Do Cats Actually Love Their Owners image

Do Cats Actually Love Their Owners?

By now, everyone should know that I love dogs. But the truth is, I love cats too! The question is, do my cats love me back? And do cats actually love their owners?

There’s a long-standing joke in media, and between many humans, that cats don’t really care about their owners – as long as their fed and warm, they’re happy.

But is this true? Are cats cold-hearted, emotionless animalsOr do they love us back? After doing some research, I finally have the answer to this burning question.

Cats express their love by meowing, licking, staring or rubbing up against us- and these are all of the same interactions that they would have learned from their feline mothers. Cats are not cold-hearted, nor are they emotionless.

Today we will talk about some of these research, and answer a few other questions that align with this topic.

How do cats show their affection? Do our cats know that we love them? And what do our cats think when we kiss them?

Let’s get started.

Do Cats Actually Love Their Owners? – The Research

siamese cat being carried by its lady owner

There are many research studies that have been conducted to determine whether or not cats experience loving emotions.

One of these studies, conducted by researchers at Oregon State University looked at both shelter cats, as well as cats with long-term owners.

In the study, the cats were not fed for two and a half hours. Once the time was up, cats were offered one of two options; human interaction, wherein the cat could be pet by, and play with a human; or food.

In most cases, the cat chose human interaction, suggesting that cats do, in fact, enjoy the presence of a human.

In another study, cats were left home alone for periods of either 30 minutes or 4 hours.

In all cases, cats showed more purring, stretching, and attention seeking behaviors than they did when their owners were gone for 4 hours, as opposed to those who were only gone for 30 minutes.

Each of the cats were free-fed to ensure that hunger or anticipation of food was not a factor in the display of excitement.

The results of this study show that cats do, in fact, miss their owners when they are gone for a long period of time – another indication that they love their owners.

How Do Cats Show Affection?

owner confused with his 2 cats

If it’s true that cat’s love us, then how do they show their affection?

One of the main reasons that people often think cats don’t love their owners is because cats express emotions differently than we do.

Cats can’t tell you that they love you, nor do they often kiss or wag their tails like dogs do.

Rather, cats speak a love language all of their own.

So how do you know if your cat is being affectionate?

Here are a few different ways that cats show their affection:

  • Purring – This can be a sign of happiness or love, depending on the situation.
  • Rolling – When a cat rolls on the ground, it generally means that they are excited to see you and are looking forward to a loving greeting.
  • Bunting – This is when a cat rubs their head up against you. When they do this, they are leaving their scent on you and are “claiming their territory”. In other words, they are telling you they love you and that you are theirs.
  • Scratching – Cats don’t tend to scratch people, but you may often find them clawing at furniture. Pay close attention to where your cat scratches. In most cases, it will be a location that they associate with their owner. Again, this is the cats way of displaying ownership over their owners favorite places.
  • Kneading – Kneading begins in kittenhood when kittens knead against their mothers breast to obtain milk. As an adult, they repeat this behavior when they are relaxed, content, or being loving.
  • Upright tails – When a cat’s tail is upright, they are inviting you to pay attention to them and showing their love.
  • Hunting and gifting their prey
  • Playing with you
  • Sleeping on you
  • Licking you

What Your Cat Thinks About You

cat thinking of its granny owner

So we’ve determined that our cats love us, but how else do they feel towards us?

What do cats think about their owners?

It seems that cats are a little confused about what exactly we are. In other words, cats don’t really know that we are humans.

They know we are taller and bigger than them, but aside from that, they don’t know much else. Rather, they see us as giant cats.

How do we know this?

Because aside from meowing to get our attention, cats treat us the same as they treat other cats.

More specifically, they treat their human mothers the exact same way that they treat their cat mothers.

While some feel that cats treat their humans like their mothers out of love, others believe that this is just another manipulative tool that cats use to get what they want from us.

Some researchers even go as far as to suggest that a cats cry mimics the sound of a baby cry in an attempt to “trigger” our need to mother our cats.


cat showing affection to its owner

Though it might not always seem as such, cats do love their owners.

Though they don’t always display their affection in the same ways that we do, they do try to demonstrate their love through their own love language.

So the next time that your cat rubs up against your leg, validate your love for them by returning the affection.

Related Questions: 

Do cats know that we love them?

While it’s difficult to determine exactly what a cat does or doesn’t know, it is generally assumed that cats do know we love them.

After all, if a cat knows so much as to mimic the cry of a baby to play on our emotions, then they must know that those emotions exist.

But aside from this, we can also assume that our cats sense our love based on their behavior. To elaborate, most cats have a favorite person.

This person is most often someone who shows them the most loving and affectionate behaviors. In addition, cats crave our attention.

They will greet us at the door, rub up against our legs, and sleep in our laps – all which are signs of them searching for affection. In return, we can conclude that cats do notice our love.

Do cats like being kissed?

It depends on the cat. Like people, all cats have different personalities. They like different things, and have different reactions.

As such, some cats may like (or at least tolerate) being kissed, while others may not. If your cat leans in, rubs on you, or purrs while you are kissing them, then you can assume that they don’t mind being kissed.

They may even know that it is a sign of affection, and seek kisses from you. But if your cat’s ears go back, or he starts to show signs of aggression, you can safely assume that they do not want to be kissed.

How can you show a cat that you love them?

So we’ve determined that cats know we love them, but aside from petting and kissing them, is there anything else we can do to show our love? According to experts, the answer is yes. Here are a few things you can do to demonstrate your love to your cat:

  • Slow Blink at them – When feeling relaxed or loved, cats will often slow blink at each other. If you slow blink back, they will see this as a sign of love and affection.
  • Play with them – Cats are natural predators, but when they are kept in a home, they often don’t get to use their instincts as much as if they are outside. As an owner, you can give them the outlet that they need by using interactive toys to play with them. Cats love mouse toys, wand toys, or the like.
  • Snuggle them (if they like that)
  • Massage them
  • Respond to their meows
  • Butt heads with them


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