Do cats have any feelings for their owners?
9th July, 2019
We all love our cats but have you ever felt the feeling’s not mutual? Do our feline friends really love us as much as we love them?
With around 8 million of us owning a cat here in the UK, we definitely like having them around. And we like to spoil them, too – according to a recent IAMS UK survey, cat owners splash out a whopping £7.9 million on their furry friends each year, with some even buying their pampered puss a present each and every month!
Do they really appreciate all this affection? How can we tell if our cats love us back? Are they as loyal as dogs and are they ever protective of their owners?
Do cats love their owners?
If you’ve been a long-time cat owner, you’ll have no doubt that cats really do love their humans – you’ve just got to learn how to read the signs!
The way cats shows affection is slightly less obvious than how a dog will demonstrate its love – our canines can rarely keep their cool when it comes to showing how they feel, constantly following us around or barking uncontrollably with excitement as we approach the front door.
Cats are a little more sophisticated and subtle with their signs of appreciation so you just need to work a little harder to spot them.
Here are five common signs that say your cat is happy and content:
- Purring and talking
Although our furry friends can’t actually talk to us (well, Tiggy might disagree!), they can use vocalisation to communicate their feelings. Purring is one of the most recognised cat behaviours and means that they really love their bonding time with you.
- Exposing their tummy
If your cat walks into the room and flops down in front of you, showing you its belly, this isn’t a sign of rudeness – it’s a sign of vulnerability. According to Catster, some new owners take this open body language as a sign that the cat wants its belly rubbed, but actually the opposite might be true.
A cat’s stomach is a very delicate place and by showing it to you in reinforces the trust in the relationship. Don’t break it by diving in for a stroke!
- Winking and blinking
Have you ever experienced a cat kiss? Purina describes this as when a cat looks at you through half-opened eyelids and slowly blinks again and again. This isn’t a sign that they’ve got something in their eye – it means they love you, so why not reciprocate?
- Exploring their environment
Have you ever wished your cat would come and curl up beside you but it just seems to be wandering from one room to another? Don’t worry, they’re not trying to ignore you.
It’s only when cats feel comfortable with their humans and their environment that they explore confidently and openly. You wouldn’t want them cowering in the kitchen, now would you?
- Pawing and head-butting
Head-butting might not seem the friendliness way to show affection but this is a behaviour learned when cats are very young. Head-butting and cheek rubbing are both ways of scenting their human and signalling to other cats that you’re theirs and theirs alone!
When it comes to pawing or kneading, this is another way that cats show contentment but it might be a little uncomfortable for their owner, especially if they’re wearing thin clothing!
As Purina explains, when kittens feed they knead at their mothers to increase milk supply so when they do it in later life, it’s definitely a sign of affection.
As the RSPCA points out, other general body language that shows your cat is happy includes:
- Standing in a relaxed posture with its ears in a natural position, upright tail with the tip curled and mouth closed
- Lying on the floor, stretching out with its tummy on show
- Sitting in a normal position with eyes and ears relaxed and tail curling out loosely from the body
But on the flip side, here are some signs that your puss is worried, angry or in distress:
- Crouching down low
- Tail tucked in
- Ears pressed flat to the head or pointing out to the side
- Mouth open and tense, displaying teeth
- Standing with an arched back, front paw poised to swipe at any moment
Remember that protecting your cat with quality cat insurance can help with the cost of vet bills if your feline should get into any accidents or scrapes while its out and about.
Are cats protective of their owners?
When we think of protecting our families, guard dogs – rather than cats – usually spring to mind. But in the case of Tara the tabby from Bakersfield in California, it was definitely a brave feline to the rescue!
As the BBC reported, a four-year-old boy was attacked by a neighbour’s dog as he was riding his bike in the front garden. Thankfully, the brave tabby jumped to his owner’s aid, taking a swipe at the dog and forcing it to run for home.
Are cats loyal to their owners?
The image of a loyal dog waiting for its owner to come home is all too familiar, but rarely do we see cats doing the same. But this doesn’t mean they’re not loyal to their human families – they just show it in a different way.
Although cats appear to be autonomous and that they don’t ‘need’ their humans, this doesn’t mean they can’t be loyal.
Ragdoll cats, Ragamuffin cats and Siberian cats have been noted as particularly loyal breeds that behave more like dogs, following their owners around and loving regularly contact.
But if you treat your puss with respect and love and take care of their health needs, you should have a loyal companion for many years to come.
Protect your pet with cat insurance
If looked after properly, your feline friend will be a loyal companion for many years of your life. That’s why it’s so important to protect your puss with cat insurance from Purely Pets.
You can choose from Accident Only, 12-Month and Lifetime cover, giving you the flexibility to choose the policy that’s right for you and your budget.
Other policy benefits include a 24-hour vet helpline should you need to speak to a vet and Manage My Policy, which enables you to access your policy 24 hours a day, so you can manage it at a time that suits you.
Getting a quote is quick and easy – but don’t just take our word for it. Read some of the customer reviews for our cat insurance on Trustpilot to learn how simple it is to protect your pet for less.