How do you tell your cat you love her? If you do it with kisses, have you ever wondered how much she likes them?
Franny Syufy, the cat expert on About.com, ran an informal poll for me on her Facebook page and found that the vast majority of her readers kiss their cats regularly, but most were unsure if their cats enjoyed the attention.
Cats like to act demure, but research shows that they truly do love their humans. But the ways they express that love are different from what we're used to — which means it's something we can learn from. Are there better ways to show our affection?
It should probably come as no surprise that cats can be fickle about when, where and what type of affection they receive. While some cats seem to like and lean into human kisses, others most certainly do not. Chances are, you know which side your cat falls on.
A cat's like or dislike for affection may even change from day to day (or hour to hour.) The same cat that loves affection in the morning may swat or hiss at such attention in the evening. They can be moody critters, but learning to speak their language can go a long way toward understanding them.
For starters, kitty kisses are much different from the kind we dole out as humans. Have you ever noticed that when your cat is relaxed and happy, he closes his eyes while looking at you? No, he's not just sleeping. He's actually sending you a kiss! Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy explains that when cats close their eyes to you “they’re letting you know that they are vulnerable to you.” Now that's love.
Again, you need to know your cat's particular signs to understand what they mean. As cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett explains, "Narrowed eyes with ears at half-mast are certainly not displaying love and affection at that moment."
In other words, there is a big difference between this:
In addition to kisses, there are other ways that you can tell your cat you love her. This video from Galaxy of "My Cat from Hell" fame" was created as a funny diversion for Valentine's day, but his tips are relevant year-round:
The bottom line is that when it comes to kisses, some cats like it and some simply don't. Get to know your cat and how she likes to show affection so that you can speak her language of love.