, and make sure she's getting enough exercise on a daily basis with lots of loving play.
To sum it up, science may not be able to prove that cats love people, but we do know that devoted owners have devoted pets. So never hesitate to invest your heart in your feline relationships.