How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. August 1, 2018
How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me?

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For any close relationship to work, you will need to build trust. Whether it is a friendship, a family member or a partner, if you don't have trust you will simply be two people inhabiting the same space. The same goes for your pets. If you have recently adopted a cat, whether a kitten or an adult, you will want to know when will they start trusting you.

The first thing you need to know is that building trust isn't an immediate process. It will depend on the personality of the individual cat, but they need to get used to their new environment and the things within it, include yourself. This period of adaptation requires calm and engendering a sense of security in the cat. If you have ever wondered how do I know if my cat trusts me?, then AnimalWised helps you look out for the signs that this has happened.

You may also be interested in: How to Know if My Cats are Fighting or Playing?

Signs that your cat trusts you

While they are generally more independent than dogs, cats are still very sociable animals. Some cats may maintain a certain distance even within their family, but most create close bonds of friendship and affection with their guardians. Individual cats may have their own unique ways of expression their feelings and moods. However, there is a general feline body language which cats use to communicate with each other and with us.

When cats feel comfortable in an environment and receive the essential care and love they need from their guardians, they will begin to show their appreciation and trust. How this appreciation and trust manifests itself requires us to pay attention to how they communicate with us. If you want to know if your cat trusts you, we'll show you 7 signs to keep an eye out for. After we show you these signs, we'll also detail some of the ways you can improve the bond between you and show you are willing to earn their trust.

1. They want to be with you

One of the major ways you will know your cat trusts you is one of the most obvious. They simply want to spend time with you. If there is someone you dislike or distrust, you will probably not want to spend your time with them. The same goes for your cat. Cats only stay in places where they feel secure. If your cat has confidence in you, they trust you are unlikely to hurt or attack them. If they sit beside you on the couch or nap on your lap, they are showing this sense of security.

This might be seen most at bedtime. If your cat wants to sleep with you, whether on your chest or by your feet, it is a beautiful demonstration of the trust they have in you. Not only do they feel like you will not hurt them, but they will feel protected by you. Although, they may also have a practical ulterior motive: they want to use you to keep warm.

How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me? - 1. They want to be with you

2. They rub up against you

Many tutors wonder why cats are so keen to rub up against you. Whether they are greeting you home from work, waiting on their dinner or simply rubbing for no reason, it can be one of the nicest displays of affection. However, there is more to it than giving a feline hug. Cats secrete pheromones from different parts of their body. On their head and face they have glands for this purpose. They use this to mark territory as well as possession. When your cat rubs against you, they are showing they love you, they trust you and that they consider you part of their family.

How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me? - 2. They rub up against you

3. They bring you food

With their lack of opposable thumbs, cats are notoriously bad at folding wrapping paper. For this reason, the present selection they choose to bring you is fairly limited. This doesn't mean they won't be happy to bring you a gift. It does mean it will usually be in the form of an unwrapped dead animal. There is still scholarly debate over the exact reason why cats bring you this food, but it is generally considered to be part of the teaching habit.

Mother cats will show their kittens how to catch and kill prey. When they bring you a dead animal, they are probably trying to show you they care for your well-being. If they didn't trust you, there would be no point in doing this. If the cat brings you a present, it means they think you are part of the family. It also means they think you are bad at looking after yourself.

How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me? - 3. They bring you food

4. They let their belly be stroked

The behavior of turning over and exposing their underbelly for petting is a more common behavior in dogs. This is because dogs generally don't have the same trust issues which many cats do. If a cat does this, it is showing an extreme state of relaxation and they have a great level of trust in you. This is because cats generally do not like their bellies being touched. It makes them feel vulnerable and they often will attack people, even guardians, if they go near it.

Even cats which do have high levels of trust in their owners will not let their belly be touched for any length of time. It is wise not to take it personally. If they do, however, then the trust bond is very strong.

How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me? - 4. They let their belly be stroked

5. They knead you

Many people find cats kneading you to be one of their most curious behaviors. When we think about the reason, it is less mysterious, but still fascinating. Cats as kittens knead their mother's nipples so that they will produce milk. It is a natural movement which shows the close bond cats have with their mothers.

Kneading is a kind of contact which generates feelings of pleasure and well-being. The bond of trust is strongest between parent and offspring. If your cat kneads you, it is likely because they have a similar feeling of trust with you. After all, you provide them with sustenance and security. It is similar to how cats generally do not meow to other cats, but they will do it to humans.

How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me? - 5. They knead you

6. They raise and twist their tail

Other than the aforementioned meowing, cats make a wide variety of vocalizations as a means to communicate. However, it is their body with which they communicate the most. This body language expresses moods and feelings in a way only other cats can truly understand.

This feline body language is a very sophisticated and complex system, incorporating many postures, gestures and expressions. The movement and position of the tail can be one of the most clear signs. It is particularly good at declaring how they feel in relation to you. If your cat raises their tail and twists the tip slightly, it is a fairly clear sign they trust you. This behavior is also visible in communities of cats living together in relative harmony.

How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me? - 6. They raise and twist their tail

7. They purr

Have you wondered why cats purr in general? The truth is that felines emit this vocalization for various reasons. This reasons tend to depend on age and the context in which it is occurring.

Kittens purr when they feel pleasure in suckling at their mother's breast, but they have also been known to do it when they experience fear or confusion at some unknown stimuli. Their mothers also use this sound to calm them during childbirth and guide them reassuringly during their first days of life. Adult cats tend to purr mainly in positive situations, i.e. when they feel confident, happy and relaxed in the company of their human guardians. So, if your cat purrs while they are with you, especially if they also rub against you, then it is a pretty sure sign you have their confidence.

How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me? - 7. They purr

How to gain the trust of a cat

As we mentioned earlier, adapting a cat to a new home is a process. The most important variable is the personality of the cat themselves, but every cat will need to feel safe. However, time alone is not all. We need to devote ourselves daily to strengthening our bond, but we need this time to be well spent. This means positive interaction which includes:

  • Positive reinforcement of good behavior
  • Associating you with happy experiences
  • Avoid punishment and scolding
  • Make time for play
  • Give them lots of love and affection

We have more information in other articles on our site, but these general guidelines will help you to build trust. Understanding your cat is the best way to build trust and know when it has arrived.

If you want to read similar articles to How Do I Know If My Cat Trusts Me?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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