23 Signs That Your Cat Loves You

Wondering how cats show affection? We've put together a quick list of all the wonderful ways in which cats show us that they love us!

Experienced cat owners can easily tell what their cat's body language and gestures mean. They know when Kitty is angry, hungry, sad, or happy, and they can tell when he or she is doting all over them, sending a crystal clear message of love.

However, if you're new to cats, you may be wondering what the exact telltale signs that your cat loves you are? We asked our experienced cat owners on the forums what they thought and put together a comprehensive list based on what they told us.

Before we begin, a couple of things to keep in mind -

1. Different cats have different personalities.

Some are extroverts, openly showing their feelings and needs. Others are shy and sometimes even timid.

They can be just as loving, and they need their owners just as much, but they may have a harder time expressing that. If that's the case with your cat, please read this article: 10 Tips For Living With A Shy Cat.

2. It takes time to create a loving relationship.

If you've only recently adopted a cat, you may need to give him or her more time to learn how to fully open up and trust you enough to show her/his feelings.

Take a moment to read this article: How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home.

And now, without further ado.

Cat and girl nose to nose. Tenderness, love, friendship. Sweet and loving picture of friendship and child cat, 23 Signs That Your Cat Loves You

Portrait of a small cute child with a bald head that embraces with tenderness and love a red cat and smiles with happiness

Portrait of young woman holding cute siberian cat with green eyes. Female hugging her cute long hair kitty. Background, copy space, close up. Adorable domestic pet concept.

Sweet Kitten taking a nap

1. Purring at you

If your cat purrs while you're petting or stroking her, that's a great sign! Purring is one of the best-known ways for cats to show affection.

Purring is one of the primary ways in which kittens communicate with the mother cat, and it's a sign that they feel safe in her presence. Do keep in mind that when cats feel vulnerable or even in pain, they may purr as well.

TCS member @jellycatfish says about her cat Happy: "He often starts to purr loudly when he watches my boyfriend and me from his window spot and his scratching post."

Did you know some people meditate to the sound of cat purrs? You can click play and keep on reading to that sweet sound!

2. Approaching you for interaction

Cats stay away from anything that scares them. That includes humans.

When working with a feral or traumatized cat, one of the first signs of trust is simply that the cat allows you to come nearer. When the cat approaches you, now that's a sign of trust and fondness.

TCS member @lovefive says: "Martha makes me happy by coming up to me for fuss."

3. Wanting to be in your lap

Cat wanting to be in humans lap

When you're fortunate enough to have a feline snuggle up to you and take their place in your lap, that means they enjoy the closeness and feel safe in your arms.

Not every cat is a lap cat, though. Don't think Kitty doesn't love you if they prefer to spend time in the same room as you!

TCS member @Losna says about her cat Sinbad: "He jumps up to sit with me and snuggle when I sit down."


4. Headbutting against your hands and face

Cats have special glands on their face and neck that secrete an odorless substance called pheromones. When rubbing against your hands, they are marking you with their pheromones as part of their family. But there's more to this than chemical signals.

Undoubtedly, when a cat rubs against a person, they're also showing just how much they love their human.

TCS member @caitini says: "Pierre smooshes his face all over me. I only have to stick my hand out and he's there spreading his face pheromones all over it!"

TCS member @Lyrajean adds: "Aya is definitely an expert head-butter. Sometimes she gives me the "stealth" or "drive-by" head butts."

5. Asking to be petted or even lifted

Cat asking to be lifted

As you get to know your cat, you'll soon know when they're asking you to be petted. Some cats do this by meowing.

Others may tap you gently on your hand. "Pet me" is a clear sign of a beautiful bond between the two of you.

To be carried around in the arms of a human takes a lot of trust. Most cats prefer to avoid being lifted in the air, so if your kitty wants to be lifted and held, consider yourself very lucky!

TCS member @sarthur2 says: "One of my cats stands fully upright on his back legs and puts his front paws on me to be picked up. Since he's huge, it's like a small child wanting to be lifted and held!"

And again, some cats don't like being held in a human's arms, though, so please respect your cat's boundaries.

6. Squinting eyes when looking at you

Slowly shutting their eyes and opening them again is a sign of trust for cats. Try slowly squinting your eyes at Kitty; she or he will likely return the gesture.

You can even do that with a feral cat, at a distance. It feels pretty amazing to be able to "speak Cat" like that!

TCS member @Sirentist says about her cat Isabel: "Often after a few exchanges of blinks she'll come over to me and let me give her a few pets."

cat squinting eyes to show love

7. Wanting to share your bed

Human shares bed with cat

In a poll on our cat forums, we found out that 88% of TCS members share their beds with cats. Sure, at some level, they could be seeking warmth and a sense of security, but as anyone who has ever shared a bed with a feline will tell you - they're there because they love you and want to be near you all the time.
(And if your cat wakes you up at night - check out this article.)

TCS member @jcat said: "Every cat we've had has slept in bed with us, from kittenhood to old age."

TCS member @foxxycat says: "Honeybee sleeps right on top of me. Floey next to me and Pumpkin face next to me."

8. Kneading you with their paws

Cat kneadingKneading is one of the first behaviors that kittens display. Newborn kittens, blind and deaf, massage the teats as they suckle to promote the production of milk.

When your cat kneads you, they say, "you're my Meowmy!".

TCS member @RickR says: "Archie wakes me up each morning at 6am by kneading my back and rubbing his head on my face."

Read more: Why Do Cats Knead

9. Moving paws as if kneading

It doesn't have to be actual kneading. Have you ever seen your cat stand or lie down at a distance, looking at you (usually while squinting), purring along and moving their paws gently, as it kneading? That's a reflection of the same kitten-mother loving behavior again.

TCS member @StefanZ says about his cats: "When you come in and they want to greet you they open and close their paw - it's sort of a mini version of kneading..."

10. "Helping" you work and study

When you love somebody, you want to be with them.

Always and everywhere! And when they're busy doing something - you want to help out! That goes for curious cats and kittens too.

TCS member @Sirentist says about her cat Isabel: "If I'm working on a project at the table, she'll often come to deposit herself in the middle of it, or just to one side."

Take a look at these kitties: Amazing Photos The 31 Most Helpful Cats You've Ever Seen

11. Keeping the tail high up in the air when walking around you

You could say this is the feline version of "I'm thrilled to see you!"

TCS member @PHarber-Murphy says: "My favorite is seeing their little tails go up in the air like a flag waving hello whenever I walk through the door. I know they're thrilled to see me, and I'm thrilled to see them."

12. Chirping at you

Cats chirp at things they want to be near. You might find your cat chirping and chattering against the window when they see a bird outside.

Granted, that doesn't exactly mean that they wish to befriend said bird, but the chirp indicates a want - and need - to get closer. And when directed at their owner, it's a sign of love.

TCS member @Columbine says: "Asha runs towards me chirping like crazy when I get home!"

13. Rubbing against your ankles

Cat rubbing body on human's ankle

We mentioned headbutting earlier, and now it's time to list the "stand up version" of the same behavior.

This is a common expression of love with cats that may not feel comfortable being picked up. Show love back, talk to your cat, and reach down to pet them when they're rubbing against your ankles.

TCS member @Losna says: "Sinbad comes running to me to rub around my ankles."

14. Showing his/her belly

Cat shows belly for human to see

The abdomen is a vulnerable area in a cat's body. When they roll back to show you that adorable belly, it means they fully trust you.

Some cats may even feel comfortable with letting their beloved human pet and scratch the belly.

If that's the case with your kitty, consider yourself lucky!

Many other cats will expose their belly but respond with biting and scratching should you reach out and try to touch that velvety tummy.

TCS member @Banana Queen says her cats like "Rolling onto their backs for a tummy rub when I approach."

 15. Licking and grooming you

Mutual grooming is a sign of cats feeling very close to one another. Licking each other, they strengthen the bond and become closer. Some people even believe that petting our cats creates an effect similar to a huge tongue over their bodies.

Which may remind a cat of how the mother cat used to lick them when they were kittens.

When a cat reciprocates to your petting by licking your hand, that's a sign of affection.

TCS member @MServant says : "Mouse likes licking my face or hair esp while I'm stroking him so it's almost like mutual grooming. Mouse likes to tidy up my eyebrows that way."

Mutual grooming cats
Cats groom each other to show trust and love

16. Talking by meowing at you

Some cats are more talkative than others, but most will at least occasionally meow at their owner. Studies show that over time, most owners learn how to interpret the various "cat words."

Being able to communicate is a clear sign of an excellent loving bond!

TCS member @Jalindal says: "Mackerel responds at the spots in the conversation you'd expect her to, and with the tone that you'd expect, as well."

17. Yawning and stretching when they see you

Cat yawns when sees owner

Cats yawn and stretch when they wake up from a nap. If you see them doing this when you enter the room, that usually means they've woken to greet you. Because they love you, you know.

TCS member @StefanZ says: "My resident cats Muskis and Vagis often yawn and stretch when I enter the room they are in. I guess it means they feel comfortable and friendly with me, and are telling me that. They also often greet each other this way."

18. Bringing you gifts

Cats that are allowed outdoors sometimes bring their humans gifts in the form of prey (alive or dead). Some cats bring their owners toys, and a select few even learn how to play fetch!

19. Sitting by the door when you're about to go out

Most cats take the main entrance very seriously. It's that magical portal where their beloved human sometimes disappears.

No wonder they like hanging around there when it's about to happen. Just make sure that your cat never makes a dash for it to follow you through.

TCS member @Plan says about his Buddy : "He's literally parking himself by the front door when I leave the house, and staying there until I come back. I've had people over and when I've run out quickly, like to grab something from the store, they've told me Bud stays by the door the whole time instead of just hearing me approaching and coming to the door."

20. Following you everywhere

Some people think only dogs follow their owners around. Well, some cats are just like that. They'll follow their human from room to room, always checking to see what's going on.

TCS member @Columbine says: "Asha runs towards me chirping like crazy when I get home. She wants to be with me everywhere."

Cat following owner

21. And we mean everywhere. Including the bathroom!

You could try keeping Kitty out when you go into the bathroom. Good luck with listening to their urgent calls and dealing with claw marks on your door *wink* Or you could just do what most of us do - and let them inside to share the moment.

TCS member @stephanietx says about her cat Emmie: "She follows me to the bathroom and lays on the floor between my feet."

22. Giving you love bites

Cat giving love bites to humans fingers

Gentle bites without drawing blood or showing any signs of aggression are known as "love bites." And some cats regularly apply them as a sign of love and affection.

Read more here about cat love bites.

TCS member @RickR says about his cat Lucy: "She likes to pull one or more of my fingers into her mouth and gently lick and nibble."

23. Nursing you when you're sick

We're wrapping up the list with this exceptional way in which cats show us love and kindness when we need it the most.

Cat owners who are bedridden - even for a few hours - often see how their cats come around them, sharing closeness and pampering them with purrs. Now, that's true love!

TCS member @StefanZ says: "When you get sick with something, maybe rheumatism or a cold, you may notice the cat lying with you, giving you warmth and comfort."

Share the love with your cat

And don't worry if your cat doesn't show each and every one of these 23 signs. Not all do. Cats - just like people - are individuals with their unique ways of showing love.

Enjoy that special bond, and don't forget to reciprocate by taking good care of your feline friend and showing them just how much you love them!

Leave us a comment to let us know in which way your cat shows you that they love you!


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41 comments on “23 Signs That Your Cat Loves You

What might a cat want for its birthday? October 25, 2023
Maravilloso este blog. Me hace recordar esta sugerencia. Me hace recordar este artículo.
blue January 16, 2023
My cat sleeps with me almost every night - inbetween my legs or against / on my feet. She also does the absolutely adorable tail up against me as she walks past. She’s a very chatty girl and often waits at the bottom of the steps and calls for me to come down if she wants to hangout downstairs.
catloverfromwayback November 5, 2022
Daisy and Phoebe do all these things except asking to be picked up. I’m usually sitting or lying down indoors, so they don’t need to, they just leap up!
honeys mama May 1, 2022
ohmygosh! I thought I would hear honey chirp but i just thought it was her personal purring sound but i had no idea it was an sound of love and affection!😫 that is most adorable thing i had ever heard she sounds sooo cuuute! and i thought she didnt really like me because ive been losing patience with her a little because she loves to walk on the table when im fixing my food and she likes to always sit next to the sink when im at it. i guess she just wants to see what im up to❤️ shes just entering the teenager faze too so i have 6 more months of hyper episodes and funny memories. im gonna focus and cherish her youth now and make sure i can keep her in excellent condition so hopefully i leave this earth before she does🙂💕
Morehappawness March 30, 2022
Thanks for sharing this, I hope they can get even more information as time goes on.
Geekchic36 January 28, 2022
My kitten Ollie loves being cuddled in my arms and usually falls asleep.
Got Omnia January 24, 2022
Even though my cat shows no affection toward me, but when I travel for a week and come back, he keeps wandering my legs :D
merstockgto March 18, 2020
We presently have 4 fur babies and Sox (former feral) we trapped in Jul 2011 in Fl. Sox and 4 others traveled 2600 mi across country in our move out west that year. Now almost 9 yrs later Sox will roll on her side/back and expose her soft tummy. When I talk to Sox she will purr up a storm, her claws will either knead or just see her claws moving in out like she is kneading. Sox was really wild when we got her and was terrified of any human but she has adapted so well being an indoor baby and gets along so well w/ our others. Sox is so content and happy and is just like our others except she still will not let us pick her up or touch her but is Not Aggressive. When we need to take her to our vet Sox does not make it easy as we have to chase her down to get her in the carrier. We shut all of the doors except the office and try and corral her in there w/ the carrier and corral her in it. Can take an hour sometimes and we get lucky sometimes and take less time. I make an attempt to touch her she just looks at me funny with no aggression. Sox was about 2 to 3 yr old when we trapped her and feel very fortunate she has done very well w/ us and is part of our family.
KittyMamaTeri March 18, 2020
Late one night, last week, I heard growling in the living room. I rushed in, thinking it was the start of a fight, and found Checkers, one of my orange tabbies, grasping a live gopher in his teeth. He was warning off Blaize, who was getting too close. I started screaming, "Get out, GET OUT!!!" Although I understand and respect their instinct to hunt, I just hate to see the poor victims suffering. My husband told me the "Pride" had been watching that gopher-hole for a week. It took me 10 minutes to herd him to the cat-door with his prize, freaking out the whole time. I applaud his hunting skills, but I felt really bad about screaming at him. He forgave me after we let him back in for breakfast, the following morning...he's really sweet that way.
geodevos March 17, 2020
My little 4 pound sweetheart Inkee came and went as she pleased by her pet door and often woke me with live rodents to share. I always got up and dispatched them after which Inkee ate them. I'm absolutely certain she thought we were sharing. Cats relative strength is amazing. Once, little Inkee dragged a live rat almost half her size through her pet door which was 5 feet off the ground. We really enjoyed sharing that one although one of us was quietly freaked out by it. I remember you Inkeecat. I miss sharing those delicious mice with you.
    Teri Marcum March 18, 2020
    merstockgto March 18, 2020
    Our Mommy who passed in 2005 before we took them in, brought a live mouse to the screen door. It was not dead but traumatized and after it came to we took it to an empty lot across the street and let it go. It is their way of saying, look what I got Mom.
jisaacson214 February 29, 2020
My Grembly came to me at 4 mths old. She likes to nuzzle my neck & licks/attempts to suckle at times while kneading. It’s a really weird feeling but sweet nonetheless.
StefanZ February 28, 2020
My residents tends to run and scratch their scratching post, when happy. For example us coming home. It was most visible with the first resident, but the others do it too... And as there is several generations between the first and the second pair, they couldnt learnt this from each other.
+Jeffrey+ February 17, 2020
My dear Lady G. did all of those, except allow belly rubs. :P She knew shew was dearly loved too. I showed her, and told her I loved her all the time. Cherish each moment you have with your precious little friends.
    Glyn March 14, 2023
    Your LadyG and my Margo are exactly alike They bring SO much joy to our worlds, and you are so right: understand your furperson, appreciate her with interactive play and unconditional love, and you've a best friend for life, even when inevitably they will start another at Rainbow Ridge, they will be in your heart forever.
kittypa February 11, 2020
Another thing they do is a scratcher celebration when you come home. I had one cat who would run out to my car when I came home from work and scratch the tires like crazy.
Katie M February 8, 2020
Selene jumped into my lap while I was reading this, and started licking my neck :)
Chestnutquisha March 8, 2019
My baby does all of these, except for kneading me. Squeaks is my heart & soul, I know she loves me. She's with me all the time, if I'm sitting on the couch; she's there. When I'm sleeping, she's laying with me. When I had pneumonia she always checked on me or laid with me but I pushed her away cause I was scared I would get her sick too. She purrs when I pet her, but doesn't when my husband pets her. Weirdly lightly bites my chin when im yelling maybe to shut me up or calm me down. Paws at my face gently when I'm sleeping so she can get under the covers or to lay near my chest or neck/head. Head boops me while we sleep together. It's a mutual love, she knows I love her & I know she loves me. My sisters always say that I raise the best cats.
    wily1 February 24, 2020
    My cat Tim does most of what is on that list.
GreyLady February 14, 2019
JMJimmy said:
12. Chirping at you This one isn't exactly "love" - it's actually excitement.  It could be excitement that food is coming, their favourite toy comes out, or that the person they love has come home but it doesn't actually express love or affection. 
I think chirping can indicate your relationship has gotten to a certain level though. Cats wont chirp to play with anyone. After Noodle came out of her shell she started chirping to play a lot and I took it as a sign of her wanting to play with me.
GreyLady February 14, 2019
Another cute thing they do is "nose boops" or nose sniffs... when I walk up to Noodle when she's at eye level in her cat tree she will sniff my nose and face like I'm another kitty. Which of course I encourage. I do this with grey cat too, but I have to bend down to meet him. It's so cute.
magick2828 November 9, 2018
crack the dwarf said:
In spite of the fact that my (now ex) husband left me at 2 months pregnant, Mercutio knew what to do! Having never been a cat who wanted to camp out and sleep on top of me, assumed his trusty post every night of my pregnancy (long before I had an appealing preggo belly for him to perch on) by planting himself on my tummy and sleeping there through the night. If I needed to shift or move, he would hop off til I was settled and return to my stomach for slumber. So as for 25, definitely, kitties can even help you incubate, apparently, hehe.
I agree! My sam layed flat against my belly everynight, meowing when i rolled over as if to say.. how dare you move mom, i was comfy... he would immediately get up and go to the other side and lay against my tummy. When i went into labour, he stood flat against my tummy when i was laying in bed growling, hissing and batting at all who tried to get near me.
magick2828 November 9, 2018
tml1991 said:
My Little Lion did every single one of these. I miss her so much.
As did my sammy.. it was sam but we called him sammy sammich because he loved eating sandwhiches from the bottom while i ate them normally from the top! I know that pain! I as you feel it every day. One of my two cats does about 3/4 of these and my other the same in different ways but theres still a void where sam should be
Father of furbabies April 24, 2018
Our big boy, Shade, runs to the living room window when he hears our van as he knows I'm coming home from work then he greets me at the door while his sis sits on a nearby perch and chirps at me after I close the door. Both of them walk in front of me with tails held high and usually hangout in the bathroom with me. They occasionally checkout the shower as I take one but the cutest is when we settle in bed for the night. Shade comes in and kicks the dog off the bed then takes it's place between my wife and me on the foot of the bed to spend the night with us.
lizzie356 March 20, 2017
My Toby adores his dad.  He hears the car coming long before I do and he rushes outside and goes and sits on the wall where he parks his car.   Then my hubs can hardly walk because Toby walks just in front of you and constantly rubbing your feet with his head while you are trying to get inside.   I have the same reaction when I walk down the passage to the kitchen;  Toby walking slowly right in front of me rubbing my feet vigorously.   When I go to the toilet I drop my slax and Toby immediately climbs into them and makes himself comfortable while I do whatever one does on the toilet.   Then I go to the hand basin after much encouragement to get Toby out of my slax and of course he jumps straight into the basin making it difficult for me to wash my hands.   He likes to play with the water.   He does prefer my husband to me though and that bothers me a little because I'm the one who feeds him.   But I have to admit Toby is a huge boy and my lap is rather small compared to my husband.   If he feels like it he will jump onto my lap and knead my boobs, his way of saying I do love you.
Margret March 11, 2017
Number 23.  When I go to the bathroom Jasmine not only follows me in but wants to sit on my lap while I pee.  Hey, a lap is a lap!  Who cares what's happening underneath the lap; it's nice and dry on top!
tml1991 March 11, 2017
My Little Lion did every single one of these. I miss her so much.
lamis2004 March 4, 2017
I have 3 cats [emoji]128049[/emoji] Zeus,luau,Hugo,Hugo.they are all shirazi persian or more like the mum is a tabby the dad is a persian.
segelkatt March 2, 2017
My foster cat Patrick chirps at me when I come near him after I put his food down and he has not yet decided if he will eat or not. He is a very shy and wary cat so I think this is a sound of anxiety with him. He always acts as if he were afraid that I was going to be mean to him (I think he's neurotic due to previous treatment) but then lets me pick him up and he will purr like mad.
JMJimmy February 13, 2017
12. Chirping at you This one isn't exactly "love" - it's actually excitement.  It could be excitement that food is coming, their favourite toy comes out, or that the person they love has come home but it doesn't actually express love or affection. 
pegasyss1 December 28, 2016
My kitties often bring mice or even small moles. The biggest one they brought was the size of my pointer finger and a deodarant stick.  Its so gross but I know they love me even though they rarely let me pet anything else but their head.
twinkles21 October 6, 2016
#25 is so true. When I had my gallbladder removed, I was home the same day and it's almost like my kitties knew I was hurting. I laid down and they immediately came over and cuddled up as close to the surgery site as I would let them and they started purring soooo loudly. lol
joyceshouse August 24, 2016
i knew my cats loved me!
crack the dwarf August 17, 2016
In spite of the fact that my (now ex) husband left me at 2 months pregnant, Mercutio knew what to do! Having never been a cat who wanted to camp out and sleep on top of me, assumed his trusty post every night of my pregnancy (long before I had an appealing preggo belly for him to perch on) by planting himself on my tummy and sleeping there through the night. If I needed to shift or move, he would hop off til I was settled and return to my stomach for slumber. So as for 25, definitely, kitties can even help you incubate, apparently, hehe.
leen and alice August 15, 2016
awww!! Alice loves me!
tarasgirl06 July 15, 2016
(oops) And @librarienne, you were not "seeing things" IMHO.  I have experienced this many times, with many loved ones who have crossed to the Bridge, including our beloved Rani, who just left us on 29th June at age 19 years, almost 2 months.  They know we love them so much, and their love for us is immeasurable!  Of course they are right by our sides, watching over us until we are reunited in due time.  *Deepest condolences for your loss*. 
tarasgirl06 July 15, 2016
I would add to #11 not only keeping the tail up, but shivering it.  Yes, we all know this movement from spraying cats, but my torti beauty shivers her tail "drily" at me to show me she adores me <3
SeventhHeaven July 13, 2016
Whenever I'm stumped about a situation Bo will meow to go outside, do his wiggly friendly dance (walk around balcony near neighbors doors ;) only returns when solution to my problem is found <3 he runs back all Happy!.Mr.Sunshine!..if he can't get out he and Minno did this they just refused to eat their dinner NO matter What!   Until problem is solved they can sense your stresses birds can to Very intuitive. Cats have very strong integrity it's amazing how much they truly communicate showing their love. 
poppys mum July 9, 2016
Poppy gets so excited when I get home from work, she runs up to the car meowing all the way, then gives me an ear full of meows in different tones, like she is asking where I have been all day at the same time as telling me about her day.  She then loves a big cuddle and lots of smooches (she runs her cheek along mine).  Its always so nice to come home to somecat that misses you everyday and wants all your attention immediately!
librarienne July 5, 2016
Number 25 brought tears to my eyes; when I was receiving chemo for my cancer, my beloved Manx, Mannix, would always want to curl up in the area where my port was. He was always a lovable cat (a stray), but he had never specifically headed for that area of my body to want to sleep on. I lost him June 2015, and I swear I saw him in my apartment several times later.

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