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How to Tell Your Cat You Love Them: 10 Simple Ways (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

child cuddling a cat

Unfortunately for us cat owners, communicating with our cat isn’t easy due to some unshakable language barriers! This becomes apparent when we accidentally step on our kittie’s little paw, just to be met with a disdainful look when we apologize profusely.

Our cats use some key body language cues to let us know they love us, but how do we return the message without the same anatomy? In addition to body language, cats communicate through touch and scent, and they understand your actions, not your words. So here are 10 ways to let your cat know just how much they mean to you.

The 10 Ways to Tell Your Cat You Love Them

1. Learn Cat-lish

The key to communicating with your cat is learning their language. There’s no point speaking a totally different tongue or sending the wrong signals to a cat, who will only ever understand cat body language. Cats will often communicate with their tails to let other creatures know how they feel. This tool is not useful since (presumably) you don’t have a tail.

Other cat body language includes eye contact. Unbroken and constant eye contact may signify that you are challenging them or uncomfortable in their presence – not the message you are going for!

Alternatively, showing that you are relaxed with your eyes will display to them you trust and love them. You can do this by making eye contact and slowly blinking as if drifting off to sleep. These are called “cat kisses.”

Additionally, you can talk to your cat often. Even if they can’t understand you, they will recognize you are speaking to them. If your tone and volume are soft and gentle, they will receive this as a sense of companionship.

2. Quality Time

Owners of even the most aloof cats know that their friend secretly loves them for one glaringly obvious reason – they always seem to be in the same room as them. Even without interaction, they may “coincidently” want to investigate the bathroom when you are brushing your teeth or choose to groom themselves under the dining table as you eat dinner.

You can show your cat you love them by spending this quality time with them too. In this step, be careful not to irritate or anger your cat as they like having time to be unbothered. Instead, if your cat is resting on the couch, shift to quietly sit and work near your cat instead of sitting at your desk to work. General closeness will show your cat that you enjoy being around them and feel safe and comforted in their presence.

orange cat sleeping in owner's lap
Image Credit: Pixabay

3. Be The Provider

One very easy way to show your cat love is to do what you already do every single day, care for them! Making sure your cat has everything they need will certainly let them know you care for them, especially when they can see you giving them things.

For example, while setting an automatic feeder up is very convenient, physically giving your cat their food will help them create a bond with you as they see you as the one who provides for them. Food is the way to a cat’s heart, just another relatable quality about them!

Food, toys, scratching posts, hiding places are all things your cat loves, and they will feel the love when you are the one to give them these things. However, they may not be so grateful when you are the one to lock them up to take them to the vet.

4. Play Goes a Long Way

Playing is essential for cats. It’s a way for them to exhibit some of their natural hunting and predatory behaviors that exist in their DNA but in a domestic setting. It provides excellent exercise and keeps them mentally stimulated, keeping boredom and depression at bay.

Playing is also the way cats bond with each other, especially when they are kittens. Littermates learn a lot of their behaviors from the play between themselves, allowing them to become close.

You can use play to show your cat that you love them, and your cat will love you in return. Interacting in a playful way can be done directly or by using interactive toys. Either way, your cat will start to see you as their favorite toy and will prefer to play with you over some stationary catnip toy.

cat playing with owner
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

5. Show Respect

Many of us cat lovers will be familiar with this scenario…you desperately try to get a cat’s attention by petting, talking, playing, but they unabashedly ignore you just to curl up on the lap of the one person in the room that ignores them! So frustrating!

Cats are famously aloof, and many of them don’t like to be annoyed or bothered, especially when they are trying to rest. Showing respect for your cat’s boundaries will go a very long way in displaying your love for them.

The key to this is understanding their body language. Read when your cat does and does not want to interact and give them the space they need. You will have a lot better relationship with your cat if you show them this basic respect.

6. Treats!

This tip is simple but effective. Offering your cat treats is a great way to show them your affection. The ideal treat is something small and smelly that will pique their interest. Mix up the treats you give to keep things exciting and interesting.

Hand feeding treats can also strengthen your bond and love as it gives your cat a chance to exercise the trust they have in you. Just remember to keep treats in moderation. You don’t want to “kill them with kindness” by putting their health at risk by overeating.

a tabby cat being fed a cat treat by hand
Image Credit: Jakub Zak, Shutterstock

7. Pet Them

Another classic tactic. To do this the right way to exhibit love, learn your cat’s preferences. Find out the places they like to be touched and totally avoid the areas they clearly don’t like to be petted in. The same goes for picking them up; if your cat doesn’t want to be cuddled that way, then don’t!

A good petting session is an unambiguous loving signal from you to your cat. You are directly giving them a delightful physical sensation. Petting also is the only way we can give our cats the feeling that we are grooming them (without a large mouthful of fur), which is also how cats show a close connection.

8. Sleep Together

When any animal sleeps, they are their most vulnerable. When your cat joins you for a nap, they are telling you that they trust you with their entire life. You can try to tell them the same thing by lying next to them for a short rest when they are napping somewhere.

They will see this as a returning sign of trust and love but be careful not to try to interact with them too much as this may irritate them when trying to sleep.

Cat sleeping near woman's head
Image Credit: Marina mrs_brooke, Shutterstock

9. Positive Reinforcement

Something commonly used to strengthen the human bond with dogs, but much less so with cats, is training. Yes, cats are trainable, somethings it is just challenging! If your cat is food-motivated, you can use some of its favorite treats to reinforce some fun behaviors.

Training techniques and positive reinforcement with food or pats can let your cat know you love them by the positive things they gain from the experiences and all the time and attention you lavish them with.

10. Let Them Return the Love

Many of the ways in which cats tell us that they love us are foreign to us; some are even annoying. When your cat wants to show their love by grooming your arm with their sandpaper tongue or kneading your lap with their claws out, you should let them!

Only of the best ways you can show your cat you love them is by letting them love you! When they lean forward to headbutt you, headbutt them back. When they rub up against your leg, don’t move away. Allowing your cat to give their affection will bring you closer together.

tabby cat sleeping on owner's lap
Image By: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

The above ten tips will not only communicate to your cat that you love them it will also build or deepen their love for you and strengthen the bond between you both. However cryptic or cavalier your cat is, you can learn to speak their language to get your message across loud and clear!

Featured Image Credit: Westfale, Pixabay

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