Home Veterinary Lap Cat vs. Lone Ranger: the Varied Affectionate Behaviors of Cats – Oakland Veterinary Referral Services

Lap Cat vs. Lone Ranger: the Varied Affectionate Behaviors of Cats – Oakland Veterinary Referral Services

Lap Cat vs. Lone Ranger: the Varied Affectionate Behaviors of Cats – Oakland Veterinary Referral Services


Cats have personalities that vary as much as their coloring. While some cats will climb right into a person’s lap and fall asleep while purring contently, others need their personal space. Why are the affectionate behaviors of cats so varied? Here’s how to identify their love language behaviors so that you can know how to cater to your cat’s particular affection style. 

cat purring on lap

It All Makes Scents

Some cats will headbutt you when they are feeling especially affectionate. Not only is this a way to be physically close to you, but it also leaves you with some of their scent. If your cat is rubbing up on you in this way, she is marking her territory that you are hers, and everyone else should back off.

Scratching the Surface

Other cats that might not like to express their affection with physical contact can use scratching to show you they care. You might not appreciate her digging her nails into your favorite spot on the sofa or your headboard, but she is doing it to show her love. Cats will often scratch in a spot that they associate with you. This is another way she can leave behind her scent and stake her claim on a part of your house…and heart.

Gifting Love

Cats are hunters, and to them, sharing the fruits of their labor is the highest form of praise. If your cat has a tendency to bring you presents (yes, even dead birds), she is showing her love. It’s a good idea to praise your cat when she brings you a gift (even if you don’t like it) to show her that you appreciate her, too.

Blinking You In

In the wild, cats have to be protective of certain body parts that make them vulnerable. The eyes are such a part. They are vital for survival. If your cat places her face (especially her eyes) close to yours, she trusts you entirely. If she blinks slowly at you—even from across the room—she is basically blowing you a kiss. 

Tail Nods of Love

Cats also express affection with their tails. When they hold their tail straight up with a slight curve at the end, it’s basically like she’s giving you a hug. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a cat butt and raised tail in your face, you are in the thralls of ultimate feline love.

Loving Sleep

While it is not unusual for a cat to sleep (they spend about 16 hours a day sleeping), it does show they trust you if they sleep close. Cats who sleep in their owner’s laps or even in a spot nearby, fully trust them. Cats are at their most vulnerable when they’re sleeping. They will not let their guard down around just anyone. 

Meow You

Cats do not use “meows” to communicate with each other. They reserve this behavior for humans, and they only do it to people they really like. Even if it feels like sometimes your cat is yelling at you, she really is just trying to tell you she loves you. Like a lot.

At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we love the many affectionate behaviors of cats and the varied ways they show their affection. We are proud to offer specialty veterinary care for felines, canines, and any other animals who need us. To learn more about our services or how to schedule an appointment, please call (248) 334‑6877.


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