How can we tell our cat likes us?

Cats are always compared to dogs. This really ruins a human's "happy when I come home" expectations.

If we are expecting the same kind of Big Show a dog gives us, we are going to be perpetually disappointed. It's great that dogs are so demonstrative about it, but cats are just as happy to see us.

They are simply going to show it in smaller ways.

  • Showing up.
  • Appearing in our line of sight.
  • Making eye contact and blinking.
  • Rubbing a head or shoulder on us.
  • Talking.
  • Pushing their face into ours, purring, and melting into our arms.

These actions, shown in order of increasing trust, are the ways cats show affection. We aren't going to get to the last one until we start reacting to the first one. In the meantime, we are telling our cat we are either too stupid to know what an offer of friendship is... or we don't care about them.

Either way, this relationship is not going anywhere.

A dog's life is about, as they say in show business, "going big." They run around in large packs, chasing prey, eating in big free-for-alls and barking like crazy. This was how they started in the wild, and this is how they are now. And that's great, for them.

Cats are stealth hunters. They outwit, outgame, outlast, and only at the end do they outrun. They are always about the subtleties of a situation. They always "start small" and build. That's how they started in the wild; and they haven't changed a bit.

A cat showing things in small ways does not mean what they feel is small.

For more about understanding cat emotions, see This IS my enthusiastic face.
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