Man scratching/petting a cat’s face

Why pet owners are switching to online vet care with Dutch

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Cat parents often feel overwhelming joy when looking at their cats. After all, pet ownership is good for your health in many ways. Petting your cat can improve your mood, and it has a calming effect on both of you. The next time you're snuggled up with your cat on the couch, you might wonder, "Does my cat love me?"

Unfortunately, cats can't tell you how they feel but can show you. Cats communicate through their behavior and body language, allowing you to decipher what's really on their minds. Of course, we all love our pets, so it's a common question pet parents have—does my cat love me? Looking closely at how they act around you can help answer this question. 

While this article will discuss how to tell if your cat loves you, remember that all felines are different, and your cat may show love in other ways. 

10 signs a cat loves you

1. Frequent Purring

Kittens start purring when they're only a few days old.1 As the cat grows older, they'll continue to purr, which they'll do when they're happy, content, or in pain. Science suggests that cat purring has low-frequency vibrations that act as a healing mechanism for cats, so they may use it to heal themselves.1 

That said, most cats purr when they're pleased. If your cat isn't showing any signs of illness or pain, and they're engaged in a relaxing activity, such as snuggling on the couch with you, they're likely purring to show you they're happy when you're around. 

That said, not all vocalizations indicate love. If your cat is meowing a lot, it may be a sign of a serious underlying health issue or pain. Depending on your cat's overall health, purring and meowing may also be your cat's way of asking for attention.

2. They Follow You Around

Cats aren't pack animals like dogs, but they are social creatures. If your cat is following you, it's often a sign of love and trust because they want to keep you in their sight at all times. Following you is your cat's way of expressing their love because they want attention, such as in the form of playing or scratches.2 

Cats that love you may also greet you at the door to show you they missed you during the day. Cats can get separation anxiety, so if they engage in anxious behavior like urinating outside of the litter box, or excessive vocalization, while you're not home or start following you around the house when you're getting ready to leave, it may be worth discussing their behavior with a vet. 

3. Slow Blinking

Slow blinking is another common sign your cat loves you and feels happy around you. Cats slowly blink in situations where they feel relaxed.3  If your cat is relaxing and closing and opening their eyes slowly, it means they trust you well enough to sleep around you. Meanwhile, an anxious or threatened cat won't close their eyes and will instead have a wide-open, continuous stare. 

A cat closing their eyes in your presence suggests they trust you, so tell them you trust them just as much by slowly blinking back at them.

4. Bringing You Gifts

Cats are hunters who are part of a social order. For example, if your cat is allowed outdoors, they might bring back dead mice or birds and present them to you. While seeing a captured animal may be scary, it's your cat's way of telling you they love you. Cats are natural hunters, and they'll satisfy this urge whenever possible. Then, they'll bring their prey to their home territory. 

Cats may bring you gifts as a sign of affection and love

Strictly indoor cats may bring you gifts of a different kind, including toys or small objects, since they can't hunt animals outside. If your feline brings you something, graciously accept the present. Additionally, cats might bring you toys when they want to play, so it's your cat's way of asking for more attention and activity.

5. Increased Cuddling

If your cat didn't love you, they wouldn't want to spend any time with you. Instead, they'd appear more aloof and spend their days alone. But, of course, every cat is different; some are more independent than others, so you can't expect them to cuddle whenever you're sitting on the couch or getting ready for bed. 

That said, even if your cat spends much of its time away from you, they'll likely show you some affection throughout the day. For example, some cats sit calmly on your lap to demonstrate love, while others are happy to sleep beside you. 

Additionally, if you notice your cat sleeping above your head instead of next to you, it may be their way of showing affection because your head releases scents, which can provide a calming sensation when your cat loves and trusts you. 

6. They Lick You

Cats groom themselves and each other to show their affection, and after building trust with your pet, you might notice your cat licking you. While a cat's tongue isn't the most comfortable feeling in the world, their licking is their way of grooming and scent marking, which helps strengthen your bond. 

Gray cat lying on their back

7. Belly Exposure

Cats and dogs only show their bellies when they truly trust someone because they're relaxed. With dogs, this may be an invitation for you to rub their bellies, but with cats, it's better to be cautious. 

Many cats don't like being pet on their bellies, so you should pet a cat safely on the back, under the chin, around the cheeks, at the base of the ears, and on the forehead between the eyes. 

If your cat gets stiffer body language at any point, it could indicate that they're getting stressed and may lash out by scratching or biting, so always be aware of how they react to your touch. 

8. Tail Wagging

Your cat's tail can tell you a lot about their feelings. Tail wagging comes in several forms and can help decipher what your cat is thinking and feeling in certain situations. For example, if their tail is upright and stiff, it may indicate stress or fear. In contrast, gentle tail wagging from side to side likely means they're happy to see you.

However, if your cat's tail is whipping around from side to side, it could mean they're nervous and may become aggressive.4 Instead, look for a tail with a hook or one that's gently wagging. Your cat may also wrap their tail around you if you're standing. 

9. Kneading

Cats often knead to express contentment and communicate affection. You may see your cat kneading pillows or blankets when they're getting ready for an afternoon nap, or your cat may knead your clothing when you're cuddling. Kneading is a common cat behavior that kittens learn from their mothers. When they kneaded their mother's teats, they made milk flow, and your cat may continue to do this behavior through adulthood.5

A cat kneading on your lap means they love and trust you

When your cat kneads you, it's their way of self-soothing.6 With humans, it can show you that your cat is happy or mark you as their territory, as cats often mix their scent with yours to demonstrate their bond with you. 

10. Headbutting

Cat headbutting is another common sign a cat loves you. Also known as head bunting, it's your cat's way of bonding and scent sharing, which indicates a strong relationship. When your cat rubs their head against yours, it means you're part of their family. 

Feline Affection: FAQs

How do I know if my cat loves me?

There are many signs your cat loves you, including purring, sitting on and cuddling you, slow blinking, bringing you gifts, head bunting, and showing you their belly. Several of these signs are gestures of trust, meaning your cat is forming a strong bond with you. But, of course, every cat is different, and yours may show affection in other ways. 

How can I show love to my cat?

Your cat uses body language to communicate their love for you, and you can do the same to help your cat understand how much you love them. A few ways to show your cat affection include:

  • Slow blinking back at them
  • Letting them rub up against you
  • Grooming them
  • Gently massaging their favorite spots
  • Caring for their health

How can I get my cat to love me?

If you've recently adopted a cat, you might notice they're aloof or anxious. Cats that enter a new environment with new people likely won't trust you immediately. Building a bond takes time, so continue to care for them by respecting their personal space and never petting them when they don't want to be petted. In addition, you should provide a comfortable and clean living environment and play with them. 

Never force your cat into an interaction with you because it could cause stress that leads to aggression. Instead, let your cat come to you when they want to play or cuddle. Love takes time, and eventually, they'll show you they love you back. 

Final Notes

Cat body language can tell us a lot about our cats. If you've ever wondered if your cat loves you, you should pay close attention to how they behave around you. The little things your cat does daily, such as sleeping above your head or kneading your clothing, can tell you how they feel. 

Additionally, your cat's body language and behavior can provide insight into how they are feeling emotionally and physically. If your cat's behavior has recently changed or they seem more stressed than usual, talk to a vet. A veterinary expert can diagnose and treat many common health issues to help your cat live a happy, healthy life. Try Dutch today.

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References

  1. "Why and How Do Cats Purr?" The Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/zoology/item/why-and-how-do-cats-purr/

  2. Plummer, Joseph M. "Why Does My Cat Follow Me Everywhere? (Top 9 Reasons)." FVEAP, 3 Jan. 2023, https://www.fveap.org/why-does-my-cat-follow-me-everywhere/

  3. "Top Tip: Understanding Cat Blinks!" International Cat Care, 7 Oct. 2020, https://icatcare.org/top-tip-understanding-cat-blinks/.

  4. Langley, Liz. "Here's What Your Cat's Tail Is Trying to Tell You." Pages, National Geographic, 3 May 2021, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/pages/article/animals-behavior-cats-tail-body-language.

  5. "The Cat's Meow." The Humane Society of the United States, https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/cats-meow

  6. Parakul, Narimes. "Why Your Cat Does These 6 Things (According to Science)." University of California, 8 Nov. 2021, https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/why-your-cat-does-these-6-things-according-science

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $7/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.