Do cats love you? People want to know. In better English, the question should be, “Does my cat love me?” They search for an answer on the Internet. How do you know? There must be some signs. Before we discuss those signs we should remind ourselves what “love” actually means because it is a word that is fairly often abused in the English language. It can mean different things to different people but at its core it means a strong affection and feelings towards another person and, this instance, I would say towards another being as we are discussing love between a cat and a human.
When writing about the subject, I think it is unproductive to do research on it because it is so personal. The answer should come out of our heads and through our observations of the behaviour of our cat companion.
It is nice, though, to know that your cat loves you. I will rephrase that: it would be reassuring to know that your cat loves you. For my part, there are one or two signs, behaviour patterns, which indicates to me that my cat has a strong affection towards me.
Firstly, he likes to touch me. He does this in a positive way. What I mean is that when he sits down next to me he reaches his forepaw out to my hand and touches it. If my hand is unavailable he will reach out and touch my arm. He does this without prompting. He does it on his own volition. He therefore must like to do it. He must like to be in direct contact with me; to feel his paw against my flesh. This is very similar to humans holding hands. It is very similar to the desire that people have who are affectionate towards each other, to be in physical contact with each other by, for example, holding hands.
Secondly, he likes to come to me without me calling him. He will approach me if, for example, I’m outside in the sun and as he approaches me he will call out to me as a greeting and then lie down next to me. He wants to be close to me; in my vicinity. He obviously likes the feeling that that brings to him. No doubt it brings a feeling of security but it probably also brings to him a feeling of contentment. I treat this behaviour as another sign that he has affections towards me.
Then there is cupboard love. Before feeding him he will rub his head against my hand depositing his scent on me. He likes me at that moment because I am about to give him food. I don’t think this is any less a sign of affection because a lot of love between humans is based upon cupboard love or money love.
When I come home – and we have all experienced this – he will wake up immediately, jump down from his bed, and come to greet me. When I come in the door he rubs against me. I pick him up and he starts to purr. Aren’t these typical signs of a strong affection between two beings?
I have given three examples of signs of affection from the cat to a human. There must be many others, which are individual to each cat. Do you have one? Can you tell me how you know that your cat loves you?
Some people might argue that cats can’t love, that they don’t know the meaning of it. I would argue that humans have difficulties with the meaning of “love”. It is often mixed up with lust. Some would say that love must be accompanied by sex to express it. I don’t believe that is true. True love is deeper. It is permanent and unconditional. It is subtle and strong. It is unsung and beautiful in its purity. It does not need sex to validate it.
I believe that the affections of a cat companion towards his/her human companion is as valid and as enduring as the human-to-human version. Love is an emotion and the extent of a cat’s emotions are only recently being seriously discussed. I do feel though that we can find answers through personal observation.
If a cat does not show signs of love it might not necessarily mean that there is a lack of affection. There must be a personal element to this. However, to feel the love of a cat demands that he/she feels it from us.