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Written by Amir Ali| December 5, 2021
A recent study claims that humans have been taming cats for more than 10,000 years. That’s almost the same time when humans were learning to grow crops. Yet we know very little about their socio-cognitive abilities due to the dominance of dogs in scientific studies. And, that’s why pet lovers are divided on the question “DO Cats Actually Love Their Owners?”
The short answer is “Yes, cats can recognise and show affection to their owners but whether cats can recognise strangers the same way is questionable and there is a huge scope of research in this area”.
A large group of cat parents and pet lovers strongly advocate that cats do love their owners. Often, they put forth their personal experiences and cat videos (that are published every day on the internet featuring cats romancing with their parents) as proof.
However, the other group rejects this claim due to the lack of scientific evidence and research.
So, I decided to throw some light on the topic(with evidence). By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear answer with scientific proof of whether cats love their owner or not?
Feeling excited? Me too. Read on…
Yes! Cats Love Their Owners Here Are the Details
A research discovered that cats show clear signs of attachment to their owners in the same way as children show to their mothers.
But the problem with us is that we see cats in ‘dog clothes’ and expect them to behave in the same way the dogs do.
Here, we need to understand that cats are completely different organisms.
They have learned to hunt and take care of themselves on their own.
They are not pack animals like dogs. And that’s why their way of showing affection and expressing their feelings is different and often opposite to dogs.
Likewise, they do not express themselves as humans. In fact, the cat has their own sign language that they use to express their emotions.
So if you are a new cat daddy( or mommy) you need to learn more about cats’ body language so that you would not misunderstand your cat.
Here are some of the gestures that cats use to show affection. Cats who love or feel attached with their owners/parents express this in the following ways:
Wait! If you want to skip reading the blog post you may quickly get the gist from the infographic below.
#1. Cats Show Affection by Blinking Their Eyes Slowly
You often have observed that she looks into your eyes for seconds and slowly blinks her eyes. Well, that’s her way of telling you, “Dude, I trust you”. ” I know you are not gonna hurt me and I feel safe around you.”
#2. Cats Show Trust me By Rolling on Their Back and Exposing Their Vulnerable Lower Body Line to You
Cats are predators and they know very well their strengths and weaknesses.
They never ever want to show their vulnerable body parts to their enemies and any creature that scares them.
But if she rolls on her back in front of you, congratulations she trusts you a lot and she’s at mental peace in your company.
Remember! Just because she’s showing you her stomach doesn’t mean that she’s inviting you to give her a ‘Belly Massage’.
Now may say “But, when a dog rolls on its back it’s considered as he wants to scratch, isn’t it the same case with cats?” Right?
Wrong! As I have mentioned above, cats are not dogs. So, their same gestures often convey a different meaning and they act in a different way.
In short, she has put her trust in you. Now, don’t break it by getting over-enthusiastic. Otherwise, you’ll get a return gift of a scratch or bite if you cross your limits.
#3. Cats Show Affection by Sitting or Laying on You or in Your Lap
If you are a cat parent you know this very well. When your fluffy wants to sit in your lap, she will sit in your lap and you are already defeated.
You often get mad at her because she wants to sit in your lap at exactly the same time when you have to do some important work.
Well, again it’s her way to say that she trusts and owns you. And, you are nothing but a member of her pride. So she comes to you whenever she thinks it’s time to sit comfortably in your lap and have a small petting session.
#4. Cats Show Affection by Sleeping With You
Question: Do Cats sleep with their favourite person?
Answer: Hell Yes! There’s no doubt about it.
You don’t believe me?
Alright, get a cat and see yourself.
Cats are very particular about the people who feed them, care for them and treat them with respect. They sense and differentiate between the same members of a family by their scent, voice and faces.
Cats are very much aware of the person who cares for them the most. And gradually they feel attached to him/her and start sharing their bed. Don’t be surprised if your cat would get into your blanket to enjoy a sound sleep with you.
Believe me, you would be amazed that she will find you even if your face is covered with something or if there are other people along with you on the bed. Thanks to her amazing sense of smell.
#5. Cats Keep Themselves Around the People They Trust and Love to Be With
Cats have different personalities. Just like us, no two cats are similar in every aspect.
In fact, it’s astonishing to see how much one cat is different from the other if you observe the personalities of the two cats closely.
This is the reason why some just don’t want to cuddle, sit in a lap or sleep with humans. Yet they keep themselves near the people they feel attached with.
Avoiding sitting in your lap doesn’t mean that your cat is hostile towards you.
Actually, the situation is quite the opposite. She likes you and that is why she wants to keep herself near you, if not in your lap.
#6. Cats Show Affection by Purring
“To tears is to human, to purr is to cat”
Did you understand the analogy?
Let me explain…
…We as humans shed tears in multiple situations, at various frequencies and to express different emotions. We shed tears when we are extremely sad, we shed tears we ar in pain, we shed tears when we are happy( some of us even she crocodile tears but that’s a different story) LOL.
Similarly, cats purr in different situations and express different kinds of feelings. As per the Pet Services organisation, cats purr when they feel content, happy.
They might want to say buddy you are a great caretaker and “I Like You”.
However, they also purr when they feel unhappy and down. Plus, cats also purr to repair their wounds quickly.
In fact, it isn’t something that is restricted only to domestic cats. Wild cats such as lions, cheetahs, ocelots and pumas purr too.
#7. Cats Show Affection by Holding Their Tail High and Curved at the Edge
Another way of expressing the feeling of contentment is holding the tail high and curved at the edge(think of a question mark).
Your Cat holds her tail high mostly in two situations:
i.) Firstly when she’s super excited to look around, to explore the world and want to see what’s there for her today. In this situation, her tail would be high and curved at the edge.
ii) Secondly, she also holds her tail high when she feels full of energy and aggressiveness. At this time, her tail will be high and straight without a curve. So, it’s time to give her a toy or play with her and help her to release her energy.
Advice: Don’t rub or scratch her at this time. You see, she’s already full of energy and rubbing her will excite her even more and she might scratch or bite you (unintentionally) to release the energy.
#8. Cats Show Love by Grooming and Rubbing Her Head Cheeks Body on You
Cats have glands present on their cheeks and heads that secrete scented pheromones.
That’s another predatory behaviour. Cats have been rubbing their body parts on trees, rocks and anything that they want to claim as their territory or property.
Domestic cats have brought this behaviour into our homes from their wild cousins.
So, if you have ever experienced your tabby rubbing her head, cheeks or body to you. She’s trying to transfer her pheromones to you so that you can become hers.
#9. Cat Show Affection by Kneading You
Lastly, cats also show affection to you by kneading you. Kneading objects and things that belong to them is a leftover behaviour of kittenhood when they used to knead their momma.
Naturally, it’s instinctual and completely natural. So, if you find your cat knead you let her need and knead her back.
Can Cats Recognise Their Owners?
Before I give you the answer, let’s first understand how cats recognise things and organisms.
Though cats have a functional sense of sight yet they rely more on scent and vocal cues to recognise things and other organisms.
A recent study proves that cats have the ability to recognise and differentiate between cats and human partners. Interestingly, cats do this by matching individual voices to faces. This is the reason why cats rush to you yowling and meowing by hearing a call.
But their ability to recognise humans is limited to familiar people. They won’t react the same way to strangers and that’s why they stay aloof.
Are Male Cats Possessive of Their Owners?
Irrespective of the gender cats show possessiveness not only for their owners but also for the familiar human and animal partners.
You may argue, but cats are solitary hunters. Yes, you are right. I got it! Still, cats show possessiveness for the members of their pride, for their territory and anything that belongs to them.
And, when a third person or animal comes in between them and their belongings they feel jealous and often all set to defend their wealth by violence.
Since she sees you as her guardian and somebody that belongs to her. Naturally, she gets possessive of you.
Do Cats Miss Their Owners?
Yes, cats feel attached to their owners and miss them too. Often, it happens if you leave your cat alone for a long time she may develop separation anxiety. A study done in 2000 had proved that cats can develop separation anxiety if they have kept apart from the attachment figure(owner or any member of the house with whom they feel attached).
Separation anxiety can develop in cats due to multiple reasons such as a change in ownership, spending too much time indoors, not having any cat or human partner other than the owner, or if she got separated from her mother too early.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Cats
How to Love Your Cat Back
Now as you know a lot about your furball’s body language and gestures which she does to express her contentment and feelings.
Now, being a loving and caring parent it’s your responsibility to love her back.
Here are a few things that you can do to show your love.
#1. Look Into Her Eyes and Blink Yours Slowly
As I told you earlier, your cat tries to communicate her feelings of trust and love by slowly blinking her eyes. Do the same thing!
So, next time when she sends you trust signals by blinking her eyes. Tell her that you also love and trust her by slowly blinking your eyes in response.
#2. By Petting Her
Cats love to be petted by their parents. At times, they want you to leave your work and pet them first. They do this because they want to draw your attention towards them.
When they see their parents not paying attention to them and involved in doing something else. They tend to disturb their parents.
So, If she comes to you for petting please do that for some time and make her happy.
#3. Don’t Leave Them Alone for Long
This is very important for one cat household. As I have told you above, cats that are the only cat in the house often tend to develop separation anxiety.
The probability of developing SAS even increases when you and your life partner both work outside.
I understand it’s pretty hard to stay at home all the time. But, you need to figure out something. So, that you can prevent SAS as much as you can.
The best way is to adopt another cat that can accompany her in your absence.
#4. Don’t Scratch Her Belly Too Much When She Roll on Her Back
Remember! Rolling on her back is not an invitation for scratching her belly. Too much scratching can make her too excited and she might end up biting you.
Secondly, the stomach and the surrounding area is the most vulnerable portion of her body. When you scratch her too much over she might get scared and scratch you back in order to protect herself.
You might object here that your cat loves scratching her belly. Yes, but that’s not the case with all cats. And, it’s not advisable to do that. If you still do it, you do it at your risk.
#5. Take Care of Her
This is obvious yet many parents make mistakes when it comes to cat care.
Make sure to take care of their nutritional needs, feeding schedule, health and grooming.
Your cat can feel your love. The more you care for her needs the more she’ll love you back.
6. Play With Your Cat
The best kind of friendship is made during playtime. Just like we feel attached to people whom we spend our time with. In the same way, cats are also attached to the partner with whom they play, spend time and grow up.
Playing with her sends her signals that you are her buddy and you enjoy her company. This would give warmth to your relationship with her.
If you are reading this blog post I’m one-hundred-per cent sure that you love your cat like hell. And, now you know that she loves you too.
I am also sure that now you will observe her gestures even more closely than before. After all, you want to know how much she loves you.
In this article, I tried my best to equip you with scientific evidence from authentic sources of cats’ love. So, when next time you put your leg in a cat vs dog debate on Reddit or Facebook you will have a strong basis to put your views with confidence.
With that said, if you liked the article please share it within your social groups. If you find anything objectionable do let me know. If you want me to include some ‘more points’ drop them in the comment section. If your points are valid I’ll include them the next time when I’ll update this article.
Thanks for Reading!
“Keep Romancing With Your Cat”