A Way That A Domestic Cat Says Thank You

Domestic cats don’t really understand the human concept of saying thank you but in their own way they say it. It is more an action of reinforcing friendship than an out-and-out thank you.

Cats make friends with different species of animal including humans.
Cats make friends with different species of animal including humans.
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When I feed my cat the best food I can get him, before I can open the food and place it in his bowl, he rubs his head on my hand. It is a sort of mini-head butt. This is feline behaviour in anticipation of receiving food. It is non-verbal and it is a sign of friendship. To me it is a “friendship behavioural exchange”. In giving him food I am demonstrating my friendship for him. In response he demonstrates his friendship for me by rubbing against me.

The way I see it, a physical demonstration of friendship is a way of acknowledging the friendship and its value. In doing this a cat is telling us that he enjoys the relationship and in doing so we can deduce that he is thankful for it.

This then is a subtle thank you for providing nice food.

This is a very short post because I don’t believe I can add to that except for one thing: there is discussion on the subject of whether cats understand “friendship”. I think cats do but scientists might prefer the word “associates” meaning that some cats get along and like each other’s company. As we are seen as a cat by our cat, we are then an associate but I prefer the word “friendship” which can be deep and enduring.

5 thoughts on “A Way That A Domestic Cat Says Thank You”

  1. Michael, I agree with you! I believe cats DO understand love and furriendship. Mine all think that I’m *Mom Cat*. I get the head butts, the meowing and chirping>>>they downright carry on conversations with me! I truly believe they *love* me — and with cats, as in all anipals (humans could learn a thing or two here), they love you UNCONDITIONALLY!!!!!! and FOREVER!!!! There is just absolutely no greater feeling in the world than coming home to unconditional love! No matter what kind of *night* (I work nights — a poker dealer in a casino)I’ve had, when I walk through the door, EVERYTHING melts away when I see my kitties and feel their love and appreciation for *Mom Cat*. . .

    Here is a nice pic for you. . . ♥♥♥

  2. Well, our Scottish Fold, Baskin, was particularly obvious when he said, “Thank you”. He would want out, I would open the door, before he went through the door he would look up at me, meow, and proceed through the door. When he wanted back in, I would open the door, he would walk through, stop, look up at me, meow, and go on about his business. None of our other cats cared to anthropomorphize their possible gratitude for us simple humans as it was beneath their dignity or purvue…

    • That does sound like a genuine ‘thank you’. Nice one, Cass. Maybe domestic cats are learning from us humans. I hope they only learn the good things.


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