It’s not always easy to interpret a cat’s behavior, so it can be even harder to figure out if she really trusts you or not. Luckily, there are a few signs you can look for to see if your love for your pet is mutual.
Humans and animals perceive trust differently, says Vicki Stevens, senior marketing communications manager for companion animals at the Humane Society of the United States. Pets rely on routines to feel comfortable and happy. So the best way to build a trusting relationship with your cat is to turn boring routines into positive interactions. It’s also important that you trust the brands you use. These are the most trusted brands in America.
1. He counts on your routines
Try this trick from Stevens: If your cat gets particularly squeamish when you try to trim his nails, offer him a treat in the kitchen when you’re done. Soon, every time you cut his nails, he’ll become more tolerant and head straight for the kitchen when you’re done. Once he’s conditioned to expect this routine, he’ll trust you’ll come through on your end of the arrangement every time. This same method can be used for meals and grooming too.
2. She kneads into you
If your cat kneads you, it’s a sign that she needs—and trusts—you. Kittens do similar rubbing and pushing to their mothers as a grooming trick. So your cat could see you as a maternal figure. Unfortunately, sharp claws make this sign of affection painful for human owners.
3. He responds to “cat kisses”
Cats engage in a lot of nonverbal communication, especially with their eyes. According to Anitra Frazier’s book, The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care, a cat kiss is “a long, slow blink with your gaze and attention fixed on the cat’s eyes before, during, and after the blink.” If your cat reciprocates, he’s showing you that he trusts and loves you. To send even more affection his way, think “I love you” while you make your cat kiss.
4. She rolls onto her back
Your cat’s belly is a particularly tender spot. Stevens says that if she rolls onto her back and exposes her belly, she’s telling you she’s comfortable being around you. This can also be a sign that she feels protected when you’re near, since being on her back is a defenseless position.