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Feline Friday: Ask Amy, Cat Smiles & Book Love

by | Jun 10, 2011 | Ask Amy Videos, Cat Behavior & Care | 14 comments


How does your cat show affection? There are so many ways–and many times folks just assume the kitty purr says it all. There’s no doubt that cats love us as much as we love them. People who haven’t been blessed with furry feline love have a difficult time believing this, though, because kitties show affection very differently than people do. In fact, some cat behaviors that puzzle, aggravate or even offend people are a cat’s way of expressing undying affection.

My kitty Seren often indulges in what I call “flipping” behavior, where she THROWS herself on the ground in front of me and rolls back and forth while meowing. She also cheek-rubs and head-bonks us–and yes, she purrs. Here are 14 unexpected ways cats show love. What are some other ways your cats demonstrate their affection for you? Please share!

In fact, in honor of Adopt A Cat Month, I will draw a name from the comments posted on today’s blog for your choice of one of the books, below, but there’s a catch:

There must be at least 10 comments to do the drawing–and I’ll choose a winner by Sunday night so maybe the autographed book gets to a Father’s Day recipient on time. Forward the link and encourage your friends to comment so somebody can get some free kitty-book-love. Yes, I’m purrrr-fectly evil! Which brings me to the most recent Ask Amy video, below–enjoy!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!


  1. Jackie King

    Amy, I LOVED this post. Especially the about the eye-kisses! How many times have I experienced that. I always knew it was very special, because it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But I didn’t understand the scientific background, and how kitty puts himself/herself on the line to show this kind of love.
    Jackie King

    • amyshojai

      Thanks Jackie! I love cat behavior, and trying (the operative word!) to figure it all out.

  2. Lea Sinclair Filson

    My friend worked at the zoo and says big cats purr too. She had a routine each time she fed a big cat. When it saw her coming, it would lay its head down and wait for her to scratch its head with a long apparatus she used to push the food into the cage. Once she started rubbing, it purred like a cat, only louder. 🙂
    Purring is wonderful. One of my cats purrs so loudly you can hear it in the next room…

    • amyshojai

      Hey Lea, that’s interesting–I think that I mis-spoke in the video about big cats not purring so glad you got the correction. Some of our pet cats purr like mac trucks and others are so quiet you can barely hear and only feel the vibration when you pet ’em.

  3. Angela/Curiocat

    I have one cuddle kitty who likes to lay on my arm when I face her and if I’m facing away then she cuddles up to my back. She’s on one side and my little feist is on the other toward the end of the bed. Where’s the hubby? Wherever he can make a place for himself. Lol.

    • amyshojai

      Makes sort of a furry sandwich, eh? Fun!

  4. Tiffany A White

    My kitty does the flip behavior too, but mostly he finds me, looks me in the eye, and meows softly. OR, most times he rubs his tail against me. My favorite is when he lays next to me with one paw on me – no place in particular; he’s just making sure to touch me. I love my Shady-cat. 😉

  5. Susan Case

    Our country road has a stray cat who is called a different name at each house. We call her “Old Yeller” but by talking to neighbors we learned that she is also called “Tipsy,” “Petunia” and “Crookshanks” (from Harry Potter). This is the smartest cat I’ve ever known and has managed to survive country living for at least ten years according to neighbors who let her inside for a nap. She sleeps on the lady’s favorite chair but refuses anything to eat. Another neighbor took her to the vet to have her spayed and was surprised to learn he was already neutered. Old Yeller has taught our cats to capture food which they proudly display on my sidewalk such as the inners of mice, frogs and snakes. I’m glad to know that this is “gifting” but I seriously doubt I’ll ever join them in their feast.

    • amyshojai

      Susan, sounds like he’s got a deal worked out–neat! Smart kitty indeed.

  6. Mary Hoge

    My kitties (Kiki and Bear) display most of the affectionate actions that have been mentioned, with the exception of spraying (thank heaven!) and gifting of dead things. One that wasn’t actually mentioned is one that Kiki does, and it’s a variation of the tail-up-glad-to-see-ya pose. We call it “tail-gasms” because her tail actually vibrates like crazy when she’s especially happy – and the more excited she is, the faster it vibrates. She’s a very vocal girl, and will pester us unmercifully until she gets what she wants with her meows and mrrfs. She’ll also come up to my chair and pat me with a front paw until she is satisfied that she has my attention, then turn and start to walk in the direction she wants me to follow (usually to the back door so she can go outside, or to her food bowl, whether it’s empty or full, for some special pettins). My husband has to stop and greet her every morning when he gets up, and she waits for him in his bathroom when he is bathing and demands to be loved on as soon as he gets out. She has actually fallen into the water when he is in the tub, so she doesn’t walk around the rim much any more. Bear, on the other hand, flops on the floor and sleeps on his back with all four feet splayed like he’s a cat rug (very trusting fellow, that). He sleeps next to my pillow or on the window ledge above my side of the bed. When he decides he needs attention, he will knead my arm or shoulder, and if that doesn’t get his required attention, he nips my hand or arm. He also nuzzles my neck and purrs so loud that it can even wake up my husband (who sleeps through the worst thunder storms and just about everything else). Lately, he has started perching on my arm when I am on the computer and using the trackball. Anything, so long as it puts him in direct touch with me. He is also my lap cat (a nearly-18-lb RaggaMuffin). The only time Kiki is voluntarily in my lap is when she’s trying to get me to do something for her. They both do the head-butts, present their tails for recognition, and do all the typical cat stuff. Kiki’s purr is so soft that you have to be touching her to realize that she’s doing anything. I have been a dog person most of my life, but don’t know what I would do without my feline furries now that I have them. Oh yes, they both get along fine with MsDawg, who’s a long-haired dachshund/cavalier king charles spaniel cross.

  7. amyshojai

    Mary, love your description of the “tail-gasms” LOL! I’ve actually heard of other cats that do this–it’s very similar to the tail vibration prior to spraying so I wonder if it’s not a mock-spray/marking behavior. I know dogs often will leg-cock even when they’ve (ahem) run out of juice!

    • Mary Hoge

      All I can say is that I’m grateful that she doesn’t spray to mark her territory. If chin/cheek markings caused hair loss, Kiki would have been bald long ago. That’s her favorite method, and she’s very, very thorough. MsDawg will go behind other dogs and mark their spots, even if she has nothing to actually contribute to the scent spot. Love our critters – they definitely provide endless hours of amusement and amazement.

  8. Connie Lee

    Hi Amy, long time no meow, but you probably wouldn’t remember anyway… however , to the point here , another way cats love is with food, sharing that is, yours, or at least what you think is yours…some of mine even generously allow me to eat form one side of the plate as they dine from the other…now is that love or what?

    • amyshojai

      Hi Connie, sharing food–at my house Seren agrees it’s ALL for her to sample. Even the dog’s. *s* Yep, she’ll “allow” me to eat from the plate as long as I stick to my side, LOL!

      Folks, I’d planned to give a book away to somebody, as long as there were 10 folks who commented on the blog. Thus far (not counting me *s*) there are 7. Three more, and I can draw a name…deadline is tonight!


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