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Everyone knows about dog affection, but what about cat affection? Everyone who’s ever been in the presence of a dog for more than 30 seconds knows how they reciprocate affection, and you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a dog-owner who stares listlessly out the window wondering to himself, “does Captain Puddles get it? I mean, I know he knows I care for him, but does he like, get it?” Dogs show their appreciation for the love they receive immediately and without restraint. Cat owners, on the other hand, may find themselves in a constant state of “does my cat like me, or does he like-like me?” Visions of John Cusack holding a boombox over his head while blasting Peter Gabriel begin to form, as we desperately search for a way to express our undying endearment.

Some people believe cats assume that getting fed every day is synonymous with love. However, this would an egregious misconception. Cats believe you feed them because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re not showing love - you’re simply fulfilling your duties as the caretaker you are. And when you think about it, it does make sense. I mean, if you have a child and you feed them, you’re not necessarily showing that you love them, you’re just not being the worst person ever by allowing your offspring to starve to death. (Not that a cat couldn’t fend for itself, mind you.) You might say to me, “excuse the heck out of YOU, but MY precious Kitty Kitty Bang Bang LOVES showing me affection when she’s knows it’s dinner time!” No, my friend.

According to  a recent study, cats will blast the cuteness level up to 100 if they think it will get them an early, or more hearty meal. Cats know they’re cute, and they know that you love when they’re cute, and they use their feline wiles to lure you into forking over some extra yum yums. And, again, as the article states, “food is not affection”.

That being said, not all hope is lost when it comes to making a meaningful connection with your fuzzy lovedumpling. As we know, there are a list of ways that cats show affection, and by reciprocating or simply accepting that affection, we can make good on the expression of fondness. (And no, unfortunately squeezing their little schmoopy faces until you give yourself a nosebleed is not one of them. Cats don’t understand Cuteness Aggression, much to my dismay.)

First and foremost, consider your cat’s body language. Does your fluffy pudding’s little swiffer tail swish around when you’re near? Does she seem relaxed in your presence? Does she present you with her little belly tum tum whenever you look at her? These are all signs of cat affection, and they all make the statement, “hey, you’re a pretty cool dude. I think you’re great and I feel safe when you sit on the couch and Google yourself all day. Here, behold my luxuriously robust midsection. You’re welcome.”

When your delicious honeybean makes these gestures, make sure to give her the attention she deserves. Cats pick up on things that many humans often disregard - you know, vibes and whatever. How? Well, if you’d ask me I’d tell you that they are super psychic genius alien babies who can tap into the subconscious universe, but this is A Very Serious Article and I am A Very Serious Author so, maybe we’ll leave that discussion for another report. In any case, if you maintain a good, open, and loving vibe around your cat, they’ll pick up on it. Your cats get you more than you think they do.

Next, take notice of her behavior. Does she run up to you and run between your legs when you first come home? She’s not trying to trip and kill you, though maybe you have come close to actually smashing your face on the kitchen counter because of it. She’s greeting you! Return the favor. Make sure she’s the first to receive attention when you walk through the door. Does she sit her fat tabby tush on your laptop when you’re trying to write an article about cats? She’s saying, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND NOT THE OTHER THING YOU ARE CURRENTLY DOING”, and that’s your opportunity to make sure she knows that she’s the center of your universe. Simply checking in with your cats and giving them some attention will ensure that they know how ya feel.

Finally, observe your cat’s habits. Does she snuggle up with you when you go to sleep? Does she seek you out from time to time just to say hello? Whenever your cat approaches you for tenderness, make sure you acknowledge her. All in all, even the most aloof and brooding cat will be able to pick up on your warmth and devotion. Whether they choose to admit it or not, they can sense when a person loves them (and hates them). So always make sure you’re emitting good, kitty-positive vibes, and your cat will be sure to indulge in the lovefest.

Tell us how your cat shows affection in the comments below!

Written by Diomira Keane