Our furriest family members are masters at sending mixed messages.
One minute they’re throwing themselves at your legs in a fierce display of affection. And the next minute, they stalk off with a look of “Oh, just stop bugging me”.
So how do you measure cat love? What does it look like?
Actually, it takes lots of forms. Run through this list, and tick off how many expressions of kitty love you get from your pussycat.
The clues quickly start to add up. And pretty soon, you’ll never again need to ask yourself: Does my cat love me?
1. Your pussycat brings you gifts of love.
Does your cat bring you offerings from the kitty world gift shop?
She might present you with big green leaves from the garden, a poor little mouse who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, dead moths, or even clean laundry that’s fallen off someone’s clothesline.
I know a cat who steals construction materials from a building site and brings them home proudly for her horrified guardian.
Here’s a little bag of nails for you, Mom!
These gifts may not be on your birthday wish list, but there’s no mistaking the purity of the intention. When you’re a cat, nothing says “I love you” more clearly than a dead mouse.
2. Your cat loves to hang out with you.
Your cat spends time with you because she thinks you’re great company. Especially when you keep up an endless stream of compliments.
She may not jump all over you, or perch on your shoulder like a furry parrot, but the fact that she seeks you out and settles down in the same room as you is a clear sign that you’re high on her Favorite Human List.
3. Your cat can say “I love you” with a look.
When your cat gazes at you lovingly, her message is clear. She might slit her eyes, or give you a long, contented blink. It’s an intimate, trusting exchange that allows your cat to express her love without saying a word – and, in fact, without even getting off the sofa.
4. Cat hugs speak for themselves.
Some cats express their love loud and clear in physical gestures.
Your pussycat openly declares her love when she climbs onto your lap, or nestles into your neck for a snuggle. She wants to be close to you. This is the feline equivalent of a bear hug (do we maybe need to call it a cat hug?).
5. Purring is a roar of love.
Purring can mean various things, but cats often use it to express pure happiness.
A purring cat can be actually vibrating with joy. She’s not going to start up her kitty motor for someone she doesn’t like that much.
6. Cats check in regularly with the “pride”.
My little pride of 3 cats are always checking in with each other – and with me. Who’s sleeping in here? Is it dinner time? What’re you doing? Are we playing now? And is it dinner time, or what?
These are all ways of touching base and re-establishing our connection as a happy furry family.
7. Your cat shows she trusts you.
When your cat stretches out on her back in front of you and falls asleep, that means she feels safe. She’s completely relaxed, and knows she can trust you.
You don’t do that with someone you don’t love! She would never act like that with a stranger, or someone she hadn’t built up a relationship of trust with.
8. Sometimes “meow” translates directly as “I love you”.
OK, so I don’t have a cat translator to hand, but if you listen carefully, you’ll be able to pick up on a cat’s tone of voice when she speaks.
“Meow” can definitely mean “I love you” in cat language! A happy “meow” is tonal. And it’s often followed by a head bump, just in case a dense human doesn’t get the message.
9. Body language can speak louder than words.
Your cat expresses love by the way she holds her body. A relaxed cat who stretches slowly, and gazes at you is shouting “I love you!” just by lying down.
No wonder cats don’t bother to learn to speak!
10. Cat play time is a fun way to express love.
When your cat cavorts with you, it’s a bonding experience. She’s showing you that you play a vital role in her world, and she loves to have fun with you.
Who knew there were so many expressions of kitty love?
The next time you ask yourself Does my cat love me? – you won’t have to look far for the answer!
If she shows you one or more of the behaviours in this list of kitty love signs, you can be pretty sure the answer is YES!
Let’s just hope she doesn’t say “I love you” with a dead mouse too often…