Cats have earned their reputation for mystery. Certainly, our feline friends can prove puzzling, but it's an old stereotype that cats are aloof and unsociable.
In fact, cats love their people. That's not just a couple of crazy cat guys' opinions. Science says so, too.
Researchers at Oregon State University published evidence that cats prefer socializing with humans over pleasant scents, intriguing toys, or even food.
It looks like our pets hold us in high esteem, indeed.
How do you know if a cat likes you? Better still, how to know if your cat likes you the most out of all the people she may love?
Here are four ways to tell your cat loves you:
1. Purring is a sign of love.
Cats don't purr for everyone. In fact, cats don't even purr for other cats. It's a sound they reserve exclusively for their own kittens and for their humans.
At one time, scientists believed purring came from blood pumping through the inferior vena cava. More recently, however, researchers have found that the sound comes from the cat's larynx. This organ creates vibrations at a frequency of 25 to 150 Hertz.
Here's the really cool part — cats can't control their purring. That's because their central nervous system isn't doing the work. Your pet can't help adoring you!
2. Kneading is a sign of comfort.
Domestic cats commonly knead objects, or people, with their front paws. Several theories attempt to explain feline kneading. Some people say it's a nesting behavior inherited from ancient cats who lived outdoors. Others believe it imitates a kitten's actions when nursing.
Kneading does appear to demonstrate that a cat feels comfortable, secure in her surroundings and happy to be with her people.
3. Constant staring is a sign of affection.
Long, unblinking stares are the cat equivalent of making eyes at your romantic partner.
While staring in humans can signify curiosity or even hostility, a cat's uninterrupted gaze indicates deep affection. The closer your cat gets to you while staring, the stronger the cat's signs of affection.
Staring can be a sticky wicket for pet parents, though. Happy, healthy cats who stare may be showing affection, but they could also be signaling hunger, anger or fear.
Is your cat sitting beside an empty food dish? She may be hungry.
Is he stiff and agitated with ears rotated to the side? He's mad.
Is he crouched or in hiding? He could be scared.
Learn to read your pet's body language for signs that a cat likes you.
4. Slow blinking is a sign of trust.
Number one on the list of ways to tell your cat loves you is slow blinking. It is the most certain act of tenderness a cat can give to a human. If a cat gives you a series of slow blinks, he's basically smothering you with affection.
Though often bewildering and certainly entertaining, cats are also devoted, endearing creatures. They may not enjoy the same full-on body contact that a dog craves, but in their own ways, cats demonstrate the same love and loyalty.
It's our joy to love them back.
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