Do Cats Like to Be Kissed?
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Many guardians wonder if their cats like kisses or if this kind of display of affection is uncomfortable for felines. Unfortunately, many others do not make this consideration. Instead they kiss and cuddle their kittens without considering their comfort and tolerance levels. It's important to remember that each cat is an individual with a unique personality, so it is impossible to establish an exact set of preferences for cats. Despite this, it is essential to understand that feline communication is very different from ours. Their means of expressing emotion, mood and perception is different, so human methods of communication such as kissing and hugging may not be appropriate.
In this AnimalWised article we find out do cats like to be kissed? We will do so by looking at how cats express love and affection, allowing us to strengthen our bond with them without creating any unpleasant interactions.
Do cats love their guardians?
There are many false and unfortunate myths about cats and their way of expressing emotion. It's still common to hear questions such as, “do cats even have feelings” or “do cats love their owners?”.
First, we need to affirm that cats are sensitive and intelligent creatures with the capacity to experience a spectrum of emotion throughout their lives. As with humans, the reactions, responses and moods of a feline will vary according to the different stimuli in their environment, the experiences they have gone through, the conditions of their family group, quality of life, their health status and many other considerations.
We need also understand that felines are special beings with their own way of expressing themselves toward human guardians. We should expect a cat to demonstrate affection in the same way as dogs, other animals or people. On the hand, neither is it fair to claim cats do not like their human companions or they do not have feelings just because they do not behave like dogs.
With their noble and independent character, cats are able to establish a bond of friendship and trust in their guardians. If you wonder whether your cat has affection for you, you can look at the 10 signs which show your cat loves you.
So, do cats like kisses or not?
If we observe the behavior of most domestic cats, it is safe to say that cats do not like kisses in general. Similarly, they will not respond well to attempts to hug them. This will generate a feeling of containment and they will likely want to escape your clutches, despite your good intentions. They may even bite or scratch you to show their displeasure. A similar reaction can be seen when guardians attempt to pet them in vulnerable areas such as their belly or paws.
Perhaps a better question would be to ask, do cats understand kisses? The reason cats do not generally like to be kissed or hugged is because they don't understand this human expression. Moving your face close to them, wrapping you arms around them or other similar close contact is usually reserved for playing or even fighting.
However, it is possible to see some cats adapt and learn to accept these expressions of love as part of the positive bond established with their tutors. In any case, we must emphasize that kisses and hugs are not part of demonstrations of feline affection. Therefore, before trying to kiss or hug your cat, remember to think of their character and respect their preferences.
To greet each other and express affection, cats do not need to use their lips. To give your cat the equivalent of a human kiss, your cat will squint their eyes and present a serene expression on their face. This simple and discreet way of ‘kissing’ does not involve physical contact, but says a lot about the bond between them and about the affection your cat wants to communicate back towards you.
Although licking is more associated with dogs expressing feelings of affection, it is also a common expression cats have in their repertoire. This behavior is usually most commonly associated with cats which live alone with their guardians, i.e. when there is no other cat or animal present in the home. Cats perform social grooming on those they consider family, licking the fur of their children and siblings to keep them clean and exhibit closeness. When a cat does this to their human companion, it demonstrates they consider them ‘one of their own’ and they trust them.
How do cats show their love?
As we have explained, cats express themselves differently from humans. The main way a cat communicates is through body language, whether this is with humans, other cats or the many different elements in their environment. For example, the the position of their tail reveals a lot about their mood and emotions they may want to express. It can also be used to predict how they might be about to react.
If your cat approaches you with a tail raised high and a slight twist at the tip, they are taking a friendly posture which indicates they feel happy in your company and will be safe in your home. On the other hand, an angry cat usually shows a famous brush type tail which bristles outward. It is characterized in many cat illustrations where the tail puffs up and the hairs stand on end. In these cases, it is best to respect their space and let them calm down before attempting any interaction. However, if your cat is regularly scared, angry or aggressive for seemingly no reason, don't hesitate to take them to the vet to determine if there is an underlying medical problem.
Perhaps less obvious than some clear signs of affection is the cat's ability to knead their tutors. Young kittens knead the nipples of their mother to stimulate the release of milk for feeding. This is an instinctive behavior and is part of the special bond kittens share with their mothers. In adulthood, cats maintain this habit because it generates well-being and pleasure. It reminds them of the comfort and protection provided by their mothers. If they knead you, it is because they similarly feel safe and comfortable.
There are other habits which indicate your cat both loves and trusts you. For example, they will rub themselves against you, often rubbing their face against your legs, they will want to sleep next to you and they may even engage in the seemingly odd practice of bringing you dead animals as a ‘gift’. These are just some of the reasons ways in which a cat may express affection towards you.
Cats also have an incredible capacity for vocalization, being able to emit a wide range of sounds either in their daily communication with your or to something else in their environment. If your cat purrs when you pet them, for example, it means they feel relaxed and may even be enjoying your company.
However, it is not always easy to work out what it is our cat is trying to say to us. Even under clinical observation, a recent study on assessing feline emotions shows that “like people, [they] may experience more than one emotion at the same time or switch quickly between emotional motivations”.
How should you show your cat that you love them?
Since cats do not like kissing, hugging or cuddles, you may be wondering how you can best show your affection to your cat. The first thing to remember is that each cat is a world onto themselves and one of the best things about developing a relationship with a cat is discovering their personality, their likes and dislikes and little idiosyncrasies. You will find they will often surprise you with their abilities and depth of character.
The best way to tell your cat you love them is to get to know them. Learn their personality and identify the things they enjoy, especially those things which make them feel the most comfortable. Additionally, taking some time to learn the general body language of cats will help you immensely. You can learn the specific body postures and facial expressions which will help you to respond to their needs better and strengthen your bond.
To know where to pet them, you should tentatively pet them in different places and see which they respond to positively. You will see they enjoy it by either passively accepting them or even rubbing their head against your hand in encouragement. If you pet them somewhere they don't like, such as their belly, then you may receive a scratch or bite. It will be in both your and your cat's best interests to remember what happened the last time.
You can also show your cat you love them by preparing delicious homemade food, using recipes such as these easy cat cookies. By using ingredients which they will enjoy, they will better understand how you feel about them.
It's important to remember that if you love your cat you will want them to be happy. Giving them too many treats or indulging every whim isn't always going to be what's best for them. Instead, provide your cat with the best nutrition, proper socialization, preventive medication in the form of vaccinations and worming products and take them to the vet regularly.
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