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How Cats Show Affection


Cats who have a good relationship may engage in mutual grooming. It’s a way they show affection to each other and it also helps create a communal scent. In an outdoor environment, this is important since scent plays such a huge role in recognition. Grooming is also a stress-reliever and displacement behavior so allogrooming may help cats keep each other calm.

When your cat starts grooming you, it’s often his way of showing affection and mixing his scent with yours.

Photo: Pexels

Slow Eye Blinks from Cats

This common affectionate display is one way a cat may convey that he is relaxed and comfortable with you. Many cat parents also return the favor by doing a slow eye blink back at the cat.

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Cats Displaying Vulnerable Postures

When a cat takes a stretched out position for resting, it shows he feels comfortable with you. When a cat is uncertain, he tends to tuck his limbs under his body and tightly wraps his tail around himself when resting. For a cat to leave his limbs and tail totally exposed means he feels very secure near you.

If the cat is not in a confrontation, he may also stretch out so much that he’s on his back with his tummy exposed. This is the ultimate in trust and relaxation because he is exposing a very vulnerable body part. Don’t confuse this posture with a cat who is exposing his tummy during a battle. In that particular situation, it’s a defensive position displayed to warn an opponent that should the battle continue, all weapons (teeth and claws) will be used. So when interpreting body postures, you always have to take the immediate environment into account.

Photo: Pam Johnson-Bennett

Upright Tail Flicks

A cat’s tail can tell so much about what the cat is feeling. A tail held high with a little hook at the end usually means your cat is happy and confident. Many cats will also give the tail tip a little flick as a greeting when they see you.

Being in Physical Contact With You

Your cat may sit on your lap, sit next to you, lay on top of you when you’re in bed, or he may just lean his back against your arm as you work on the computer. Just the fact that he wants to be in close physical contact with you is quite the compliment.

Feline Vocalization

Cats can carry on all kinds of conversations and there’s no such thing as a simple meow, but many cats issue a special “mew” or a little chirp when their cat parents enter the room.


  1. Why does my feral cat roll around and lay in her litter box, for a couple of minutes, when she needs to do her job?

  2. Elizabeth Rennick

    My cat persistently uses his right paw to run down down my nose. I’d like to be tolerant but it is most uncomfortable, even though his claws are retracted. I’ve tried giving him a short, sharp slap on the offending paw, but it makes no difference. He just persists with running his paw down my nose.

  3. we have a cat that also does something similar we think he is “Petting” us just as we stroke our cats and they find it pleasurable your cat may be reciprocating the effort. its a sign of affection so why would you slap him for showing his love? celebrate his petting you just as he does yours.

  4. this is a sign of affection, he is “petting” you he likes the feeling of being petted so is trying to give you the same sort of feeling

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