Have you ever wondered if your cat really loves you or not? Cats are not as expressive as dogs – or people for that matter. They literally lack the facial muscles that create smiles, move eyebrows, and shape eyes. All these facial expressions are part of how we ‘read’ emotions. Because cats were not created with these facial muscles, some people believe they are aloof or unfeeling.
Very untrue. In fact, the emotional cortex of a cat’s brain is actually more similar to a humans than that of a dogs. Cats are highly intuitive and emotional – with a poker face.
But why? Cats are stealthy little predators and they are also prey animals. They hunt and are hunted. This is why they are made to communicate with body language. From a distance. Not with subtle facial expressions.
So how can you know if your cat loves you?
The same body language cats use to distinguish between predators and prey is also used to communicate affection. To each other and their humans.
One thing a cat does do with their face to communicate trust and love is the slow blink. A cat’s eyes are always an alert. Darting, dilating, on the watch for threats or lunch. A slow blink is an intentional relaxation of this instinct. It shows they trust, accept, and have an affection for you.
Tails also communicate a wealth of feelings for a cat. The straight up tail shows a happy and confident cat. When your cat walks towards you with their tail held high, they are excited to see you. One of my favorite ways a cat shows they love you is with a tail hug. They prance towards you with their happy flag high and then wrap it around your leg. This is the equivalent of a big hug.
Another way cats show they love you is a little harder for us humans to understand – butt (pun intended) hear me out. Ever watch 2 cats get acquainted with each other? There’s some bum-sniffing going on – and it’s the ultimate show of vulnerability, openness, and trust. I get that if a human did this, we might not be feeling the love. But when a cat turns his back on you, he’s actually showing his love and demonstrating a willingness to protect you. And a lifted but in your face is truly a high honor – showing how much they trust you and want you to know them.