It’s said that when it comes to cat adoption, we don’t choose the cats. And really, they don’t choose us, either. We choose each other. There’s that miraculous moment in the shelter when our eyes lock, followed by an inner knowing telling us we belong together. It’s similar to every “eyes meet across a crowded room” scene in movies. Magical!
Rescue cats have special ways of showing us they’re grateful for adopting them into our families. Here are nine of them.
What’s better than the joyful sound of a cat’s purr? Not much! A purring cat is expressing her contentment and, yes, even gratitude. This rumbling vocalization is much the same as a happy human gratefully hugging a close friend who’s said just the right thing at the right time — or settling down to a Stranger Things marathon with a pint of Rocky Road. Heaven!
An up-close-and-personal head bonk is definitely a sign that a newly adopted rescue kitty has settled in and is openly sharing her affection. Always accept the head bonks with the utmost respect — they’re not given out in a willy-nilly fashion. Head bonks are earned! Please take note: Although these endearing bonks express thankfulness, one probably shouldn’t bestow one upon one’s employer after being given a pay raise — that’s just awkward and may conclude with a visit to Human Resources.
Kitties often knead when they feel satisfied. When a rescue kitty is at ease enough to “make biscuits” on your leg, take it as a compliment. Even if those sharp little nails sink into your tender skin, smile through gritted teeth and say, “I’m so glad we chose each other. I love you.” Skin heals.
Cats love bringing us little tokens of their affection. Sliding your foot into your favorite loafer, only to find a ratty catnip mouse, isn’t the result of a feline prank. It’s a “You’re my favorite person and I love your smell — please accept this humble offering. And also, I’d enjoy some gravy. Please and thank you.”
Many cat behaviorists say when a cat blinks slowly at a human, it means “I love you.” The blink is usually accompanied by a soft look of pure love and the underlying message of, “You’re mine now, and as your new overlord, I claim every basket of warm laundry pulled from the dryer from now until the end of my nine lives.”
Kitties are fastidious groomers of themselves and other cats with whom they have friendly relations. Being on the and paper-tongued end of a good grooming is a great sign of affection and intimacy. Being groomed by a rescue cat is quite a privilege — it indicates she’s grateful for your love, so lean that cheek in and happily accept that bath! Additionally, a cheek bath may occur if you’ve just eaten a tuna fish sandwich.
Not all cats are cuddlers, but a cat who enjoys sharing space with a human generally signifies they enjoy their company. When a newly adopted cat wants to hang out or — even better — cuddle, enjoy it for all it’s worth! You’ve earned your “cool” badge. Wear it proudly!
Kitties can be cheeky little beings, and if they decide to rub that cheek against you, you may as well have gotten the equivalent of a big ol’ kiss. It may take a little while before a newly rescued cat feels comfortable enough to plant one on you, but when she does, accept that loving gratitude with an open heart. You can return the affection by offering a belly rub — at your own risk, of course. Sometimes that belly is a hidden trap, and the sweet cheek rub quickly turns into a claws-out event.
Happy cats may choose to stop, drop and roll when they’re pleased to see one of their favorite humans. A cat offering up a belly is a loving, trusting, vulnerable kitty. Please note: An exposed belly is not always an invitation for a belly rub. See No. 8.