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5 Unusual Ways Cats Show Their Love

Purr? Head-rub? Sure. But kitties have other ways to say "I love you" -- like placing butt in face.

 |  Aug 23rd 2012  |   64 Contributions


Most of us understand at least some cat language, but there are some things that mystify even the most experienced of cat lovers. Why, for example, does your cat persist in doing things you consider annoying or even disgusting, no matter how often you scold her? The answer is because a lot of these are just ways our cats say “I love you.” Here are five freaky demonstrations of feline-human affection.

Cat licking child by Shutterstock

1. Licking

Cat buddies often groom one another, so if your cat is licking your skin, she’s showing you she loves you. It may even be a way for your kitty to reciprocate all that petting and stroking you’ve been giving her. Of course, for us humans, that sandpaper-tongue attention can become painful pretty quickly. Instead of getting upset at your cat, thank her for cleaning you and gently focus her attention on something else like receiving petting and love from you.

2. Kneading

When your cat treads on you with her front paws, repeatedly extending her claws, you naturally want to push her away because it hurts. But if your cat is kneading, she’s doing something that goes back to her kitten days, when she kneaded against her mom-cat’s breasts to get the milk flowing. If your cat is kneading you, it means she’s incredibly relaxed and happy. You can protect your skin by adding a layer of fabric between you and your cat: A towel, throw blanket, or even a bathrobe will help you say “what a sweet kitty” instead of “ow, stop that!”

Cat with mouse by Shutterstock

3. Bringing gifts

If your cat drops a dead (or, heaven forbid, not-quite-dead) mouse on your pillow, you’re probably not going to say “thank you.” But the fact is that cats are hunters, and when they love you they show that by sharing their food with you. If your cat comes running up to you with her latest catch, praise her amazing hunting skills instead of screaming at her, because she's just showing you how much you mean to her.

4. Meowing

Cats rarely engage in vocal communication with one another, but they know we humans are pretty obtuse when it comes to the subtleties of feline body language, so they meow at us instead. Sure, it can be annoying when Kitty gets in a chatty mood, but the fact that she’s talking to you -- even if she’s pestering the heck out of you in the process -- means she loves you.

5. Sticking her butt in your face

Yes, it’s gross when your cat presents you with her back end, especially if she’s not as good at washing up after she does her business as she used to be. But what she’s doing is really the same thing you’re doing when you hug your best friend: She’s putting herself in a vulnerable position because she trusts you. Cats communicate by scent, so by presenting you with her rear end, she’s also trying to tell you what she’s been doing all day. If you don’t want your cat’s butt in your face, gently reposition her to a more favorable orientation or blow on her bottom to make her move away.

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