Cats are known to be fiercely independent. As a result, many human companions find them mysterious and aloof. Many cat owners even wonder, "Does my cat love me?" Well, our kitties may not be as introverted as they seem.
In 2019, Oregon State University conducted a fascinating experiment focused on cat attachment. Researchers placed individual kittens and their owners in empty rooms for two minutes, then separated the kittens from their parents for another two minutes. Finally, kittens reunited with their owners for another two minutes.
After cats and their owners were reunited, the researchers noticed that 64% of the cats sought out their owner for comfort after being separated – indicating that the kittens were securely attached to their owners. On the other hand, 34% did not seek out their owners after being reunited, indicating that they were insecurely attached.
Most cats, it turns out, do feel safe and comforted in the presence of their owner. Here's how you can confirm whether you and your fur baby share a secure attachment.
She Kneads into You
It feels good to be needed, but it doesn't always feel good to be kneaded. Cats are kneading when they apply pressure with their paws in an alternating pattern, often gripping with their claws at the same time.
When your cat is kneading you, she's displaying her love for you. As a kitten, she kneaded her mother to stimulate milk production and she may knead you because she associates you with similar comfort and care.
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She Rubs Against You
Has your cat ever rubbed or brushed her head against you? Our feline friends rub against us to mark their territory.
Rubbing on you tells other kitties that you are her human. Your cat is claiming you as her own, so there's no need to ask "does my cat love me?"
She Makes Eye Contact With You
Cats' eyes are very expressive. Extended eye contact, slow blinking, and half-open eyes all indicate that your kitty feels relaxed and not threatened. If you catch your cat lounging with her eyes barely open, she's probably feeling at ease, which means she trusts you and feels safe in your presence.
If your kitty slowly opens and closes her eyes while looking at you, she's performing the slow blink of trust. It's her simple way of telling you that she trusts you deeply and is comfortable having you around.
She Gives You Kisses
If your kitty sometimes grooms you, then that's a good sign! Many fur babies lick their owners to mix their scents together. According to the experts at Animal Planet, when a cat licks you, rubs on you, and licks you again, she is grooming you and depositing her scents on your skin – something all cats do with their babies and parents.
When your cat gives you kisses, she's not only showing affection – she's using that combined scent to recognize you as her own trusted family.
She Follows You Everywhere
As a cat owner, you know you never really are alone. If your fur baby tags along for your brief bathroom trips or sits beside your leg as you're cooking, she's definitely attached to you.
According to the creators of Science Diet pet food, when your kitty displays this type of behavior, she's attempting to spend as much time with you as possible – even if she doesn't have your full attention. She's saying, "Your my person and I feel safe around you."
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So... Does My Cat Love Me?
It's important to remember that every kitty is different. If your cat doesn't perform any of these behaviors, it doesn't mean that she's not attached to you. Regardless of the specific ways she shows her love, your cat does rely on you for love, comfort, and safety.
You may have asked yourself, "Does my cat love me? Like, really love me?" The answer is yes, no matter how your cat expresses it.
Does your kitty do anything special to show her affection? We'd love to hear about it! Comment below and tell us all about her special gestures.