What Is Your Cat's Love Language?


This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Belinda Stancombe

Cats have been living alongside humans for centuries, with modern domesticated cats now much loved and special members of the family. They are curious creatures, born with distinct personalities that can leave owners feeling more like their cat tolerates them than loves them.

Cats are capable of loving and forming close relationships but how they choose to show affection is unique, and very different to how dogs or people display love. Knowing your cat's love language not only helps you better recognise these signs of affection but enables you to show them the same love in return!

Read our Vets guide to the common love languages that cats use to show that they love us.


Perhaps the most well known sign of affection, the act of purring is often compared to a human smiling. It is usually associated with happiness and contentment, but can also occur when a cat is sick or in pain as a means of self-soothing. Cats get an endorphin release when they purr, which makes them feel good and can soothe them if they are in pain. Mother cats are known to purr when giving birth, as it is believed it helps to relieve the pain.

When a cat purrs while around you, you can usually assume they are 'smiling' because they are content and feeling emotions of happiness and love.

It may seem intimidating at times, but your cat is just trying to tell you that they trust and love you when they stare into your eyes. By blinking slowly, they are telling you they feel comfortable and safe with you.

A slow blink is just like getting a kiss from your cat. You can even do it back to them to let them know you feel the same way!

They Knead On You

Kneading is when your cat presses and flexes their paws into a soft surface - which is often you! This is an instinct carried over from kittenhood, where kittens knead on their mother's belly to express milk from her teats.

Your cats do this as a sign of affection and contentment, and it is considered by some to be the ultimate display of love.

Unfortunately it can be painful for us - just like with biting, cats don't realise that our skin isn't as thick as theirs - and the happier your cat is, the harder they will press! If your cat is causing pain, try clipping their nails and provide plenty of cat scratchers to reduce the sharp tip!

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They Give You Love Bites

When a cat mouths you, it's actually a sign of affection. Kittens mouth one another as a sign of love, but it doesn't hurt them due to their thicker feline skin. Your cat simply doesn't understand that our skin isn't as thick as theirs - for all we know, they might think it's actually pleasant to us!

However, only gentle mouthing is a sign of affection. If your cat is breaking the skin, they may be playing too rough or getting annoyed at you. Keep in mind that many people will flinch or pull their hand away quickly when they feel their cat's teeth. Because a cat's natural instinct is to catch something that is trying to escape their clutches, instinct can kick in and they will grab your hand and bite down harder.

They Bunt Their Face Onto You

By rubbing their face onto you, your cat is marking you with pheromones to claim you as their own. It might seem possessive, but think about it - they wouldn't want to own something they didn't love!

Not only is the bunting a pleasant form of affection for us to receive, but it is also a physiological stress release for your cat.

They Bring You 'Presents'

It might seem like an odd way to show affection, but actually by presenting you with a dead animal or insect, your cat is telling you they love you. Many believe that your cat will bring you 'presents' if they don't think you are an adequate hunter, as they don't want you to starve. Sometimes they don't quite get it right, for example by bringing you something inedible like a toy or a leaf, but the loving motivation is still there.

If your cat brings you a special present, no matter how gross, always try to give them praise and return the love with a pat. (Some people even pretend to eat the 'present' while sneaking it into the bin, just to make their cat happy!) After all, it's never nice to feel that your loved one didn't like your gift!

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They Talk To You

Cats don't tend to meow at each other; this is a behaviour they seemed to have developed just for interacting with humans. Cats also don't tend to meow at unfamiliar humans as much as they do with humans they trust. This means that if your cat meows at you, they feel close to you.

Always remember to make the effort to talk to your cat. Cats are extremely responsive to vocal noise, and form closer relationships with people who interact with them vocally. They can even become depressed if they think they are being ignored. This sets them apart from dogs, who often bond more with a quiet, calm leader.

They Show You Their Belly

Rolling over in front of you and showing you their belly means that they trust you. Their abdomen is a vulnerable area, so exposing it to you means that they feel comfortable around you. They are also demonstrating that they are happy to be defenseless around you, as they feel loved and protected by you.

They Follow You Around

Does your kitty follow you from room to room? By following you around the house, your kitty wants to spend time with you. Even if they don't come over and sit close, the act of wanting to be around you means they love you and want to keep you close.

Further Reading

10 Must Have Products For When You're Away From Home

Why Do Cats Purr?

Looking After Your Senior Cat

Dental Care For Cats

9 Best Indoor Cat Toys

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