Following You Around (Everywhere)
You hear the th-thud-thud of four paws hitting the floor when you stand up from the couch. You nearly take a tumble while carrying a large pot of water over to the sink because someone is underfoot. You haven’t used the bathroom alone in years. All of these are signs that you are lucky enough to have a cat that doesn’t want to leave your side. This one is pretty clear-cut, but if your buddy is always following you around, you can bet he loves you a whole bunch. Consider bringing him to your work, school, or other social functions—a built in conversation piece and amazing lifestyle choice all in one!
A cat’s stomach is his most vulnerable spot. By showing you his belly, your cat is revealing that he is comfortable enough with you to be unguarded and at his most vulnerable. And if your cat rolls on his back and allows you to rub his tummy? You’ve hit the big time! This is the ultimate sign of trust. WARNING: A tummy rub can turn violent on a moment’s notice. You may have to live with some light scarring. Cats are capricious.
They Leave You “Gifts” (Also Known As Bringing You Dead Things)
Though these gifts might be of dubious distinction (or, yes, downright disgusting), do not chastise your cat for leaving you an offering. It is a sign of his esteem for you. When your cat drags the lifeless carcass of a small animal to your bedside, it can be difficult to take it as the compliment that it is, but it unequivocally means she is totally into you. Bringing you the “treat” of a dead mouse, dead bird, or, if you are luckier, the toy version of same, is sign that your cat thinks of you as family and wants to provide for you. Like all gifts, it’s the thought that counts; accept it graciously (once you’ve finished dry-heaving).
Head Butts and Cheek Rubs
When you see your cat coming at you with her head cocked, brace yourself, you’re in store for a good head butt! Head butts are like a hug from your cat and are one way she tries to mix your scents together to cement your bond. Closely related to head butts are cheek rubs. If your cat is milling around your legs, try holding your hand (with a closed fist) near her head to see if she rubs her cheeks on your knuckles.
Both head butts and cheek rubs are self-guided pets that mean your cat is marking you as her own. Receive these with pride.
Visiting You for Nighttime Cuddles
Your best feline friend can be a secretive creature and will often not want to show his affections for his human to anyone—including you. As a result, your best cuddle session may just happen when you are fast asleep. You may be drooling and your hair might be a real mess, but your cat is using this time to express his love on his own terms. Just because you aren’t awake to share in it, doesn’t diminish its significance. Your cat coming to you in the night and sitting on your chest, face, or side is a sure-fire sign that she loves you.
Offering a Slow Blink
Cats do a lot of talking with their eyes and one very special way they say “I love you” is through the slow blink. When a cat is happy and content with you, she may just look over and slowly close and reopen her eyes. In this they are saying, “Hey friend, I love you, and I feel comfortable enough around you to let my guard down.” This is basically a marriage proposal from a cat and the best response is a reciprocated slow blink accompanied by the warm feeling in your heart from the certainty that your cat loves you. (Helpful tip: The slow blink is also a great way to introduce yourself in a non-threatening way to a new cat to show that you mean no harm.)
Kneading or “Making Biscuits”
There are competing theories about why exactly cats knead. One theory holds that adult cats forever associate kneading with the comfort of nursing (kittens knead to stimulate their mother’s milk production), so when a cat kneads near her human, it shows she is relaxed and comfortable with her family. If that’s not love, what is? And when that kneading happens on your lap and is accompanied by purring and an intense, searching gaze, you know you have one content cat on your hands!
The Tail Has It
Cats often greet people they like with a question-mark-shaped tail. Pay attention to your cat’s tail to judge how happy she is to see you. (For more on reading feline body language, check out moderncat.com/felinebodylanguage).
Hanging Out In Your Space
Cats will show animosity or discomfort, particularly with strangers, by simply vacating the premises. Your cat may not be overly affectionate, but if she’s always in the same room you’re in—even if she seems to not be paying you any attention—then she values your company. Simply put, not all cats are lap cats; this is frequently misunderstood as aloofness or indifference, but sometimes proximity is all a cat needs to be happy with you. We call these special guys Nearby Cats. Your Nearby Cat is just out of reach on the couch, at the foot of your bed, or in an adjacent chair in the living room. This reserved fellow loves you just as much as those showy lap cats. Trust us.