Can cats love humans? It is an age-old question and one that has been hard to answer. Cats’ affections are different from the co-dependant love that most dog owners get to enjoy. Instead, a cat owner may find themselves underwhelmed by their cats bipolar like affection. It can be hard to know where you stand when it comes to a relationship with the cat.
In this article, we are going to jump in feet first and find the answer to can cats love humans. We are going to discuss scientific research that has been done on this topic. Yes, there are scientists who are researching the inner workings of the feline mind. We will then take it to the next level. We will learn how cats are communicating with us and what they are trying to say. I will also discuss how to express love to your cat. That way, communication can go both ways.
Let’s find out if cats can love humans.
Are You Listening? Because Science is talking.
In the past, there was a couple of poorly design studies that concluded that cats did not love their owners. The conclusion to one study was based on the cat’s reaction to a recording of their owner’s voice. The other one was based on their response vs. the response of dogs and babies.
To me, I can see the glaring issue in both of those studies. The first study, I am not sure you can claim that a cat does not have feelings because it did not react to its human’s recorded voice. Often with recordings, voices sound different than they do in real life. Also, if not responding to my voice means something does not love me, I need to have a long conversation with my husband and kids.
The second study is like comparing apples and oranges. It also assumes that cats, dogs, and babies all have the same intelligence. But once again, if something not having the same reaction as something else means the second thing does not love you, then I need to have that conversation with my family seriously.
Luckily, new tests have come out. The conclusions were more positive.
One of the studies took both shelter cats and owned cats and put them in a room where they were alone for two and a half hours. They were then presented with food, water, toys, other animals, and human contact. Fifty percent of the cats chose human interaction. That included the shelter cats. To keep from ranting about shelter cats, I am just going to link an article I wrote on adopting.
The second study had owners leave the house two different times. One for 30 minutes and then again for two hours. It was discovered that most cats reacted with attention-seeking behavior after the more prolonged absence.
Leading one researcher to conclude, “The increased level of social contact initiated by the cats after a longer duration of separation indicates a rebound of contact-seeking behavior, implying that the owner is an important part of the cat’s social environment.”
Both studies show that cats do, in fact, crave human attention. They miss us when we are gone and can not wait for us to come back home. The science is now supporting that cats love humans. We just have to listen.
Does Your Cat Do These Things?
Sometimes, we can miss hearing, I love you. This lack of communication can occur between any two living things. In human relationships, we have learned that people speak different love languages. That is why my husband bringing me a coke when he comes into the room is his way of saying I love you.
With dogs, their affection is, more often than not, obvious. When a dog owner comes home, they feel like a rock star. Their beloved pets turn into a screaming fan.
As cat owners, we have to learn to listen. Fortunate for us there are signs that your cat does love you. And they have been telling you all along.
1) Cuddle on your lap, next to you or sleep on you. My cats love to sleep at my head. I think it is so they can groom me in the middle of the night. But cats cuddle near you because they desire to be close to you.
2) The head rub, or rubbing in general, this is where they rub their head on you. My daughter swears that it is a way for cats to mark us as theirs. I am not sure that is true, but it does feel like affection. A warning here, make sure your mouth is closed tight during the rub. Otherwise, you might develop a hairball.
3) It is all about the tail. If the tail is straight up, she is saying your family. She is comfortable with you and her surroundings. If there is a curve on the end of that tail, they are excited to see you and be near you. Summary: butt+ face= love
4) The cat owners favorite, gifts! What you heard is correct, your cat brought you the dead rat because they love you. Yay! The theory is that cats are trying to teach you how to hunt. They are providing you with their finds and sharing. Basically, they are trying to take care of you.
5)Purring can be a sign of affection. Purring can also signify other feelings. It is best if purring is connected with one of the other indications.
6)Talking to you. I have told this story before. Anytime I left, my cat Gizmo would follow me around the house upon my return. He would follow me room to room meowing at me. This vocalization would go on for a length of time, then he would settle down, and we would resume our routines. He was telling me that he missed me and was worried. So, the next time your cat meows at you, take a moment to hear what he is actually saying.
7)Kneading, which can be painful when the cat still has claws. It is a way that your cat is communicating a feeling of comfort, of contentment, and love. They are telling you that you and they are family.
8)Look deep into their eyes. A cat’s eyes are crucial to their survival. If a cat gives you a slow eye blink, it is considered to be the equivalent of blowing a kiss.
9)Grooming, the language of the Momma Kitty’s love. There is nothing stranger than watching a scary movie in a dark house and all of sudden there is something licking your head. It has happened to me more than once. It was just Olivia letting me know I am loved. She is trying to take care of me. Not that I let her, but I still appreciate the sentiment.
I guess the question you need to ask yourself, have you been “listening”?
How Cats’ Love Differ From Dogs’ Love
Cats are not dogs, and comparing the two is wrong. I am not a dog hater; I have owned dogs before. I even had a doggie soulmate, a huge black lab named Eggo. It is true, I am a cat lover, and I lean more towards cats. But I have loved both with the whole of my heart.
The difference between the two is obvious when it comes to the way they show love. Dogs tend to be in your face. I was not kidding earlier when I stated they turn into rock fans when you come home. They scream, jump, try to kiss, wag their butts so hard you swear the tail is going to fly off.
Cats are more subtle. They are more like an adult relationship. They want to greet you slowly. Communicate their feelings for you in a mature fashion. If a dog’s love is more childlike, then a cat’s love is more like the love between to adults, such as the love between sisters.
And that is ok. Please stop comparing dogs and cats. They both express affection and love. It is a different kind of love. They are two different species, why is it so unimaginable that they speak a different language?
How Do You Express Love To Your Cat?
And so, my fellow Cat People: ask not what your cat can do for you — ask what you can do for your cat. Ok, that was punny. But in a true way. How are you showing your cat affection? Are you communicating love back to your cat?
There are ways to communicate love to your cat. Unfortunately grabbing them and snuggling them as they desperately try to escape is not one of them. You can snuggle with them if they are the kind of kitty that likes cuddles. Gizmo used to let me wrap an arm around him while we watch T.V. Honey Mittens would let me hold him like a baby.
What am I trying to say? Listen to your cat. Learn his language of love and return in kind. If he gives you a slow eye blink, return it. If he rubs his head on you, gently rub your forehead on him. Pet him the way he likes and listen when he lets you know that he does not want to be rubbed a certain way.
This will make sure that the communication of love is heard loud and clear both ways.
Did you know that you can master the art of communicating with cats? You can, I wrote an article to explain how. Check it out.
Personal Story: Olivia, my one eye rescue, likes to perch on the back of my overstuffed catch. The back of the couch is the barrier between the living room and kitchen. Anytime, I go into the kitchen to get a drink, I reach out and rub my hand softly along her body. I would give her another rub on the way back. This show of affection happens several times a day. After a while, she started every so often, reaching out and catching my shirt with her claws. I could not figure out why she was doing it.
One day after a couple of weeks her reaching out spontaneously catching me, I tried to figure what was different about this passing then the last time I had made the trip back from the kitchen. Then like a spark went off in my brain, I was about to pass her without her stroke. After a little intentional experimentation involving intentionally not stroking her; I learned that she was trying to let me know; she needed her stroke. It was the way I had communicated that I love her. And her letting me know she needed it, was her way of telling me she craved my love. Now I make sure to pet her anytime I walk by.
As you can see, sometimes it can take a moment. But with a little hard work, you can learn to speak cat.
Can Cats Love Humans?
Yes, of course, they can. Cats can and do bond with humans. They want our touch and attention. They miss us when we are gone and are happy when we come home. They attempt to express this mutual affection in several different ways. It is up to us to hear what they are trying to say. We have to learn their love language.
If you are a cat owner, in fairness, you probably already knew the answer. Your fluffy bottom has shown you in a dozen ways that you are, his and that anti-cat person in your life tried to make you feel crazy. Do not allow it! It is ok not to need the consent reassurance of a dog’s love. In fact, that can be one of the joys of a cat, is not having something in your face begging for your undivided attention.
Enjoy your feline’s love. Bask in its glow. Make sure that you are returning the love appropriately.
How does your cat show you love? How do you show your cat love? Leave me a comment below. I am excited to share in your stories and adventures as we move forward in trying to understand our soft kitties.
Until next time, be the light in the world!