A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Does My Cat Love Me? 12 Ways Your Cat Secretly Shows Affection

Some cats are more obvious about the appreciation they have for their owners than others. Here are some ways your cat is trying to tell you that they love you.

Ginger cat portrait at home
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Loving cats

It can be hard to read your cat’s emotions sometimes. Some cats are super snugly and come to greet you every time you come home, and some keep their distance and might only show affection when they want dinner. Cat behavior expert with Rover Mikel Delgado offered Reader’s Digest the inside scoop on how cats secretly show affection. Read on to see if your grumpy cat has actually been showing you signs of love all along. If you own one of these cat breeds with the friendliest personalities, you probably experience these signs of affection every day.

sleeping kitten rare color (lilac)
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Most people know that if your cat is purring it means that they are happy. If they do it while you scratch behind their ears or while they lay on your lap it’s most likely because they are showing you affection. Purring can also be a sign of distress or a call for attention. This is why cats really purr and how you can figure out what your cat’s purr means. Make sure to avoid these dangerous mistakes that cat owners make.

Young woman wearing warm comfortable winter sweater and socks reading a magazine on bed. Her cat is sleeping next to her. Cozy morning at home. Morning, leisure, relaxation, weekend concept.

Sitting next to you

Cats secretly show affection by sitting next to you, even if they have their back turned to you and are preoccupied with looking out the window. They chose to be near you. If you do any of these things that your cat actually hates, they probably won’t be showing you any signs of affection.

Close up of cute small grey cat licking a woman's hand and falling asleep on the book. Indoors
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Sitting on your lap

When your fluffy cat comes crawling up onto your lap it can sometimes be a little too close for comfort, but they’re just trying to show you how much they care about you. Check out what the cutest cat breeds looked like as kittens.

Funny white cat top view lying on back on windowsill indoors.

Showing you their belly

If a cat rolls onto their back to show you their belly it can mean that they love you. “Although an exposed belly is the ultimate sign of trust, it is not always a sign to ‘pet here!’” warns Delgado.

Portrait of sleeping cat
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Sleeping near you

If your cat chooses to sleep on you or near you instead of out in the living room, it’s a sign of affection. It might be nice to have them curled up at the end of your bed, but that 3 a.m. wakeup call of them scratching at the door or attacking your hair isn’t so pleasant. Here are some cat facts that you probably never knew.

Domestic cat licks human finger

Grooming you

Just like cats groom themselves and other felines to care for them, they might also groom you. Their tongue probably feels like sandpaper on your skin but know that it’s out of love. Affection and trust are very important to your cat—these are the signs that your cat trusts you.

The cat rubs against the feet of the master on the porch
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Rubbing against you

If you’re a cat owner you already know that when your furry friend rubs up against your legs or nudges you with their head it means they are happy to see you and happy that you are their owner. This is why cats sleep so much.

Beautiful cat lying on the grey sofa
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Demanding attention

Cats demand attention in a lot of different ways and sometimes it can be a little disruptive. Just know that even when they scratch at you or follow you around everywhere, it just means that they are trying to show you affection (and maybe they’re trying to tell you that they want a treat, too).

Closeup of Maine Coon calico cat face with focus on bloody cut nose after fighting, with green blinking eyes
Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Slow blinking

The next time you’re close to your cat’s face, take a look at their eyes. If they are blinking slowly, it’s a sign that they feel comfortable around you and that they are trying to let you know they are grateful for you. When cats close their eyes, it is a sign of trust. If your cat hasn’t been showing signs of affection, you may want to look for these signs that your cat is secretly mad at you.

Cute funny cat near door at home
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Running up to you when you come home

This seems like more of an action that dogs take to show affections, but some cats do it too. They’re happy that you are home.

One cute mixed-breed cat standing on grass with its raised tail. Outdoors portrait of domestic cat in color image

A tail up with a slight curve at the tip

Look at your cat’s tail to see if they are giving you signals that they love you. Here’s are some other insights to help you decode your cat’s body language.

Young woman with cute funny cat at home

Touching you gently with their paw

Such a simple and adorable gesture can mean so much coming from a cat.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan Cutolo is a former senior production editor at Trusted Media Brands. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine, where she lives, and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.