Closeness, for people or cats, is all about vulnerability. When we feel close to someone, we express it by moving our faces closer and closer together. By sharing each other's most sensitive spaces, we communicate how much we trust each other.
It's the same way with cats. When a cat rubs their cheeks or forehead on us, they are marking us with their scent. They are saying we are "theirs." But when the cat rubs cheek or forehead on our cheek or forehead, they nudging us to declare that "they are ours."
While cats have many ways of showing affection, from purring to kneading our lap, having our faces close to each other is the way we share closeness with our cats that is the most similar. We smile, they blink. We laugh, they roll on their backs.
But face closeness is one language we both share.
So we should take the opportunity to share face closeness with our cats. If we are afraid to get that close to them; we don't have the trust and friendship we really want.
So be friends to our cat. Treat them with respect and gentleness, and they will return those feelings.
Then we can have a good friend who shows how much we mean to them.
Read about cats and the Vulcan mind meld.