A kitten has many ways that they can communicate their love and affection to you. Here are the tell-tale signs to look for.
- Headbutts aka Head Bunting.
- Purring, kneading, and gentle licks.
- A Raised tail when they approach you and talking to you.
- Presenting their tummy and allowing rubs.
- Sleeping with you.
- Surprising you with a gift.
- Comforting you when you feel unwell.
A kitten that has bonded to and loves you will want to be with you as much as possible.
They will purr a greeting, knead you and give you little gentle licks. Sweet head rubs and a raised tail show their trust in you and willingness to be with you.
Another sign is when they present their tummy to you, which is a very vulnerable area and shows their complete and utter trust in you.
Vocalizing and sleeping near or on you are also signs. But the ultimate is when they bring you a present.
Unfortunately, we don’t always react the way they want us to. A bug or a semi chewed mouse can take some self-control to thank your kitty sincerely before turfing it in the bin when they are not looking!
Head Butts are a Sign of Love and Affection
When your kitten comes up and head butts you (officially known as Head Bunting), it is their way of expressing a familial relationship, and they use scent from their scent glands to mark you.
Here are the reasons why your kitten likes to smoosh their face into yours.
- When your kitten marks you with their scent, it makes them feel even safer around you than before.
- Bunting is a behavior that has been associated with social bonding. Lions, tigers, and other big cats do it. In the lion family, lions like to headbutt other members of their pride. It is a way of confirming the family status and dynamics.
- According to cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennet, when a cat puts their head so close to another cat it is a sign of trust and friendliness.
- Headbutting is a way to mark and exchange scents. In a group (a clowder of cats) they create a group scent that signifies their close bonds.
Don’t get the facial head bunting confused with head butting the couch! Kittens will head butt the couch, the door, or some other object. This is not for the same reason as head butting your head.
For the inanimate object, your kitten is marking it as their possession. When they head butt you, they are showing you that they love you, they feel safe with you. And that is quite a difference!!
Purring, Kneading, Gently Licking
I think it would be safe to say that 99.98 % of the human population can be won over by an adorable kitten who is purring up a storm, kneading the heck out of one’s knee, and getting those tickly love licks that kittens are so good at doing!
To be gifted this treatment can only mean one thing. That the kitten feels safe around you and they love you to bits.
Within the cat family, grooming, kneading, purring and gentle licks are a sign of contentment. They are showing their approval of their situation and are doing their best to show it.
Its function is to strengthen the family bonds and to show love and affection within the family unit. This also applies to the kitten and human relationship as well.
A Raised Tail is Like a Flag that Says ‘I Love You’!
You can understand a lot about your kitten by looking at their tail. If your cat is holding her tail high in the air as they move towards or around you, it means that your kitten is showing confidence and contentment.
The tail is like a flag, it means different things in different positions. But a tail that is flying high and has a curl at the end of it is one happy kitty. The curl often means that they are feeling playful, so look out for some kitty mischief!
The good thing about felines is that you can learn pretty quickly what makes them happy and what to avoid.
- The opposite to a high flying tail where the tail is held low can mean your kitten has had about enough and is ready to punish whatever is annoying them, even if it is you!
- A tail like a bottle brush and all puffed out means agitation and fear.
- A whipping tail that swishes back and forth rapidly indicates fear and anger – it’s a warning to stay away or else.
- A tail that moves slowly from side to side usually indicates that your kitten is focused on something. Kittens often display this before they pounce on a toy.
- If your kitten’s tail is wrapped around another cat or part of you, it means friendship.
If you understand how your kitten ‘speaks’, it will make for a more harmonious life together.
Kitten Conversations are a Sign of Love
It is a known fact that kittens and cats rarely use verbal meows to communicate with each other. They would rather use body language or scent to ‘talk’ to each other. But as humans, we are not too good at reading their body language, and our sense of smell isn’t that great. So kittens have learned to meow to get attention.
But your kitten doesn’t just use the same old meow.
There are different tones and inflections within a meow, which gives each meow a different meaning.
- Short welcoming meow: When you arrive home, your kitten usually greets you with a short welcoming meow which says that they are pleased you are home. This cute sound is to show their affection for you and let you know that you are welcome. They will often combine this with a welcome head butt and loud purring.
- Demanding meow: You will understand the demanding meow; it’s sharper, to the point, and you can’t ignore it. An example of this is around dinner time when your kitten wants their food.
- Anxious meow: An anxious meow is asking you for help. Your kitten doesn’t feel well, they may be worried, and the meow is often a series of meows at a higher pitch. They are wanting your reassurance.
- Growling and meowing together: An angry kitty combines growling with meowing and the sound is often low and threatening.
As you get used to your kitten, you will learn to know the different sounds your kitten makes. Often your kitten will meow at you just to get your attention.
If your kitten’s meow changes completely, your kitten may be in pain or have a medical condition. Take them to your vet for a checkup if this sound continues.
Sleeping With or On You and Allowing Tummy Rubs
Kittens love company, they thrive on hugs and snuggles. Within the cat family, to lie down together is a way to get warm, it builds trust and respect, and it offers them the level of protection or security that they feel they need.
If your kitten snuggles into you and dozes off to sleep, they consider you as another cat that is a part of their family, and they feel protected by you. In short, they love you.
When they are snuggling up to you, they will often expose their tummy and allow you to pat them there.
As the tummy is a vulnerable area, and they are usually so instinctively protective of exposing this area, it is a great compliment to you that your kitten loves and trusts you so explicitly.
Surprising you With a Gift!
Many kitten owners cringe when their kitten presents a ‘gift’ in the form of a half munched mouse or bug.
Your kitten may be quite surprised by your sudden scream and violent movement in the opposite direction. It was not quite the reaction they had anticipated, and they get confused.
- Bringing home their prey means your kitten wants to share their food with you.
- If your kitten is a female, she may be trying to teach you to hunt. Your kitten may be acting out their maternal role of feeding the young how to hunt.
- While your kitten is still young, the instinct to hunt and feed the family (you) is very strong.
Often the prey is still alive, which means your kitten wants to teach you how to finish the hunt. Remember when you are confronted by a grisly trophy that their intentions are from the heart, they love you.
- Don’t panic when you find a ‘trophy’ on your doorstep, or in your shoe.
- Yelling will only confuse your cat. They may think that you don’t think the gift is big enough, which will encourage them to hunt larger critters!
- Thank your cat and praise them, so they don’t feel offended.
- Move them into another room before you clean up the grisly item.
- Dispose of the carcass before your cat sees what you are doing.
- Disinfect the area carefully.
To prevent your kitten from the art of gift-giving, you can
- Add a bell to their collar which alerts prey that your kitten is around, giving them time to escape.
- Keep your kitten indoors.
- Increase the time you spend playing with them.
- Provide toys to them that they can hunt. Getting a soggy knitted catmint mouse in your shoe is far preferable and is easier on your nerves!
Comforting You When You Feel Unwell
Your kitten is very intuitive, they can feel when you are sad, down, quiet, or in pain. They respond gently, patting your face as though to say ‘It’s ok, we will get through this together.’
They may not understand your problem, but they understand your feelings, and because they love you, they want to help.
When your kitten jumps up and gently head butts you, declaring their love and devotion, the world suddenly seems a brighter place, and solutions are found for the problems we have.
The purr of a cat is very soothing, and the vibration of the purr can aid with healing.
Dr. Weitzman shared this piece of research and I quote “Purrs at a frequency of 25-100Hz correspond with established healing frequencies in therapeutic medicine for humans. Bone responds to 25-50Hz and skin and soft tissues to around 100Hz according to researchers.”
You can check the link to his information here which states the benefits of the purring and vibrations they cause.
- Lower stress levels and reduced number of migraines.
- Increase the chance of surviving heart attacks.
- Helps to heal broken bones.
- Decreased blood pressure.
- Improved joint health and help the healing of swelling or infections.
- And last but not least, a happy kitten can decrease blood pressure.
No wonder people feel happier with a kitten in the house. When you are sad or sore, a purring kitten snuggled up to you is a natural health benefit without any nasty side effects!
Kittens are sincere, they are honest. You will know if your kitten loves you by the way they interact with you.
It is impossible to ‘make’ a kitten love you, you must earn it through kindness, consideration, and devotion to them. But once your kitten falls in love with you, you will have a true companion and a loyal and trusted furry friend for life.
Writer: Jean Brewer