As pet parents, we likely show our furry friends we care in similar ways. Giving your pet extra treats, snuggles and positive verbal affirmation are quite common. But what about ways in which our pets show us love? We’ve put together the top ways cats and dogs share their affection, and some of their behaviors may surprise you. Little did you know, pawing at your face means you’re their very favorite human!
Cats use their bodies to share their true feelings. While an arched back may mean to back away slowly, a curved tail signifies they’re approaching you as a friend. If your cat enjoys sitting on you, like on your face when you sleep, or showing off their rear end, it means they feel comfortable enough around you to have their back to you. Same goes for showing off their belly. Their behavior is indicating they trust you to see them in a more vulnerable state.
If your pet likes to blink slowly at you, it’s not necessarily because you’re boring them to sleep. Instead, this is another way cats show their love! Be sure to slow blink back so they know the feeling is mutual.
Actions Speak Louder Than Meows
Beyond the common purring, cats show they care through a few different physical actions.
For background, cats have scent glands in their cheeks and paws. By rubbing their paws or face on you, they’re trying to emit pheromones on you. They’re marking you as a loved one!
Another way to show their love is to lick you. While this could mean they need attention, it also is way to share they care either by cleaning you or as a way to bond when they’re calm. Similarly, your pet may bite gently at you. This generally means they don’t want you to stop petting them and want more attention.
Cats can sense when you need extra care, such as when you’re sick. Instead of avoiding your germs, cats show they care by sitting extra close and giving you more attention than normal.
Leaving You “Gifts”
What do you mean you don’t want a dead mouse brought into your home? That’s how your cat can show you they care!
As gross as it is, your cats are genetically programmed to bring you gifts from the wild that they see as a precious commodity from their time as hunters. Sharing their bounty with you is away to show how special you are to them.
Another less-than-pleasant gift your cat may bestow on you is peeing on items within your home when you leave. Lynn Maria Thompson, author of The Feline CEO, shares that cats will pee to mark their territory. Peeing on something that smells like you is your cat’s way of identifying items as part of their home. Their hope is you will come back home with the help of their “family pee scent.” Ah cats, gotta love ‘em!
For pet parents with dogs, you’re probably very familiar with the ways in which dogs show they care. From their outward ability to be vocal, protective and playful, you can tell pretty quickly if you’re on the in or the out. Despite their many differences to cats, you’ll notice overlapping traits when it comes to how they exemplify their affection.
When They’re Happy, They’ll Show It
Beyond wagging their tails, your pup likely has many telling traits to show when they’re happy, especially when they’re with someone they like. For dogs, maintaining eye contact with you shows a high level of trust and attachment. Their brains actually release oxytocin, a hormone related to bonding, so be sure to give them a loving dose of eye contact right back!
Though jumping on guests and small children may not be the best trait, leaping with excitement is a common way for pups to show they care.They simply want to get a closer look at you and give you a smiley welcome.
Another way pups show they care is by bopping you with their nose. It’s of course a way to get attention, but affection is underlining.
Rolling over to show their bellies and leaning on you are two common ways dogs show they trust you. They’re putting themselves in a more vulnerable position to demonstrate they feel safe with you. Dogs leaning in a calm way is their version of a full-body hug,so enjoy it!
They Want to Sit and Stay Nearby
You are your dog’s whole world. If they love you, which we’re sure they do, they’ll likely want to be around you all the time. From sleeping nearby, to following you around the house (even to the bathroom!) they just want to be near their BFF.
Wild dogs would sleep in a pack,and our house pups still carry those fundamental traits. Wanting to sleep next to you, clearly unaware of their dog breath and hogging of the bed, is a sign of loyalty.
Just like humans, dogs can have separation anxiety. They don’t always understand you’ll be back after work or that your yoga class is only an hour. It’s sweet in nature to have your pup love you that much, but it can also be hard to leave a whining pup when you know you’ll be back soon. To deal with this particularly tricky trait, we suggest you set a routine when you know you’ll be leaving the house. Making sure your pup is fed, watered and happy will help them feel more comfortable when you’re gone.
We’re sure you’re the apple of your pet’s eye! Keep an eye out for ways they may express love that you never realized before (we’re looking at you, dead mouse).
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