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how to say i love you to your cat

15 Ways to Tell Your Cat You Love Them in Cat Language

Cats have their own very special ways to express affection and once you decode their love language, you can easily say “I love you” to your cat in a way they’ll understand.

And once you understand your cat’s expressions of affection, you’ll build a stronger bond with your very best fur friend.

Check out the Cat Bonding Guide here to learn more

Here are a few purr-fect ways to tell your cat how much you love them.

15 Ways to Say I Love You to Your Cat

1. Blink Slowly and Gaze Lovingly Into Her Eyes

Your cat might not appreciate being showered with kisses (and she may think you’re a little crazy if you try), but you can “kiss” her kitty style by meeting her loving gaze.

One way that cats show affection is by looking at someone they trust and slowly closing their eyes. You can return this display by getting on her level, meeting her gaze, and slowly blinking back at her. Kitty will know exactly what you are trying to say.

2. Mimic Her Voice

If you’re the parent of a chatty kitty, you may notice that she has special meows, coos, or trills that she reserves especially for the humans that she’s close to.

Imitate her sounds during a tender moment. She will understand it as a display of affection from you, and you’ll be helping her feel safe, secure, and loved.

3. Let Her Rub On You

Have you ever wondered why your cat rubs against your leg or butts her head against you? Cats have special scent glands located on their cheeks and heads.

When your kitty rubs against you, she’s paying you the ultimate compliment of leaving her scent behind and claiming you as part of her family.

You can accept this gesture by allowing her to claim you. Lean into her little kitty head bonks, nuzzle your face into hers, and don’t move away as she’s winding herself around your legs.

You may even be able to initiate the behavior yourself to some extent. While it’s probably not going to go well if you try to head butt your cat, you can extend your index finger towards her nose to give her the opportunity to rub her cheeks along your hand.

4. Groom Her

Photo of black BISSELL De-Shedding Grooming Gloves

Grooming is another way cats spread their scent to create a sense of family and belonging. While imitating her actions exactly wouldn’t be a good idea (unless you want to wind up with a mouth full of fur), you can still show your love by “grooming” her, human style.

Try brushing her gently, using a de-shedding tool like this one. Or, you can pet her with a pair of grooming gloves like these from BISSELL®, if she seems to prefer that.

Some cats even enjoy having a warm, damp cloth rubbed along their heads and backs since it takes them back to the tongue baths their moms gave them when they were kittens.

5. Don’t Skip the Vet

Okay, so your cat may not interpret a trip to the vet as a sign of affection, but she won’t hold it against you either! And even though going to the vet is probably not your cat’s favorite thing to do, it is paws down one of the best ways you can show you care.

Cats are masters at hiding signs of sickness and discomfort. Without regular visits to the vet, you could miss an important chance to diagnose and treat small health issues before they become big ones.

Say “I love you” to your cat by taking care of her health so that she can enjoy a long, happy life with her favorite human!

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6. Give Them Space

Although you might want to hug and squeeze your cat to show them love and affection, cats aren’t always in the mood for that much hands-on attention.

If your cat is giving you signs that they need space, respect the boundaries they set. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They may just need some alone time!

7. Gently Massage Them

Most cats love a gentle massage. I used to spend quality time with my cat, Turtle, every night. I would read my book and she would cuddle up as I gently massaged her.

This is also a great opportunity to do a wellness check and look for any abnormal bumps or scrapes.

8. Give Them Boredom Busters

Cats are naturally curious and active. When they don’t have opportunities to keep their minds busy, they often develop stress, which can lead to a state of anxiety.

Giving your cat interactive toys or perches to watch birds and squirrels will help to keep their mind occupied and ward off boredom, especially if they’re left at home alone all day.

There are two cat trees I specifically recommend. They’re both beautiful and modern and don’t look like your typical ugly carpeted perches.

This one is budget-friendly. I love it because it provides a den, a perch, and interactive toys all in one.

Petpals Cat Perch


If you want a more luxurious version, I highly recommend this one from Mau Pets. Each tree is handmade and hence, unique. The basket covers are washable and nearly every part of the tree is replaceable.

Even the beds can be purchased separately if you decide to swap colors or if your cat damages them.

Mau Cento Cat Tree


9. Let Them Hunt!

Cats are natural-born hunters. Even domesticated cats have the natural instinct to hunt and kill their prey. Your cat will know you love them when you encourage this behavior and give them plenty of opportunity to hunt safely indoors.

One of my favorite indoor hunting activities for cats is Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder. It’s an inexpensive way to show your cat how much you understand their need for hunting prey.

Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder


10. Introduce Change at Their Pace

Cats love routine. When you bring a new person or animal into their life, it might seem a bit disrespectful to them at first.

Give your cat time to get used to new things. For example, if you get a new cat, let them sniff each other through a door for some time before making official introductions. You may even separate them for several days, only feeding them on opposite sides of the door, until they get used to each other.

If you normally leave a door open, don’t close it just because you have guests. This may signal to your cat that you’re limiting their territory and they become stressed.

11. Address Their Anxiety with Pheromones

What we might think of as bad behavior (peeing outside the box, for instance), may actually be anxiety.

Always address the cause of your cat’s anxiety. This article on cat anxiety may help. And then work to restore your cat’s peace of mind.

Pheromone therapy can help. I have used Feliway pheromone diffusers for years. They’re veterinary recommended and mimic a mother cat’s calming pheromones.

Feliway Optimum is my favorite and what I used most with my cats.

Feliway Optimum Diffuser


12. Give Them Running Water

It’s no secret cats love running water! One reason is that drinking out of bowls can affect their whiskers.

Cats sense their world, in part, by using their whiskers. When their whiskers hit the edge of their bowl too frequently, they can end up with whisker fatigue, or whisker stress. Essentially, they have sensory overload.

Water fountains made for cats can help combat this problem, without needing to leave your faucet on and rack up a hefty water bill!

I love the Catit line of fountains. Harriet from the Pet Living family agrees!

Harriet loves her Catit fountain.


13. Give Them a Zen Zone

Cats need to have their own space, one that’s really their own, where they can feel calm and secure. This might be a room or a corner of a room, or it could be a cat cave.

Wherever you or your cat choose to create this shelter, it should be a place that remains relatively unchanged so your cat has a stable place to relax when feeling stressed.

Never punish your cat by confining them to their zen zone!

14. Don’t Force Them to Interact

We all love to show off our pets. But for cats, forced interaction, especially with people they don’t know, can cause a lot of discomfort and stress.

Even when it’s just the two of you, your cat may simply want some alone time. Try not to take offense at this. Your cat will know you love them when you give them space when needed.

15. Appreciate Their True Cat Nature

One of the best ways to show your cat you love them is to just let them be themselves! Cats are not really that mysterious once you start to understand their nature.

One of my favorite books is Decoding Your Cat. It’s written by a group of veterinary behaviorists, who are essentially psychiatrists for pets! They are veterinarians who specialize in animal behavior.


Veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Lisa Radosta, has helped me tremendously through the years with my pets’ behavior issues. Check out a few more of her recommended cat behavior resources:

Dr. Lisa Radosta shares her favorite cat behavior books with me.

Does My Cat Love Me? 5 Ways to Tell

Once you’ve shown your cat how much you love her, she’ll likely return in kind. So what kind of behavior should you look for to know if your cat is head over tail in love with you? 

1. The “Cat Kiss”

As mentioned, cats “kiss” by gazing into your eyes. If you’ve tried taking the lead in this and your cat hasn’t responded, it doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t love you! She may want to be the one to make the first move.

Keep an “eye” out for signs she’s giving you the “cat kiss” and be sure to reciprocate. 

2. She Sleeps with You

Sleeping is probably one of your cat’s favorite activities! If she chooses to share this with you, nestling in under the covers or across your chest, it’s a sign she loves you. 

3. She Shows Off Her Rear

Oddly enough, your cat sticking her butt in your face can be a sign of love and affection! Cats use their tails to express their feelings, so a straight-up tail that’s gently swaying, exposing her rear end, indicates she’s ready for attention and affection. 

4. She’s “Bunting”

Bunting is when your cat pushes her head and face into you. It means she accepts you as part of her cat crew. It’s also an opportunity for her to leave her pheromones on you, something cats will do to show affection to other cats.

While you won’t be able to smell her pheromones, it will make her happy to include you in her inner circle. 

5. Purring

Purring may be one of the sweetest experiences a cat parent can have. When your kitty is content, she’ll purr that deep hum that makes your heart melt. 

Be aware though, that some cats purr when they’re anxious or nervous. So you’ll need to carefully monitor your cat’s behavior and make sure she isn’t displaying other signs of cat anxiety

FAQs About Telling Your Cat You Love Them

Can you make your cat love you?

Cats are discerning creatures, and you can’t force your cat to love you. Disrespecting her personal space — or going too far the other way and ignoring her completely — won’t contribute to your human-feline friendship.

However, you can take the steps mentioned here to slowly build a bond with your cat — on her terms, of course!

How do cats pick their person?

Sometimes it may seem like cats pick the least “cat person” to attach themselves to. But in reality, cats typically choose the person who most understands their unique cat behavior, even if they don’t consider themselves a “cat person.”

They may even unconsciously mimic cat behavior, a signal to a cat that the person understands them. Bottom line, if you want to be chosen as your cat’s person, make a good effort to understand cat behavior!

Does my cat miss me when I’m gone?

The short answer is, possibly! Cats love routine and consistency. So if you’re usually around and now you’re not, chances are, your cat misses you.

What’s more, in a survey of more than 3,000 cat parents, about 1 in 10 cats showed signs of separation anxiety.

When you understand cat behavior well, you can easily identify signs that signal your cat is stressed when you’re not around.

Does my cat recognize my voice?

Yes! Studies show that cats recognize their owner’s voice. Now, whether your cat decides to mind you or not, that’s another story!

The Tail End

Cats are some of the most wonderful companions! When you take the time to understand and decode your cat’s behavior, you can expect a wonderful bond to blossom between the two of you.

Speaking of bonding… be sure to grab my free guide, How to Bond with Your Cat.

Download the FREE Cat Bonding Ebook

Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience in the industry. She's helped millions of pet parents provide the best care at every stage of their pet’s life.

Her blog, Pet Living with Kristen Levine has been featured in Pop Sugar, Good Housekeeping, New York Times, USA Today, and more.

She's also the founder of FWV Fetching, the first marketing agency exclusively serving pet and animal health companies.

Her early work with the SPCA led her to a lifelong career in the pet industry, advocating for pet adoption and rescue as well as for pets and their parents here on her blog and in the media.

She’s frequently booked on satellite media tours and national shows, like FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, and Daytime, to talk about pet trends and new products.

Insanely passionate about pets since she was a little girl, Kristen has had more than 30 pets in her lifetime — including dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, a horse, a gerbil, mice, and chickens!

In 2022, she launched to help pet parents keep pet homes clean -- to love more, stress less.

Kristen is married and lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her dog Tulip.

This Post Has 107 Comments

  1. That’s why I love my cats so much. And although I have a lot of scratches in my hands, I still call it art and love language.

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