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Can Cats Feel Love? Here’s What Science Says

Most of us pet owners put a lot of time and money into our cats. We constantly shower them with love, and they become a huge part of our lives. We often love our cat as much as we love other people, and we are devastated if something happens to it or it leaves us too early.

The question is, do they have the same feelings toward us? Are cats capable of loving us the way we love them? While they may demonstrate it differently, cats have their own way of communicating love, and science backs this up. Keep reading while we collect and present you with several facts and observations that can help you understand your pet better and can tell how it feels about you and others in your home.cat face divider 2

Love Hormones

Perhaps the strongest argument for proving cats can feel love comes from the scientist and author Paul Zak, who has found that cats and humans share the same love hormones. These hormones are responsible for creating the intense feelings of love that we do for our spouses and our children. Since cats have these same hormones, they likely experience something similar.

Demonstrations of Love

Cats can be quite stubborn and self-centered. They are extremely picky about their food, litter, and surroundings. They also like to shred your furniture, clothing, carpets, and curtains no matter how many scratching posts you get them and one of their favorite games seems to involve getting as much litter out of the box as possible. However, cats are capable of a wide range of emotions, and here are some ways you can tell how they feel.

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Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

Behavior Gets Worse When You’re Away Too Long

Since we just mentioned several ways that cats can be bad, many of you will notice that this behavior can get even worse when you spend a long day at the office. While many people see this as a cat seizing an opportunity, it’s much more likely that your cat misses you and is becoming frantic about your absence. Cats are extremely routine-based and will notice if you are a few minutes late. Your cat might become fearful that you are not returning, and the anxiety can cause them to misbehave by scratching up the furniture or breaking house training. If your cat is worried about you, it’s likely because it cares for you.

  • Purring

The easiest way to tell if a cat likes you is because it starts purring when you give it attention. While most cats love the attention and will purr when anyone pets them, they will not engage people they do not like or trust and will choose to run and hide instead. Therefore, while purring may not prove love, it does prove that the cat enjoys your affection. If it seeks you out frequently, the cat has likely developed strong feelings for you that you might equate to love.

  • Exposing Its Belly

If a cat exposes its belly near you, it’s a sign of extreme trust. This area of the body is vulnerable to attack and your cat will protect it at all times. It would never show its belly if there were anything nearby that it didn’t like, and there aren’t many ways your cat can send a clearer message that it trusts you with its life. Some might argue it is a sign of love.

  • Head Bunting

If your cat presses the top of its head against you, it’s doing what we call head bunting. Bunting is how the cat spreads pheromones, which mark its territory and ownership. Pheromones are a scent that cats produce that humans cannot smell. Theis scent marks their environment, so other cats know to stay away.

If your cat marks you with its pheromones and claims you as its territory, it could be a good argument that the cat loves you.

  • Gifts

You have likely heard many stories of cats that caught a mouse and left the dead carcass on the owner’s pillow or favorite chair. You will also probably notice that the cat will bring you toys and leave them by your bed while you sleep. While no one can be sure why cats do this, we know it has something to do with the person who brings the gifts. The cat’s trying to tell you something, so whether it’s giving you a treat for a change, showing you how well it’s protecting the house, or it wants to play, the reasoning behind it is that it likes you.

  • Sleep On Or Near You

Sleeping on your lap or close by you is another way your cat puts its complete trust in you. A cat is most vulnerable when it’s sleeping, even more so than when its belly is exposed. Cats often find secure places to sleep, so if it’s taking a nap on your lap, it knows you will protect it. This level of trust is a good signal that your cat has a deep feeling for you that might be a sign of love.

  • Loving Eyes

Many cat owners are aware of the slow blink that cats do. The slow blink is when the cat sits out of reach but stares at you, blinking its eyes slowly with what appears to be a content look on its face. Most experts consider this a cat kiss, and it’s one of the more profound ways your cat is expressing that it is pleased with your company.

  • Meowing

Cats don’t meow to each other in the wild, so it only does it to communicate with humans. Cats will meow to signal they want food, or their litter box cleaned, but if they are signaling you to play, it means they enjoy your company. Cats that hide behind a wall and meow to get you to play are trying to pull you away from what you are doing to get your undivided attention.

  • Comforting us when we’re sick

Many cat owners will tell you that cats can sense when you are sick and will often spend extra time near us in an attempt to nurse us back to health. Comforting us while we are sick is a strong signal that your cat has deep feelings toward you that you might compare to love.

  • Protecting us

Many owners will tell stories of how their cat warned them in times of danger, like fire or an intruder. There are also stories of cats jumping in to protect their owners from snakes, scorpions, and other dangerous animals. Putting its life on the line to protect its owners can be a strong signal that your cat loves you.

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Summary

While we have scientific proof that cats feel love, most of us already knew that from our interaction with them. While dogs usually get the credit for being affectionate, cats are every bit as loving as dogs are; they just show it in subtle ways. Dogs are pack animals, while cats are solitary hunters, and for them to spend time with us away from the hunt is pretty significant, but they do much more than that.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over our look into cat behavior and found it interesting and helpful. If you agree with us, please share our look into if cats can feel love on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured image credit: Andrew Kota, Pexels