Signs of Affection From Your Cat

My cat, Charlie, likes to hold my hand as a sign of affection. Does your cat do something that you consider to be a sign of affection other than rubbing against you and licking you?

This is a bit of fun with a tiny dash of seriousness to ponder on. Without any training, my cat, Charlie, through his actions, tells me that he likes to hold my hand. It is nothing spectacular by the standards of cat-video-spectaculars. It is actually very unspectacular. It is nice though – for both of us; a little bit of bonding.

Charles first indicated to me that he liked to do this when I was resting my hand on the duvet and he put his hand on mine. The beginning of this happy routine was instigated by him. It is a habit now. All I have to do is put my hand out and he’ll hold it. Well, he is not exactly holding it but I hope you’ll accept a bit of poetic license. It is a near as a cat can get to holding a human’s hand.

I take it as a clear sign of affection. He likes to be in contact with me. This is flesh to flesh – “pressing flesh” as the saying goes for human handshaking.

Sometimes when I pull my hand away he’ll keep hold of it. He doesn’t use his claws. He just grips me with his toes.

A lot of the time a cat’s owner instigates the signs of affection. Their cat is the recipient. It isn’t always that way. Cats often lick their human companion. Mine does.  And Charlie comes to me when I bang on the bed 😉 That is a type of training, I’ll admit. However, he likes to come to me. His behavior is reciprocated. He’ll ask for food and I’ll leap into action.

Cats often rub against us, which is the classic sign of affection and a scent exchange procedure. That and licking are probably the most common but, I am sure that, holding hands is less often seen.

However, occasionally, you will see it, cat-to-cat, as is shown by Dorothy’s Marvin touching/holding hands with his friend Daisy:

Cat and dog hold hands

Cat and dog hold hands. Photo by Dorothy

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Signs of Affection From Your Cat — 32 Comments

  1. That’s so cute! Abby does something similar if I’m sitting near her. If I’m at the desk and she wants affection, she’ll come over to the chair, look up and wait. If I acknowledge her, she gets excited and touches my hand or taps my leg. If I don’t acknowledge her, she’ll sit on her hind legs and reach up to me and gently tap me and mew softly. What’s even funnier is when the little shelf is extended (between the desktop and the 1st drawer), Abby will get on the nearby TV stand and jump over to the extended shelf and start purring whilst touching my arm. If I’m in bed and she wants affection, she’ll jump up on the bed (no easy feat since it’s very high and she’s 17 pounds!), then she’ll come over to the pillow and lick my face, especially my nose, LOL! If she’s hungry, she just meows very loudly…no mistaking what that meow means!

    • You have very nice communication. This comes partly because you are very receptive to Abby’s communication and signs of affection. When cats know they trust a person and receive responses from that person it opens up and encourages communication.

      • Thank you, Michael. Abby is just a sweetheart. Another thing she does is when I’m using the loo, she’ll jump up on the sink for me to turn on the water. As she’s drinking from the tap (her back to me), she wraps her tail around my arm. It’s just so sweet!

        • Gail, my Shrmpie likes to to the loo with me as well, and if the door is shut, he reaches underneath it, grabs the mat and pulls it until i let him in. He is insistent on watching the toilet flush…it is so cute! nxt thing I’m thinking about is, should I teach him to flush? does he want to do what we humans do, and use the toilet? 🙂

          • I think I’ll do a page on that – cat goes to loo with me 😉 It is not uncommon. Cute. There is a lot of interesting things in a loo for a cat especially when a person is using it.

            • hmmm..well, we’ll leave THAT one alone, Michael. Whatever you were thnkg n the moment, remember this: there is only ONE thing that interests a cat, besides smell…imagination. omigod, lv it at that! 😉

            • Yes you should do a page on it Michael lol I’m sure we all have interesting toilet stories to tell about our cats 🙂

            • That would be a funny page. If you do, I have a clip, originally from YouTube, of a cat who continually flushes the toilet, watches the water go down, flushes again. It’s pretty funny (unless you’re paying the water bill, LOL!).

  2. Gail: I LOVE big kitties. Would love to see a pix/video.

    Michael: You and Charlie definitely have a close relationship. He is such a gorgeous boy.

    With my Nicky — who was about 22 lbs at his largest — being a Maine Coon refused to be held and he refused to sit on anyone’s lap. He would always sit next to me on the couch. When he was smaller, he would just reach out and touch the side of my leg. As he grew he would touch the top of my leg. Eventually he had to lay his foreleg across my leg. If I tried to sit in one of the chairs, he would complain until I moved to the couch. He wanted to be near me. Mom thought it was hilarious. The few times she would sit on the couch he’d go on and on until she moved so I could sit with him. When he got older or the couch was full he would lay on the back of the couch. One day he began touching my shoulder. I miss him!

    Great video!

    • That is a sweet story Dan. I can feel that friendship. Good communication too.

      Charlie is 16.7 pounds. Not bad for moggie! He is a little bit overweight but not much. It’s more middle-aged spread. He is not young. He’s the biggest cat companion I have had.

    • Dan, your Nicky sounds like a wonderful cat. Until Abby, I never had a Maine Coon so this was a new experience to me. I never ever thought I’d meet and feel the same way since my beautiful tortie, Sadie, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Abby came back into my life the same time her human passed, so it was kismet! I’d love to post Abby’s picture – I just don’t know how. Michael, can you help me with this? I use Abby’s photo in place of mine on some sites, but I can’t figure out how to do it on this one. Thanks!

    • Dan, Shrimpster does the exactly what you described about your Nicky, laying his foreleg across my knee, as he’s tucked in the crook of my knees while lying on my side on the couch where I sleep. If i try to move during the night, he presses down with his weight while he’s asleep, I think. I cannot move until the sun comes up. Talk about training! 😀

  3. Michael that is true pure love between you and Charlie.
    Jozef likes to hold my finger in his paw and gently squeeze it, claws tucked neatly away.
    Walter likes to butt us hard with his head and press his nose on our hands.
    I think the best feeling in the world is when a cat shows his love because everyone isn’t so lucky as to be given it so unreservedly.
    Another lovely habit of Jozefs is when we put his food down he butts a gentle thank you on the hand with the saucer in it.

    • I am pleased to hear that Jozef and Walter have similar little signs of affection, that are almost trademarks for each cat. I believe that over time, sometimes years of consistently being close to a cat companion and being with your cat a lot (because, in my case, I am retired) you really can understand each other as two equal creatures (forgetting that we are different species etc.). The language barrier drops away.

  4. Exactly Michael, I’m lucky enough to be retired too so have lots more time for Walt and Jo than any cat we’ve had in the past but they also gravitate to Babz in her spare time as they love us both equally, we don’t need words although we do both talk to them a lot, as you say the language barrier drops away.

    • Retirees are the best cat caretakers provided they understand cats. I am sure cat rescue operations know that and where possible prioritise people like us! Hope so.

      • Our foster parents are primarily retired people or those who are disabled so that they cannot work but have mobility. Our Foster Manager is a retiree. She owns her own home and is widowed. Her house is a cat paradise, LOL! She has rooms dedicated just for cats with their food, housing, furniture, screened windows, cat perches, shelves, toys…it goes on and on. She has a dozen cats of her own, yet she still has the fortitude, room and love to foster 6 or 7 more! She also helps other people by taking their animals to the vet if they cannot, either because they work or don’t have a car (like me) and won’t take anything for it…maybe the occasional coffee and a bagel but she refuses gas money. Bless her!

  5. Lilly does this with me, and I think the other 2 will when they get a bit older. Being young they don’t have much time for this kind of thing because they are always playing. Molly knows how to cuddle but Gigi has a long way to go. IT’s like she really wants to be affectionate but she doesn’t exactly know how to yet. I always follow her cue but I must say it can be confusing. She often looks at me and rubs against things and meows like she wants a cuddle but then when she comes running she is a little confused. But she watches me and the other 2 cuddle alot and is learning I think.

    • I am pleased that you have had the pleasure of cat hand holding. Perhaps the age of the cat and the age of the human facilitates this sort of thing. More time, more wisdom (from the cat ;))

      • She also likes to put her paw on my chin or mouth when she is lying on my tummy. She’s pretty gentle but sometimes her claw is against my skin because she can’t retract it in that position or something but she is gentle with it.

        • Marc, is your cat always that gentle? i only ask because two of my cats like to climb me as though I were a tree trunk. (yes, i let them–that’s why I never wear shorts!) my kitties just don’t seem to care…thank goodness for belief in something other than a thick skin. Levi’s denim. 🙂

          • That is quite common, particularly amongst young cats. It’s a painful sign of affection or a desire to be involved. It must be a result of the unfortunate fact that humans are giants compared to the domestic cat.

        • My Binnie would wake me by first tapping me with her paw (claws retracted). If that failed, she would extend just one claw – the middle one – and very gently nick my skin with it. Very smart. It always worked.

  6. Ozzie reaches out and touches me with his paw to give him fuss 🙂 Alfie stands on his hind legs and reaches up making eye contact for me to pick him up 🙂 Honey is quite solitary and prefers cat company to human 🙁

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