Cat Emotions: How Cats Express Love and Affection for Us

cat emotions

Over the years I have marveled at cat emotions and how they express love and affection for their guardians.  The ways cats express their devotion can be markedly different than those of their canine counterparts.

How To Tell If Your Cat Loves You

If you own a cat you may have noticed him rubbing up against your leg or snuggling close to you on the couch, which can be interpreted as signs of affection. Felines can and will express love and emotions towards their human companions in other ways, too. You just have to know where to look and what signals to read.

Cat emotions may be expressed differently than other animals.  Cats have been known to exhibit fear, happiness, sadness, curiosity, anger, grief and anxiety.  However, studying the complex emotion of love is far more challenging because cats cannot tell us exactly how they are feeling. That doesn’t mean they are not feeling something along the lines of love.

Research shows the brain activity of cats is very similar to that of humans.  Cats have many of the same or similar brain structures as people, including the areas concerned with emotions.  Serotonin and dopamine are associated with love and affection in humans, and observed in a similar capacity in cats.

Cats cannot express their emotions with kisses and hugs as humans do, nor do they wag their tails, lick people or jump up on their favorite humans like dogs do.  They will cuddle up on laps, rub their heads on those they love and vocalize their unwavering affections.  When you return the love in kind by petting your cat, you are reinforcing the affectionate bond between the two of you.

He Love You, He Loves You Not

A word of caution, however.  When your cat does express favorable emotions towards you, that doesn’t necessarily mean your cat feels exactly as you do.  You are two very different species and can easily misinterpret what the other is feeling. Sometimes he may purr when he is feeling loving, but other times that same purr can be a sign of fear or nervousness.

It may take a while for you to decipher the meanings and emotions behind what your cat does. Continue respecting feline nature and accept that there are some things you might not ever understand.  I think cats have done that already regarding humans!

Thanks to for this helpful information.





Written by Ann Butenas

Ann Butenas

An internationally-recognized author and writer, Ann began her professional writing career at age 12 and began speaking while in college. She has been published thousands of times over the past three decades in all media forms, was former editor and publisher of KC Metro Woman magazine, and has also hosted three talk radio shows in the Kansas City area.