Tuesday, 11 August 2009

How Cats Display Affection

Felines often use subtle techniques to display affection; these signals can be missed by an inexperienced owner. Here are the most common signs.

Blinking:
Cats usually meet strangers and potential adversaries (feline, human, and otherwise) with an unblinking, unflinching stare. In the cat world, the ultimate gesture of trust and acceptance is for one model to close its eyes in the company of another. A feline that greets its owner's presence with long, unconcerned blinks or languid, half-closed eyes is signaling deep trust.

Grooming:
The fact that your cat allows you to groom it signifies a deep level of trust and acceptance. In the wild, cats employ mutual grooming as a stress-relieving and relationship-building gesture. Sometimes a particularly demonstrative cat will groom its human owner.
Head Rubbing: Cats' faces contain scent glands that they use to mark their territory. When a cat rubs its face determinedly against its owner, it is both displaying affection and "marking" that person as its exclusive property.

Kneading:
Rhythmically pressing its front paws against its owner recreates the "milk tread" kittens use during nursing to stimulate milk flow from their mother.

Stomach Display:
Occasionally a feline may roll over and show its stomach to you. Revealing its soft underbelly is as profound a gesture of trust as any feline can provide. Remember, however, that this is not necessarily an invitation for you to scratch its stomach. Indeed, doing so may cause the cat to switch rapidly into defense mode.

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