Cat language can be tricky to figure out. So, how do you tell your cat that you love her? Here are some feline love cues to show them that we love and care for them.
1. Slow blinking
A cat’s regular blink is a rapid movement. Cats blink to flush out dirt or spread tears keeping the eyes hydrated. The slow blink is a different story. When your cat slowly blinks, it may look like she’s squinting. It’s subtle and can be easily overlooked.
Now, a scientific study has confirmed that the slow blink is one of the methods your cat uses to communicate with you. A slow blink is likely a visual statement of nonaggression and a way for your cat to tell you that she is trusting that you will keep her safe. Interestingly, the study also shows that you can use the slow blink to communicate with your cat. The scientists observed that cats are more likely to slow blink back at their humans after their humans initiate a slow blink at them.
How do you “slow blink” your cat to tell her that you love her? Most new cat parents make the mistake of grabbing their cats and staring into their eyes! Staring directly into your cat’s eyes is perceived as confrontational and a threat. This movement will not elicit any cat blinking. Slow blinking will only happen when both parties – you and your cat – are in a relaxed, trusting mode.
The right time to slow-blink your cat is when your cat comes to you. Relax and stay calm. Your cat picks up your energy. Look in her general direction with relaxed eyes and slowly blink. She should respond with a slow blink in turn. If she does return your gesture, you have managed to communicate your love and care for her, and she has acknowledged that she feels safe around you.
If she doesn’t return your gesture, don’t give up. Try again. It takes time to build trust especially if you are both new to each other.
2. Cat massage
Cats can benefit from massages. Massage stimulates the nerves, muscles, circulatory and lymphatic systems in cats too. This, in turn, improves circulation and helps with detox which causes inflammation and pain. On top of these health benefits, massage is a wonderful way to communicate and bond with your cat through touch. It strengthens the bond between cat and owner.
When you massage your cat, always pay close attention to your cat’s body language. If kitty is relaxed continue with what you are doing, but if your cat nips you, try another location or back off and try again another time.
Do you know that cats will groom each other as a sign of affection? This is true in all cats – big, small, wild, or domesticated. So, if your cat licks you, she is telling you she likes you. Similarly, when you groom your cat, you are telling her that you like her.
Regularly brushing your cat will also help to remove dirt, minimise shedding and stimulate blood circulation. During a grooming session, take the opportunity to check your cat for injuries or unexpected bumps. Run your hands along your pet’s abdomen to feel for strange bumps and wounds. If you noticed coat or skin problems, they may be linked to a food or environmental allergy.
For regular brushing, choose the PETKIT Large Grooming Brush. It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin and comes with a push-to-release button to remove cat fur from the brush quickly. This makes it super easy to clean and store.
4. Head butt (when your cat offers the opportunity)
Have you experienced your cat bumping its head against yours? That’s kitty headbutting you. Your cat will head butt you to deposit its pheromones, claiming you as its own. Leaving their scent around objects and you help your cat to create a colony scent, mapping their safe zones. Take pride in knowing that your cat has included you in her inner circle. Your cat wouldn’t do that if she didn’t trust you and feel safe with you.
It's not advisable to go around trying to head butt your cat but when she does offer the opportunity, take it! Return the gesture and she will love you for it.
5. Spend quality time together
Here are some ways that you can spend quality time together.
Play together. Get down on the floor and play with kitty. For busy cat parents, having an automated toy is a blessing but don’t just rely on automated toys to keep your cat happy. Try a 10-15 minute session with an interactive wand toy like Kong Window Teaser Cat Toy (Blue).
Snuggle and cuddle together. According to a 2017 study done by researchers from Oregon State and Monmouth Universities, when presented with the choice of toys, food, scent, or human interaction, most cats in the study chose human interaction over the rest. Many cats love physical touch from their humans. If your cat loves to cuddle, spend some quiet lap-cuddling time in the evening. A sure way to tell her that you enjoy her company and love having her around.
Gaze at each other. A simple gaze speaks a thousand words. Sometimes, returning your cat’s gaze from across the room is all you need to tell her that you love her.
6. Talk to her
Do you have a chatty cat? Cats tend to only meow when they want something, or they are trying to tell you something. Behaviourists believe that cats have their own series of meows, and purrs that they reserve for those special to them. Learn to read their vocal cues. It could be how your cat is showing affection. You can try mimicking the pitch and tone of kitty’s vocal cues and “talk (meow)” back. This will help reassure your cat that she is safe and loved.
Take note that cats can be extra “talkative” when they are ill or in pain. Do make sure to check that your cat is not hurt or feeling anxious if you noticed excessive “meowing”. Do not attempt to cuddle an anxious cat. Instead, try to “talk” gently to her. Giving her a catnip-filled toy like this Gingerbread Man Catnip Toy may help to reduce stress and anxiety.
7. Respect their privacy
Safety is an important part of love. One way to show your cat that you love her is to give her a safe space. Prepare hiding places around your house using cardboard boxes, a cat tree with cat condos, or even this FuzzYard Cat Cubby Sacaton Bed which can double up as a hiding hole and a cat bed. It comes complete with a removable cushion, sturdy walls, and a collapsible roof for those that like to hide away while snoozing. Collapse the roof to create a comfortable bed for your cat.
Try these steps to slowly bond with your cat. It may take time, but your cat will love you back when you make them feel safe and shower them with lots of love and affection.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and Curious Cat People’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.