10 Ways To Show Your Cat You Love Them

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A split view of a cat owner holding their orange cat in their arms, and the orange cat looking straight into the camera

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I admit that I tell my cats “I love you!” an embarrassing number of times daily. I expect many cat lovers out there can relate.

Obviously, they don’t understand me—cats have many clever and subtle ways of communicating, but speaking human language is not one of them. So, how do we show our gorgeous felines that we adore them and would do anything for them?

Quick Overview


Cats can form strong social bonds and are good at interpreting signs of affection from humans.


The best ways to show your cat you love them is cuddling them, playing with them, grooming them, and offering tasty treats.


Cats show their love by maintaining easy eye contact with plenty of slow blinks, something you can do back to them to show you love them.

Well, it turns out there are several ways to communicate our affection in a way that our cats can understand, from spending quality time with them to utilizing our knowledge of feline communication.

Here are some top ways to leave your cat feeling loved and adored, just as they should be, and some ways cats love us back.

1. The Love Blink

Do you ever seen your cat looking sleepy and relaxed, eyes half closed but looking at you when they give a series of slow blinks? Congratulations, your cat loves you! That relaxed, sleepy stare with slow blinking is a top sign of affection in cats. You can up the love factor by reciprocating some slow blinks back and your cat will feel the warm fuzzies.

2. Share Some Space

Studies of cat behavior show us that cats who are strongly bonded to another cat spend a lot of time together, often physically touching—grooming, sleeping, and playing. Spending time having a cuddle with your cat, stroking and petting them will not only give your cat pleasure at the attention but also strengthen the bond between kitty and cat parents.

Allowing your cat to head butt you and rub their head and face against you also releases pheromones from their scent glands, which encourage feelings of love, comfort, and safety. Embrace the cat snuggle!

3. Playtime

Many cats love to play, and some active fun is excellent both for bonding, enrichment, and exercise! My top tips are to keep rotating the cat toys so that your cat doesn’t get bored of using, say, the laser pointer every day, and to spend some time working out what their favorite type of play is.

It’s no use trying to get them interested in a wand toy when they really want a mouse on a string, and vice versa. This might take some trial and error at first, but most cats will find some toys to suit them and how they want to play. So, what are you waiting for? Dig out the cat toys and get playing!

4. Grooming

Many cat enjoy the feeling of you brushing them and it’s an act that can communicate your affection.

Cats are often good at performing their own coat maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a little help. Feral cats who are bonded to each other often allogroom, which is when they spend some time licking and grooming each other, often purring as they do so. If you’re not in the habit of grooming your cat, go gently at first and slowly build up the experience.

Your cat will show you with their body language if they’re enjoying it, and once they’re accustomed to it will often make the first move to encourage a grooming session from you. Regular grooming is also an excellent opportunity to check their coat for matts, wounds, or any skin problems.

5. Enrichment

Even the most dedicated cat owner is unlikely to be able to be with their cat all day, every day. Cats can get bored and lonely, so show the love by providing them with some enrichment. A cat tree, cat toys, a scratching post—even a cardboard box! Making sure they have some entertainment will keep your cat happier and help prevent undesirable behaviors that arise from boredom and frustration.

6. Catnip

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a herb, belonging to the mint family. It is beloved by all sorts of feline species from our domestic cats to their big cat cousins. It is a natural mood enhancer, and cats generally go wild for it.

Individual responses vary, with some cats becoming euphoric and hyperactive, with others have a drowsier and sleepier reaction. Catnip can be given directly to cats, placed onto a cat bed, rubbed into or inside toys, or sprinkled on the floor around scratching posts or cat trees.

7. Cat Treats

Some cats are real foodies, constantly looking to see if their food bowl has been refilled and giving a hopeful meow if a cupboard is opened. Treating your kitty to some tasty cat snacks can be a lovely way to bond and show love as they purr away at their good fortune. Remember to feed in moderation, though, as obesity is a real and growing problem in the feline population.

8. Cat Communication

Understanding feline body language can help you better communicate with your cat.

Learning how to communicate with your cat is both fascinating and useful when forming a strong pet-owner bond. Cats use subtle body language, behavior, and facial expressions to tell us their mood and intent, and being able to read these signs is essential to understand when your cat wants affection, when they want to be left alone, and when they want to play.

Cats hate to be ignored, and responding appropriately to your cat’s signals will show them how much you care. Learn more about feline communication methods to become a cat-chat guru!

9. Let Yourself Be Chosen

Cats can show their love for us in mysterious ways, and this makes it easy to accidentally rebuff their advances. Most cat people are used to head bunting, being kneaded with their claws, cats twining between your legs, and even having a cat butt presented into your face.

These are all a sign of love from cats, believe it or not. It’s easy to misread some of these signs, and walk away, but once you realize that your cat is just trying to show their love, it’s somehow much easier to tolerate these somewhat odd behaviors.

10. Take Them to the Veterinarian

This may not seem like an act of love, and your cat certainly might not take it as one, but an important part of pet ownership is keeping your cat as healthy and happy as you can. Regular checkups with a veterinarian, including vaccinations and parasite prevention, are all part of responsible pet ownership and the highest form of love you can show.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of ways to show your cat that you love them, according to pet experts. Cats are affectionate creatures and love to spend time with those that they are close to, and absolutely love receiving attention in return. Giving some love the cat way is easy. In essence, you need to channel your inner feline and be more cat: grooming, playing, cuddling, and eating treats. It’s not a bad life, really!

Also Read: 7 Signs Your Cat Is Not Getting Enough Love

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I show my cat I love her?

Show your cat some love by spending time with them: cuddling, playing, and grooming. Allow them to sleep on you and be in contact with you, and give them plenty of long, slow blinks.

What is I love you in cat language?

Cats show their love by maintaining an easy eye contact with plenty of slow blinks. They also love to headbutt and rub their faces on you, which releases loving and happy pheromones.

How do you make your cat say I love you?

You can’t force love, but the best way to bond with your cat is to spend lots of time with them: playing, grooming, stroking, and snuggling. A loving cat will show affection through slow blinks, physical contact, and rubbing their face on you.

Do cats know they are loved?

Cats can form strong social bonds and are good at interpreting signs of affection such as grooming, playing, and cuddling. Show your cat some love by giving them some long, slow blinks and plenty of time and attention.

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About Dr. Lizzie Youens BSc (Hons) BVSc MRCVS

Lizzie has worked in companion animal practice for over ten years, in a variety of roles from small rural branch surgeries to large hospital environments. She also enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her young daughters. She covers cat behavior, nutrition, health, and other topics for Cats.com.

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4 thoughts on “10 Ways To Show Your Cat You Love Them”

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  1. Sarah

    I married a man with two cats and they are my first cat pets. One is the “alpha” and the other is hesitant to come to me when the first one is around. Is there a way to get them both on the couch with me to pet and play with them — or encourage the timid one come to me even if the alpha is in the room?

    Also, the alpha loves to sit behind me and “groom” my hair, pulling out the strands and licking my head and face. Do we know if that behavior means anything?

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hi Sarah, that’s a really interesting question! I’ll answer your second question first. This is called “allogrooming”, and it’s a very common—and normal—bonding behavior that cats engage in with their friends and family members. It means your cat likes you! To the first question, does your more timid cat have a cat tree or any other elevated platform in the living room/room with the couch? I think if you can include an elevated platform like a tree or cat shelves in that family area, your cat will feel more comfortable joining the family). Once they’re comfortable sitting and watching the family from above, they may start to feel more comfortable joining you on the couch, but it might take time.