The Star-Herald

Does your cat love you?

For those of us who have kitties in our lives, we probably know the answer to that question.  Although with our two cats, I have to wonder about one of them. Our male, Willie, is definitely a lover.  He is always underfoot, always in a lap and always the first to walk across an early morning pillow wondering “Where is my breakfast?”  Our female, Annie, sleeps all day and barely can stand long enough to saunter over to the food bowl. Who knew that cats could be so different?

Here are some ways that cats deliver love and affection to the people who matter most to them, and check out more tips at www.vetstreet.com.

Head Bunting: This feline act of affection is delivered only to the A-listers in a cat’s life. Your cat will face you, lower her head and lean forward so that the top of her head touches your forehead, face or other body part. This loving touch can often release feel-good hormones called endorphins in your cat and you.

Cheek rubbing you: Think of your cat as a feline graffiti artist. To make her turf really feel like home, she will rub her cheeks against the corners of furniture and, possibly, your legs or hands when you pet her. This act secretes oils from her facial glands. It’s her way of claiming you as her own. Just be grateful that she does so by cheek rubbing, not spraying.

Twitching the tip of her tail: The feline tail acts like a mood barometer. The tail puffs out when your cat is frightened or agitated.  Your cat expresses love to you when she approaches you with her tail hoisted lazily up in the air and the very tip twitches. In cat speak, she is saying, “You rock my world.”

Holding eye contact and sharing a soft blink: Don’t expect a cat to maintain a steady eye-to-eye stare with a new houseguest. Cats save eye contact for people they know and trust, like you. The bond is accented when she blinks softly at you. This is the equivalent of a kitty kiss. Respond by softly blinking back.

Turning on the purr power: This steady, rhythmic sound emitted when your cat inhales and exhales is often associated with contentment. But cats also purr when they need to self-calm or while nursing a litter; however, your cat saves the special full-bodied rumble as a smile directed to you. It is her way of saying, “I love you.”

Sitting on you or beside you: Cats crave warm places to nap and sleep, but when they bypass a comfy cat bed or your bedroom pillow to perch on your lap, you should feel honored. Your cat has sized up her options and is conveying that she prefers being with you rather than being by herself in her cat bed.

Kneading her paws on your lap: If you need a sign it is time to trim your cat’s nails, nothing is clearer than when she perches on your lap, purrs and starts kneading your thighs with her front paws.  But this is also a sign of affection. Experts say that this action beckons your adult cat back to a safe, welcoming memory when she was nuzzling her mother for milk as a newborn kitten. She is being affectionate and a bit nostalgic.

Bringing you dead mice, birds and other so-called gifts: Evolution and domestication have not stripped your cat of her inner hunter. After a successful hunt, she may deposit a mouse head or lizard tail in a place she knows you will visit — like your pillow.  Your cat is sharing her prey prize with you as a true sign of trusted friendship.

Yikes … I am very thankful for my “indoor” kitties.

Happy Easter from the board of directors, employees and all your four-legged friends at the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

“Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as Gods.  Cats have never forgotten this” (Anonymous).

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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