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How to show love to cat?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I read the other day that the only way a cat expresses affection is by "head butting." Everything else, it turns out, is a shameless ploy for food or attention or marking territory.

Fine. AND I DON'T WANT TO START A DEBATE ON THAT. I bring it up as backstory.

The question I have is, how do I communicate to my cat that -- activate stupid doofus mode -- I wuv her to iddy biddy bits?

End stupid doofus mode.

Perhaps when I play with her, she takes it as MY shameless ploy for attention and not me trying to show her affection.

Part of this might be because yesterday I was trying to shake half a can of wet food into her plate, and I had it on the counter and she was at my feet and the can fell out of my hand and almost conked her right on the head. BONUS OBSERVATION: Keep the can firmly gripped, a dropped can will probably do some serious damage to kitty if it falls right.

Is there any method that researchers have determined a cat will instinctively understand as affection or friendliness from an owner?
post #2 of 22
Try providing for all the cat's needs, food, water, clean litter boxes, and proper health care.

Try petting your cat, giving scritches and belly rubs (if they are tolerated.) TALK to your kitty. TELL your kitty that you love him/her.

Really, that about covers it - your bond with your cat grows over time, and if you love them, they know it.

BTW, not debating, but my cats each show affection in different ways, and the only one that head butts me is Ferris. Ginger gives my fingers kitty kisses every single morning, and Penny snuggles up against me when she's in a cuddly mood.

I don't give a hoot if someone else considers their behaviors mere "ploys." I live with my cats, I know the difference between scent marking, begging for food, and giving of affection.
post #3 of 22
Riley purrs when he's being affectionate. Its the only time he purrs. I could pet him for hours, but the only time he purrs is when he comes to me and initiates the petting.
post #4 of 22
I show my love to my spoiled cats by feeding, changing litterbox, food bowls always clean, change their sleep blankets once a week, breaking up any fights, giving them baths once every 2/3 weeks, brushing one of them now and then, talking to them, admiring them, hugging them, change their water daily, etc.

And what do I get in return?

Aloofness

Mittens shows her affection in the morning by rolling on her back waiting for breakfast.

Cassy shows her affection by pointing her tail straight up and giving me a cheap meow before she eats.
post #5 of 22
Being able to show affection to our cats and to have them understand that is what we are doing assumes that we know how they interpret our behavior. We would need to display behavior towards them that they would interpret as the behavior they display towards one another when they want to show affection. I think my cats show affection towards one another with mutual grooming and by rubbing up against each other. I've read that it is believed that they intrepret our petting them as grooming. Different types of petting might be seen by them as rubbing up against them.

I don't know that we can ever really be sure how they intrepret our behavior. All we can do is do things we know makes them happy and hope they understand.
post #6 of 22
FRANKLY, the more I read that is written by behaviorists, feline AND human, the happier I am not to BE one. They are so over-cautious about interpreting observations taht they cannot see their own HANDS IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES.

(explanation for rant: my human daughter was recently diagnosed as having very mild autism. Some of the OUTLANDISH claims made by psychs about emotional and intellectual deficiencies in these kids are absolutely ... &^%# outrageous). Not just for MY kid, but for ALL autistic kids and adults. Okay -- rant OVER.

I agree w/ Gingersmom -- I had one cat who ONLY tolerated verbal affection from me. But man, she SURE appreciated that. Look for the "slow blink," in response. I have another who KNEADS THE AIR in response to acknowledging his presence. They are all different and all show love (and not just HUNGER) in MANY, MANY ways! And they EXPECT US to show love in many different ways, in return!
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
BTW, not debating, but my cats each show affection in different ways, and the only one that head butts me is Ferris. Ginger gives my fingers kitty kisses every single morning, and Penny snuggles up against me when she's in a cuddly mood.
I agree that each of my cats show it differently. Tosh is my only one that butts his head against me as a sign of affection. Oreo does tons and tons of licking (she has a lick fetish) and Snickers will come and ask to be pet and purr up a storm. When Marbles was still with us he would come and knead my stomach and purr and purr.
I agree that we all know our own cats and know what works for them. Besides taking care of their needs I will also give them what I call "Googly eyes". It is what the cats do when they look at you through half closed eyes , open them a little and close them again. I had read a long time ago that that was one way cats show that they love and trust another animal. Anyway, my cats all love it when I do and respond to it.
post #8 of 22
And maybe keep in mind that cats' idea of 'luv' is not ours. Maybe they have no concept of such a thing and don't need or miss it, only the comfy things they do like around the house (after food and play, of course). I've thought about this, and sometimes it seems to me that when I am trying to tell or show them that I love them, they just confuse it with feeding time and will never understand because they don't care about love. Friendship maybe, slave-master status maybe, landlord for sure, sex machines probably, and poor starving creature always, but love? I'm not trying to be cynical, and love my babies always, but whether they care, or get it, or have any concept of giving back (as opposed to scent-marking us as their slaves) does anyone know?
post #9 of 22
Hmm...I always thought my baby knew I loved her b/c we have our morning and evening kissy huggy time - that she gets mad about if we miss it! It's our mutual affection time. I also brush her and she loves it seems to think it is a gift I give to her.

I wish ppl were as easy to please as my cat most times.
post #10 of 22
You can "reciprocate" her head butts with your hand or cheek against the side of her face. She should butt back.

Also, listen to the people above: Take care of her; provide a constant, comfortable environment. A cat loves dependability like this; they are creatures of habit, and new things make them uneasy. I'm not sure whether the cat feels love or just comfort; but it certainly makes the cat feel good, so the distinctions aren't all that important.

Cats do feel "love", in their own way. Unlike humans, cats are solitary hunters, not social animals; but they do feel attachment to you. Cats are quite concrete when it comes to relationships: Food, grooming, and a good environment are the language of their love. They come to depend on someone whom they can predict.
post #11 of 22
I pet all my kitties, talk to them, scratch their chins and cuddle up with them. I kiss them every day and tell them I love them.

Luke loves to be brushed, so I show him love by talking to him and brushing him. I rub his belly, because he tolerates it. I show Pooch love by playing with him (which means playing fetch with him with a pipe cleaner - his favorite toy). I show Kelly love by talking to her. She coos and meows back when I talk to her, every time.

The most important part of showing your cats you love them is by talking to them affectionately. Although they might not understand the words, they can understand the tone. Whenever a big event happens, I always tell them about it, even if they might not understand it. I view them as part of my family and like to inform them about what's going on.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4meezers3kids View Post
FRANKLY, the more I read that is written by behaviorists, feline AND human, the happier I am not to BE one. They are so over-cautious about interpreting observations taht they cannot see their own HANDS IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES.

(explanation for rant: my human daughter was recently diagnosed as having very mild autism. Some of the OUTLANDISH claims made by psychs about emotional and intellectual deficiencies in these kids are absolutely ... &^%# outrageous). Not just for MY kid, but for ALL autistic kids and adults. Okay -- rant OVER.

I agree w/ Gingersmom -- I had one cat who ONLY tolerated verbal affection from me. But man, she SURE appreciated that. Look for the "slow blink," in response. I have another who KNEADS THE AIR in response to acknowledging his presence. They are all different and all show love (and not just HUNGER) in MANY, MANY ways! And they EXPECT US to show love in many different ways, in return!
Petunia is the one who shows the most affection with me through verbal conversation, she enjoys following me around the house as I clean, etc and will talk my ear off if I let her. That is the way her and I spend time together, just talking Barkley on the other hand craves rubs and picking him up and letting him rest on your shoulder or lap while he looks out a window. He will also come up to me and stretch his head up which in turn prompts me to bend down (if I am sitting at the time) and our noses will touch, he likes to give his own brand of kisses and they are the sweetest in the world!! If I had to state who is more "affectionate" I would outrightly say Barkley but when Petunia wants to be super affectionate she can be too. Her finger kisses in the morning after I bid her a "Good Morning" are wonderful and a big part of our relationship. Their temperaments are completely different too (dont know if that has anything to do with how affectionate they are or arent).
post #13 of 22
I'm not totally convinced that a cat blinking slowly at you is a sign of affection... My mother's cat has done this a few times to me and I went to pet her she promptly clawed me. I personally feel like it's done more because a cat is tired or comfortable.

Switching gears...one of my babies shows her affection at 3 am when she cuddles up next to my ear on my pillow and purrs and kneeds dough on my neck. My other baby shows affection by licking me a lot, sleeping against my legs at night and following me around the house.
post #14 of 22
I believe when a cat follows you and purrs when rubbing against you are signs of love.
Kunalen&Nacho
post #15 of 22
I have found that different cats show different signs of affection. I know Dinah will sleep with me all night long, and only gets on my bed when I am in it, otherwise she sleeps somewhere where she can see what I am doing. She will sit by the door about the time I come home from worrk every night so she is there waiting for me. From there she will follow me around the house just to see what I am up to. I call it the figure 8, she will bob back and forth around my ankles while I am trying to do something to get some attention, and if I go in a room and close the door, and leave her in the other room, she will call me and cry till I let her in. Each cat has a very specific way they show thier affection. Mine shows it by being my shadow! I have also found that male cats are often more affectionate in the touchy feely sense. Hope you find a way to communicate with your kittie! Watch the little things she does, she is telling you! Just listen!
post #16 of 22
CATS UNDERSTAND AFFECTION!!

That being a firmly established fact beyond all disupte, , you can show your cat affection two ways: human ways and feline ways. And I'm convinced they understand human ways as well as feline ways. For the feline ways, just do what your cats do to you that you interpret as affection: head butts, side rubbing, blinkies, nose bumps, whatever. I do all that with my cats; I do back to the cat what the cat does to me, and they understand it and they love it.
post #17 of 22
I show Popsie love by petting him, talking, and giving him smooches. He most often responds by butting me, rubbing all over me or kneeding. Oh, he gives me squinty eyes a lot too. I also give him attention when he's not asking for it. Like if he's sleeping I'll go over and pet him. He likes that.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by auchick View Post
I'm not totally convinced that a cat blinking slowly at you is a sign of affection... My mother's cat has done this a few times to me and I went to pet her she promptly clawed me. I personally feel like it's done more because a cat is tired or comfortable.
What about winking? I know Petunia winks at me all the time when I talk to her and I see it as a sign that she is being affectionate, like she appreciates the fact that Im talking to her and spending time with her. Barkley blinks too but doesnt wink as much as Petunia. Ive always wondered the meaning behind that action.
post #19 of 22
If I blow smoochies at my kitties, they lick their lips or move their mouths otherwise, in imitation! With blinky eyes.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4meezers3kids View Post
If I blow smoochies at my kitties, they lick their lips or move their mouths otherwise, in imitation! With blinky eyes.
Barkley does the same thing, I love it!
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
CATS UNDERSTAND AFFECTION!!

That being a firmly established fact beyond all disupte, , you can show your cat affection two ways: human ways and feline ways. And I'm convinced they understand human ways as well as feline ways. For the feline ways, just do what your cats do to you that you interpret as affection: head butts, side rubbing, blinkies, nose bumps, whatever. I do all that with my cats; I do back to the cat what the cat does to me, and they understand it and they love it.



I can't believe this is even being debated.
I give my babies so much love and affection and they give just as much back to me in kitty ways and in human ways.
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4meezers3kids View Post
FRANKLY, the more I read that is written by behaviorists, feline AND human, the happier I am not to BE one. They are so over-cautious about interpreting observations taht they cannot see their own HANDS IN FRONT OF THEIR FACES.

(explanation for rant: my human daughter was recently diagnosed as having very mild autism. Some of the OUTLANDISH claims made by psychs about emotional and intellectual deficiencies in these kids are absolutely ... &^%# outrageous). Not just for MY kid, but for ALL autistic kids and adults. Okay -- rant OVER.

I agree w/ Gingersmom -- I had one cat who ONLY tolerated verbal affection from me. But man, she SURE appreciated that. Look for the "slow blink," in response. I have another who KNEADS THE AIR in response to acknowledging his presence. They are all different and all show love (and not just HUNGER) in MANY, MANY ways! And they EXPECT US to show love in many different ways, in return!
You're right about your daughter. I have mild autism, too (Asperger Syndrome) and I can certainly love people! It's more concrete and logical than warm-and-fuzzy; but when I love somebody, I'll do anything that will help them. Literally.

It's been said that all cats have Asperger's... I think it's true. Being natural introverts, focused on the material rather than the emotional and interpersonal, we often prefer contact in our own ways, at our own speed. Just like cats, we notice everything, get bothered by little things, and, yes, love people in our own way.

Maybe that's why I like cats so much.
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