Updated: Feb 17
You’re probably reading this article because you want to know if the adoration you feel towards your cats, or the street cats you give affection to is being reciprocated. Cats can be quite challenging to read, which can send many cat lovers who just want to bridge a connection scratching their heads in their failed attempts to crack the feline code. So, how exactly can you tell if a cat likes and trusts you? Here’re some good signs to look out for!
We humans like to stay clean, which comes with washing our clothes, showering and spraying on scented products. Cats, however, prefer it when their territory as well as their butlers (us) smell like them instead. They are extremely sensitive and attuned to their sense of smell and produce different scents to communicate messages and claim territories. This explains why certain scent-marking behaviours can signal how much they like you!
Rubbing their bodies against you
By rubbing their bodies against you, they’re spreading their scent and saying hello, which isn’t something they would do if they didn’t want anything to do with you! With scent glands located at their cheeks, foreheads, paws and tails, a cat rubbing themselves against you is a great sign of acceptance as doing so releases friendly pheromones and marks you as a trusted hooman.
If they rub their bodies against yours and start purring, it could be a sign of affection or a communication strategy to ask for scritches or food.
Cats have scent glands located on their foreheads, and ‘bump’ their little heads against companions they trust to show that they accept you as family. Sometimes, these cute gestures could also be employed by your cats as a means to get attention when you seem distracted, or when they need some assistance from their hoomans.
Most people also do not realise that some cats don’t really like to be stroked across their bodies and much prefer to have that attention focused on their tiny heads. Head bunting in this sense could be understood as them redirecting hooman attention to their heads and the back of their ears instead!
Affectionately termed ‘making biscuits’ by pawrents, this curious term is used to describe the kneading behaviour of a cat that makes it look like it’s kneading dough with its paws on soft surfaces such as blankets, cushions, and sometimes painfully - our laps. This is a habit developed and carried into adulthood from their kitten eras when they would knead their mother's tummies to stimulate milk production. They could also be making biscuits on your lap to activate the scent glands in their paws to mix their scent with yours.
Cats act very differently from dogs and some of their behaviours may be hard to catch. People who do not own or dislike cats often claim that cats aren’t as affectionate or friendly as dogs. Cats may not be as dependent on our attention as dogs, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t express affection and friendliness in their own way! So, how can we tell they enjoy our company and when they’re looking for hooman attention?
‘Question mark’ tails
If your cat looks relaxed and is walking around and towards you with its tail up high, curled at the tip to form a ‘question mark’, it means that they’re feeling confident and looking to spend some good quality time together! Use these chances to give em some good loving attention.
Smell my butt!
Cat owners grimace everywhere. This questionable behaviour of presenting their behinds in our faces might make you wonder if your fur friend is being a little rude, but it’s your cat’s way of saying hello, it’s me! Each cat has their unique smell and it just turns out to be most densely concentrated at its rear end…
While humans rely primarily on our sense of sight to identify our peers and surroundings, cats and dogs rely on their senses of smell! Their sense of smell is 14 times better than ours, which is why in packs and in the wild, cats present their behinds to each other to confirm their identities. So instead of taking offence the next time your cat sticks their furry nether regions in your face, remember that it’s just their way of opening up to you!
Letting their guards down
Cats are right in the middle of the food chain, being both predator and prey. In the wild, blinking as little as you can and keeping your field of vision wide is key to survival. Listed below are signs of them letting their guards down, showing that your fur friend trusts you enough!
Do you find your cat staring at you and blinking slowly, looking adorably relaxed? It’s showing you that it feels at ease in your presence and trusts you to be a safe companion. To reciprocate that you feel just as content, give some slow blinks back! Try this the next time you visit a friend’s and their cat seems cautious. Slow blinking signals to them that you’re comfortable in their presence which could encourage them to approach you.
Rolling over to expose their belly
Has your cat ever flopped over to expose their fluffy bellies and stared at you expectantly? It’s hard to resist, but you shouldn’t mistake this to be an invitation to pet their tummies as it could make them feel threatened enough to attack!
However, you should still be very honoured. Cats only reveal their extremely vulnerable stomachs to those that they truly trust. Keep your hands to yourself as reaching out to touch it could trigger a sense of anxiety in them, which might lead to your arms getting an extra few stripes! Instead, place your hand near their heads and wait to see if they reach out for some good head and neck scritches!
If your cat is curled up on you, relaxed and purring like an engine, it’s a sign that they feel safe, comfortable and happy! Purring alone doesn’t mean that your cat is necessarily happy though, as cats also purr to self soothe and heal themselves, to ask for food, and some even do so when they are annoyed. To make better sense of their purring, factor in their body language and usual behaviour. If they’re kneading and purring in a cosy spot, they’re probably ready for some cuddle time!
Meowing? All cats meow. How do we tell when it’s done to get our love and attention? Kittens meow to get the attention of their mothers when they’re cold or hungry, but stop meowing to each other as they become adults - except for when it’s to communicate with humans! As a matter of fact, their meows evolved to sound more appealing to us like a kitten’s.
If you find your cat meowing at you despite being well fed and not looking for help, and looking relaxed and staying intently closely, they could be meowing purely to converse with you! Now isn’t that adorable?
Has your cat shown you these signs or do they have their own unique ways of showing affection? Share them with us! No two cats are the same and they can sometimes be extremely subtle about what they enjoy, so take note of the small behaviours we’ve listed and you’ll soon find yourself starting to perceive those little I like yous! From places they love being scratched, how they like to be approached, and what they enjoy eating, here’s to your journey of winning over a kitty’s heart!