Are cats affectionate? For many non-cat owners, the answer to this question is likely to be the classic stereotype ‘the domestic feline is an opportunist that doesn’t become attached to its owner’. However, as cat owners can testify, the reality is very different. Dr Maria Grazia Calore, veterinary surgeon and expert in pet behaviour explains.
The cat-human relationship: the signs of love
The relationship between cat and man is very similar to a real friendship in which the pair are equals. The cat will express its attachment just as it would towards another cat.
Here are some signs:
– Let’s stay near! If our cat tries to sleep near us, curls up on our legs or follows us every time we stand up, it is expressing joy at being close to us. In fact, the feline doesn’t have any ethological need to have a relationship with other individuals, so it’s their own free will that keeps them by our side.
– May I help you with grooming? When our cat licks us, especially on our hair or face just as it would do with another cat, this is a sign of feline friendship.
– Let’s do something together! Has your cat ever sat in front of your computer screen or on a book or magazine you are reading or has even knocked items off the table? It is probably communicating to you that it wants to do something together!
– Purrs and kneading are really clear signs of “feline love”. These behaviours – typical of a kitten with its mother – are signs of pure joy at being together, so don’t be surprised if your adult cats do this with you!
– I love you so much that… I should bite you!!! When cats unexpectedly switch from purrs to bites this behaviour is equivalent to when we shake a friend firmly as part of a warm embrace. Obviously, it is necessary to keep an eye out for signs of discomfort (attempts to escape, stiffening or dilated pupils) because, in this case, the biting is not a sign of friendship!
– I have a present for you! When a cat brings us its toy or even its prey, it’s taking care of us and is trying to teach us to hunt because it considers us less skilful in this activity, which, in its eyes, is extremely important.
Have you noticed some or all of these signs in your cat? Yes? You are very lucky; your beloved feline loves you in its own very special way!