Do Cats Have Feelings? Does Your Cat Really Love You?

do cats have feelings
beautiful young woman 20 years with a fluffy red cat

Do cats have feelings? This is a question asked by many pet parents, and I hope to shed some light on this in the following article. Cats have become part of our lives for thousands of years and a popular choice of pet in the modern world. Does your kitty really love you though? Keep reading as I uncover the truth about your kitty’s show of affection.

Does your cat love you?

Love is one of the most basic emotions humans have. Though your cat is unable to express her love in the same way as you, she’ll show it in many other ways. Unlike her canine friends, your cat won’t jump up and plant slobbery kisses all over you. Instead, She’ll show her love in more subtle ways.

Rubbing her body against your legs, gazing at you with slow blinks, or purring are a few typical ways your cat will demonstrate affection. Cheek rubbing is a definite sign of affection. Your cat has scent glands on her cheeks, and rubbing her face against yours is her way of marking you. It means she’s giving off signals you belong to her!

The need to feel safe and why your cat gets so attached

do cats feel love

All animals including us have a basic need to feel safe and secure. Your cat probably cuddles up to you on your lap as it gives her a sense of security. Cats would do the same in feral colonies, by sleeping close to one another.

If your kitty rolls on her back, exposing her tummy, she trusts you and feels very safe. Licking, or gently biting your hand is another sure sign your cat feels secure and happy in your company.

Does purring mean your cat loves you?

The most soothing, comforting sound is that of your kitty purring. I’ve mentioned previously in another post the healing properties of a cat’s purr. Some kitties including mine purr so loudly it can sound like a formula one car revving up!
Is this a sign your cat loves you? While no one has yet asked their cat and got a sensible answer, we can only guess!

Purring is definitely a sign of affection and most cat parents will agree it’s shows love for their human companion. Cats not only purr in the company of their owners but also other cats. This could indicate it’s also a social, bonding thing.

Do cats get anxiety separation?

do cats have feelings and suffer anxiety separation

Anxiety separation is a feeling of abandonment experienced by adults, children, and dogs. Many people still regard cats as loners, only using their owners as a means to an end. However, studies have shown that cats also suffer anxiety separation.

If your cat is clingy and follows you everywhere when you get home, this may indicate fear of being left alone. If you have other pets it can help reduce these feelings, but some kitties form very strong bonds with their owners.

 

Of course, you have to leave the house at some point, but knowing your kitty is suffering can make you feel bad. Signs your cat has anxiety separation include standing between you and the door, inappropriate soiling, and not eating. She may also greet you on your return by rubbing against your legs constantly as you try and navigate into the living room!

Scratching at the door when you’ve just left the house or excessive meowing are signs of extreme anxiety. These behaviours just go to show, cats do have feelings. Though they may not feel in the same way we do, nonetheless, they are emotions. Installing a Feliway diffuser can help in some cases, though not all cats are sensitive to it. Getting help from an animal behaviourist may be a good idea if your cat is very anxious, but talk to your vet first.

Do cats feel lonely?

do cats feel lonely

As you’ve just learnt, cats are capable of experiencing anxiety at being left on their own. Although felines are not pack animals, they often dislike solitude. Just like people though, this varies. Some breeds are more prone to loneliness such as siamese, while others fare better. If kittens are adopted, most rescue centres will insist that siblings are not separated.

Doing so would cause anxiety and loneliness. Yes, cats can form strong bonds with each other, and separating a family can be traumatic. Can you imagine being torn away from a brother or sister you’ve been with since a baby?

Your cat can also suffer the loneliness of grief. The death of another pet in the household could make your cat pine and feel lonely. Replacing the cat or dog that died isn’t the answer. Relationships even in the animal world take time to form. If your kitty had a good relationship with the deceased pet, she may show signs of grieving, including loss of appetite, meowing, or staring as if waiting for their return.

Even if your pets didn’t get on well, the loss of one can still cause loneliness. Depression in cats isn’t unheard of, and your kitty may sink into a depressive state. If she goes off her food for more than a few days, there’s a danger of liver disease. Tempt your grieving cat with a few favourite treats. Cook a piece of boned chicken or fish, and hand feed her if all else fails.

Cats can also grieve for the death of a human member of the family. Even if they’re alive and well, and only moved away, your cat doesn’t understand. She’s still missing her companion and grieving for the loss.

Your cat is basically just a toddler!

Cats are like toddlers and display similar emotions such as fear, aggression, and jealousy. Your kitty may display affection when she’s in a playful mood. Teasing you by running off with one of your socks is an example. Mine does that and loves the game! I’m certain toddlers do similar cute things to amuse their parents!

Just as a toddler gets jealous if a playmate has a toy they want, so your kitty shows similar feelings. For example, your cat hates it when you talk on the phone and paws you constantly. She sees the phone as a rival for your affections. It’s the same if you’re trying to work on the laptop and your furry friend plonks herself on the keyboard!

Just as toddlers may fear unfamiliarity, so your kitty has the same instinct. Loud noises such the vacuum cleaner or fireworks can make your kitty run off in terror. Mine hides under the bed when I vacuum the living room! Fear is a very basic feeling that all animals have. It serves to protect and triggers the release of adrenaline. The fight or flight response is in all of us including your kitty!

Can cats pick up on energy?

do cats feel energy

It’s long believed that cat’s are sensitive to energy. Have you ever noticed how your kitty picks up on how you feel? Some cats seem more intune with their owners than others, but it’s not uncommon for a cat to offer comfort if you’re feeling upset. It’s often thought that cats couldn’t care less but it’s been shown many times how a cat is able to provide comfort.

No one knows if they understand a crying face, but a study carried out at a university in Michegan showed cats responded to a smiling face differently to a frowning one. Though only a small experiment with just 12 cats and their owners, it did show a sensitivity to emotion.

We all know dogs are eager to please, but cats are thought to be more selfish. If there’s something in it for them they’ll be right by your side for a cuddle or treat. We now know cats are just as capable as dogs of reading human faces and have a basic understanding of emotion. However, what they do with that information is another matter!!

Is your cat showing affection or just out for what she can get?

So now you’ve found answers to the question “do cats have feelings?” Though, your kitty is probably very attached to you, she doesn’t have the same intellectual capability to feel love in the same way us humans do. Your cat may purr and snuggle up to you. She may rub against your legs or headbut you, but her feelings are more to do with security. This doesn’t mean your fur baby has no feeling for you. She probably has a strong emotional bond that’s the closet equivalent of feline love. Cat behaviour is highly complex and knowing what your cat is trying to tell you can be hard.

In this post we’ve looked at at a range of emotions cats demonstrate. Your kitty is a highly intelligent being and will probably show all of these at one time or another. Though your cat’s brain is tiny doesn’t mean she’s not capable of feelings. Always treat your cat with the love she deserves and you’ll be rewarded with showers of kitty love!

Please share any thoughts and experiences, and leave your comments below.

Wishing you a purrfect day:)
Kathy

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10 comments

  1. Hey Kathy,
    Another amazing Cat Post for cat lovers. I loved it.

    Yes, cats have feelings. When I am away from Suzy she feels sad for sure and that can be translated with her reactions when I come back home. Cats can actually feel bored, anxiety and even sad as recent studies proved. However, there are so many people prefer dogs because they show all these feelings out loud. But, what they don’t understand, cats have their own language that is different than dogs. If you understand our cats we can see and feel all these feelings!

    1. Thank you Mohammad:) I can relate to Suzy’s reactions at being alone with my cat. I’m at home a lot but when I go out for more than a few hours, he greets me enthusiastically as if I’ve been away for days! You are so right as those who prefer dogs often believe cats are aloof which isn’t really true. Just because cats are quieter doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings:)

  2. I love your article. I have a rescue cat and would not trade him for the world. He waits at the door for me to come home. He plays fetch, loves his belly scratched, lays under my blanket next to my stomach a night to sleep. gets made at my caregivers till they give him his treat 5-days a week, and gets jealous of me when I am on my computer and has to get between me and my work for attention. And when I pay attention to him and forget about my computer work get wants nothing to do with me till I am back on my computer. He purrs so loud I can hear him in my bedroom on my bed when I am in the living room next door.
    His name is Miracle and he is almost three. He is a tuxedo cat with bright yellow eyes. I love him so much and will not know what to do if I ever lost him. For his love is without end and unconditional.

    1. Thank you Lori! I also have a tuxedo cat, and I’m sure they’re the most affectionate breed! My cat also curls up next to me in bed, and sits on my lap when I’m working! Miracle is a lovely name and I love the sound of his bright, yellow eyes 🙂 Your kitty sounds very similar to mine with his loud purring:)

  3. Yes cats definitely do have feelings but they often express them in different ways. My wife and I have had three tomcats over a 30 year time span and each one expressed their feelings differently but strangely enough not one of them expressed their feelings with loud purrs. However they made up for this in others ways, rubbing themselves against one’s legs, loud meowing to demand food or to be let out, sleeping on your bed etc! Lovely creatures whose company I miss but not their vet bills!

    1. Thank you James. I’ve also had the pleasure of owning many cats over the years, and you’re so right as each one had a completely different personality. My cat who I’ve now had for 2 years is a rescue and follows me everywhere! He was neglected by an animal hoarder and probably never lost the fear of being ignored!:) Not all cats purr loudly, and happy to hear yours expressed their feelings in other ways:)

  4. Thanks for this.
    It made me understand cats a little.
    I’m not a cat person, really. The truth– I’m scared of cats.
    I got scratched once, probably that’s the reason why.

    I find them adorable though– and like their attitude as if they don’t care!
    But reading your post, mentioning that they do have a feeling–
    somehow cleared it up.

    1. Thank you MINA:) Sorry to hear of your bad experience with a cat. Yes, they can scratch as I know all to well ha ha! However, it’s rarely out of aggression and more often attention seeking or play. I’m glad I helped you understand that cats have feelings, even though they can appear aloof:)

  5. Hi Kathy, thank you for your very detailed and well-written article. I agree that cats have feelings. While reading, I realized that cats are considered to be introverts, and dogs are thought of as extroverts. It seems that dogs are more popular than cats, and I think it might be that there are more extroverted humans than introverted humans.

    I’m an introvert. I very much prefer cats, and I’ve seen them run through the range of emotions that you detailed. Countless of my happiest memories have been with cats, including one that I grew up with. I haven’t had my own cat since I was 20, but it’s great getting to visit other people’s cats sometimes.

    I’m happy to have found out about your website.

    1. Thank you James:) Yes, it really does seem that cats have a more introverted nature as they’re often quieter. However, that certainly doesn’t apply to some breeds like Siamese! Yes, dogs are still the most popular pet, but cats are fast catching up. I think modern lifestyles make owning a cat more practical. Lovely to hear you have fond memories of a cat you grew up with:)

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