Cats and Dogs Show us their Affection Uniquely: Which species is more loving?

I am truly baffled by people who dislike kitties. Most of these folks tell me that the reason they don’t like cats is because felines are aloof snobs who don’t enjoy interacting with people and are definitely not as affectionate or communicative as dogs. What really galls me is that they just cannot seem to “grok” (understand on a cellular level) that cats are not little dogs.

Hubble looking perkier
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Hubble looking perkier. Photo by Jo Singer. Hubble is a loving, affectionate companion of Jo’s.

In fact, I feel sorry for them. They have no idea about what they are missing. After all is there anything more delightful than having a kitty curled up in your lap purring away sounding like a diesel engine? In my opinion their unfounded prejudice deprives them of an experience that sheer ecstasy!

Cats and dogs have been sharing the homes of millions of people for centuries as beloved companion animals; but as far as I am concerned, comparing the species is tantamount to comparing apples to oranges. So are dogs really more affectionate than kitties? Or more realistically, do these animals express their affection for humans in ways that are totally different?

We must also take into consideration that every cat has an individual and a distinct temperament and personality. So it makes perfect sense to me that there will be differences in the way our cats show us affection. This said, once we fully understand the feline nature, it become obvious that they all use similar behaviors to let us know that they love us.

There are also times when feline affection is displayed ever so subtly. While dogs openly express their love by wagging their tails and giving sloppy wet kisses; cats, on the other paw, communicate their affection and trust to us using body language. These subtle expressions can easily be overlooked by those who are unfamiliar with feline behavior.

Cat lovers know that some cats are wary when initially meeting a stranger. They may stare at this “stranger” without blinking. But when a cat feels affection and trust, they may give them a slow eye blink. Those unfortunate folks who are feline-illiterate won’t have a clue about such an honor.

Although this “wink” isn’t the same behavior humans display to express affection; a slow eye-blink from a cat is an extreme gesture of acceptance and trust. I think it sad that folks who don’t appreciate cats won’t know they just were “kissed” by a kitty.

Since cats groom one another for mutual pleasure and bonding, if a cat “grooms” us, it is not only a great honor, it is another sure –fire sign that they like and trust us and consider us to be part of their feline family.

Head rubbing or “butting” is a method cats use to claim their territory. Cats leave “possession” messages for other kitties with their facial scent glands, so when your cat rubs her face on you this is another sign of affection but also claiming you as her “property.” Since cats rub their cheeks on items around our homes, those who speak “cat “fluently will know which objects are their cat’s favorites.

Dogs commonly display their bellies to garner affection from their human, to get an itch scratched or to show respect to a higher ranking dog or human. However, cats may show their bellies an invitation to play or to show affection and trust. This said it is always wise to cautiously approach a cat in this position because it may not always be an invitation for a belly rub- it might be interpreted as a possible attack.

Kneading or “making cookies” is a sign of adoration. Kneading accompanied by drooling is the ultimate display of contentment.
In my opinion an affectionate, happy cat is a great joy with whom to share our lives. While dogs can be sweet and loyal, I think there is nothing quite like being loved by a cat.

So are cats truly more genuinely affectionate than dogs? What do you think? Share your thoughts in a comment.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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8 Responses

  1. Genevieve says:

    Most people just don’t understand that cats are more like people than dogs. They show affection in predictable ways, like head butting and slow blinking (or squinty eyes). But their personalities are each so different.
    For the person who said that the dog went to the crossroads where the owner was killed…I go out of town often. And every time I am gone, my fiancé reports that each of my cats takes turns laying down on my spot on the couch, and sleeping in my spot on the bed. And when I come home, my cat Sophie crawls under the bedsheets and sleeps with me. She only does this after I come home from being away.
    Before I had a fiancé, my cat Zachery would regularly get urinary track infections when I was away from home. It cost a lot in vet bills, but I knew he was just stressed out from being without me.
    No one has to convince me that my cats miss me.
    As far as showing affection goes, they show me all the affection I wish to be shown. Cats are sweeter and ever more loving as they get older. My cats average 15 years old.
    I think it is way easier to love a cat than a dog, because they can take care of themselves. They choose you, they don’t just follow commands. Slaves aren’t said to be smart, and a cat is nobodies slave.

  2. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA says:

    I love all animals, and have had dogs and cats as pets. Dogs require more attention than cats, and as I’ve aged, I choose to have only cats, actually only one at this time. Since I’m retired and home most of the time, I’m aware of her daily behavior, and see subtle changes that can alert me to a health issue. Since she’s an inside cat, I can be more aware of these things than if she was outside.

    When I had a dog, I lived in a house with a large yard, so I never had to follow my dog around, to pick up poop. I just hosed it into the grass. The dog was a companion and protector for my family. She was never a problem, When she died we got another dog, and after only a few months gave the dog back because it was digging under the fence, and going after other dogs when we walked her. Obedience school didn’t work, so we had to let her go.

    Both dogs and cats can develop neurotic behavior from their guardians, just as children do. Sometimes rescue animals have problematic behavior, and it takes patience and willingness to overcome this.

    I’ve never thought about which animal I felt more loved by, but there have been cats who were more or less affectionate than others. One cat would jump on my lap anytime I sat down; the other one never did. The cat I have now is more independent, and only cuddles in my lap if I coax her up with a treat.
    She was a feral, and although I’ve had her 5 years, I understand that her nature is untrusting of strangers, and she’s only bonded with me. She tolerates a couple of my friends, within limits.

    I wish she were more affectionate, but I accept her as she is, and enjoy the times she does relax and fall asleep in my lap. I also appreciate that she has no behavior issues, and I’ve been able to help her with health issues by feeding raw food.

  3. Alan says:

    I have one of each, they are both very good companions, only in different ways. I think it is a special thing to be accepted by a cat and you never need to remind a cat who is the Alpha male (they don’t give a damn). It’s nice to cuddle up and sleep with a cat, but then it’s nice to take a dog for long walks too. I think a cat CAN be more loving, but not all cat’s are that way inclined, over the years I have seen many stories about dog’s staying by where their owners have died (I knew one personally who lived at a crossroads where his owner was hit by a car and died) and that is hard to beat when it comes to devotion, never heard of a cat doing it. But I prefer a cat as a companion, if it’s a cat that is happy and has bonded fully.

  4. kevin roche says:

    Very well said michael and jmuhj…i very much said it all and now all i can say is you are right on the money !!!! All my parents had while i was growing up were dogs..when i moved out on my own i adopted a cat and found out what i had been missing all them years and how affectionate cats really are ….also cats are a lot more cleaner and independent than dogs..a lot of people who love dogs and hate cats have never given a cat a’s the people that hate cats that don’t know what they are missing because of their own ignorance and stubbornness….

  5. jmuhj says:

    Well, Jo, as you know, I was born and raised “with cat” and cats have always been FAMILY, not “pets”, in my family, loved by both genders and all ages, rescued, and cared for and about back throught the mists of time. I have had to care for two dogs in my life, and I can say they just do not do anything for me. Cats are far more intelligent and sensitive than dogs; they bond with others of their species, humans, and members of other species because they want to, not because they are trained to do so. A bond with a feline is deep and enduring. Cats are clean, (mostly) quiet, very affectionate, smart, friendly, and the most aesthetically beautiful beings I’ve ever seen. Those who are creative and intelligent, such as writers, artists, etc., seem to be more “cat people” while those who are part of the crowd, superficially going along with whatever the rest of the crowd do and/or think, seem to like dogs. Dogs will do what they are told/taught and will keep coming back no matter how much they are rejected. They are unclean, frequently loud, and many times violent. No dogs for me, thanks! I love cats.

  6. Vicki says:

    I think that each species whether it be a dog, cat, horse or bird, all have different behavior. I have never seen a horse fly, or a bird buck. The same goes for how each express their affection, or total behavior for that matter. So I agree, it is like comparing oranges to apples. I think it is the total perception of how we accept their antics and reaction to affection.

  7. Serbella McGee says:

    Dogs are easier. Doesn’t take much to figure out that a dog likes you. A cat, on the other hand, that takes work. Some people don’t have the brain power to quiet themselves and figure out what’s what. I’ve had cats all my life, raised all of them except Samirah from kittenhood, and I learned what body language meant what. The first time Samirah slow blinked at me I was thrilled. Sounds like such a little thing, but that told me that she trusted me at last. She slow blinks, she meows (silent and otherwise), she’s even showed me her belly and she kneads in the morning.

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