My cat loves me. Well, I’m pretty sure my cat at least likes me. Okay, I know for certain my cat tolerates me. What is love, anyway? How can we tell if our cats share the same fondness for us that we feel for them?

I interviewed countless (okay, it was only a few) cat lovers to identify ten ways cats demonstrate devotion and express affection for their human family members. Without further ado, here are 10 signs your cat loves you (or at least likes you).

1. Cozying up to you at the best times. Or the worst.

The fact that your cat chooses to lay with, beside or on top of you signals cherishment. Whether it’s 8 p.m. or 2 a.m., those four paws padding across your face are drumbeats to your heart.

2. Lovingly staring and blinking kitty kisses.

To lose yourself in the eyes of another, that is the essence of being in love. Or it’s a glaring threat. Maybe even a peering analysis of how you’d taste. I’ll stick with the kitty kisses. Oh, and don’t stare back. Too risky.

3. Head butts and rubs.

Cats secrete pheromones from their forehead. These pheromones are typically used to mark territory and possessions. Love has been described as locking up your heart and throwing away the key. Consider yourself kitty captured.

4. Permitting you to rub their belly.

If a cat lets you rub their underside, consider yourself adored. If you try to do this without permission, you’ll only try it once. Or so I’ve heard.

5. Watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns with you.

Anyone who will sit through sappy soaps and dramas must love you dearly. I’m not saying your cat is actually viewing these romantic programs, I’m just observing that your cat is there. Showing up is half the battle; staying there is the rest.

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6. Stalking you.

Stalking equals love. Don’t think of stalking as if you’re prey; think of it as your cat needs to eat and you’re the love meal.

7. Helping you work.

Whether a cat rubs against your pen when you’re writing or drawing, taps a few keys when you’re typing or adds an extra column to a spreadsheet, it’s because they care for you. If you happen to lose 7,000 words of a paper, it’s because you can do better. Plus, a cat’s purpose is to remind us there’s more to life than work; there’s napping.

8. Intimidating the other pets.

My cats rule our dogs, hamsters and fish. I suspect their master plan is if the other animals fear them, they’ll score more couch time with the humans. It’s working.

9. Monitoring your bathing.

My cats like to loiter outside the shower. If that's not love, it’s indisputably ensuring we’re clean. And no, they don’t like baths.

10. Allowing children to dress them up and parade them in a doll stroller.

I know this is specific to my cats, but my daughters created many special experiences at the expense of my cat’s dignity. I’m forever indebted to the patience and affection my kitties showered on my baby girls.

Our cats love us. They express their feelings through a variety of behaviors, actions, and sensations. I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve shared with the cats I’ve been blessed to have in my life. Now if I could only shake the shadowy feeling I’m being watched and get an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Mar 30, 2016

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