Do Cats Love Their Owner: Here Is What We Know

If you have a cat, you can likely attest to how hard it is to tell what your cat is thinking. Cats are a lot smarter than we think and depending on your pet and their attachment to you, you may wonder, "does my cat love me?" or "does my cat care about me?" With dogs, there's a body of copious scientific research that backs up that dogs love their owners. However, that doesn't exist for cats. 

So, do cats love their owner? For the most part, the answer to this question seems to be "yes," but it's not as clear cut as other animals (like dogs).

Do Cats Love Their Owner? Let's Look at the Science

With dogs, it was relatively trivial for scientists to affirm that these pets love their owners. Dogs do love us. There's a chemical in our bodies, called oxytocin, that our bodies release when we're forming a bond with other humans (e.g., when a mother is forming a bond with her baby).

It turns out that this same chemical exists in dogs! And, both dog and owner release it when they look at each other. So that's relatively conclusive! This is also why dogs are man's best friend

However, no such smoking gun exists with cats. With our feline friends, we have to figure out if they love us a little more indirectly. Since the cat personality is slightly more aloof by default than a dog, testing these theories can be challenging.

What we can do, though, is to use cat cognition and psychology to ascertain whether or not cats love their humans. Researchers released a study at the end of 2019, which detailed how cats love their owners.

In parenting, there are multiple types of attachment that children can have to their parents. The most common (and the one without potential problems in the future) is secure attachment. With this attachment style, the baby feels free to roam about the world and home, knowing that the parent(s) will never leave them. They're secure in their mother and father's love.

Researchers showed that most cats have this secure attachment paradigm with their owners. A few cats didn't show this, but the vast majority seemed quite attached to their owners. The owner is a sense of security for the cat, which indicates that they do love their owner.

There are other indications that cats love their owners. They can sometimes turn into a cuddly and friendly cat when their owners are sad or having a bad day.

There have even been reports of cats licking away tears. If you think about it, if a cat were solely interested in what food you were giving them, they wouldn't come around when they knew you were sad! They'd wait for you to be happy again and then hound you for food. There are even times when they would purr to console you. 

So, even though there isn't a main chemical to explain the love that cats have for their owners, there's more than enough evidence to suggest that cats are capable of feeling love towards their owners!

What Are the Most Affectionate Cats?

The science above applies to all cat breeds. However, some breeds are naturally more affectionate than others. 

If you want a cuddly fluffy cat, consider a Ragdoll or Siamese cat. Both of these breeds are incredibly affectionate.

The Ragdoll has an attractive cat personality. People named Ragdolls after the fact that they would go limp in your arms. They love it when people hold them!

Similarly, the Siamese cat breed, as a whole, tends to be quite fond of its owners.

It is worth noting that practically any cat can be cuddly, with enough patience and dedication, but those two breeds are particularly cuddly!

Do Cats Love Their Owner? Yes!

Ultimately, yes, cats do love their owner. However, it's not quite the same type of love that dogs have for their humans. That doesn't make what a cat experiences any less impactful. Instead, it means that they love their owner in a different, unique way.

If you're looking for a cuddly cat that loves their owner, consider getting a Ragdoll or Siamese. Both those cats have fantastic personalities and a lot of love to give!

Does my cat love me?

If you are the cat's owner, then your cat likely loves you. You've probably developed enough of a rapport with your cat that they instinctively know who you are and have a strong emotional attachment to you. However, if you're not the cat's owner, the cat likely doesn't feel any particular attachment. Cats tend to show the strongest affinity for their owners!

How do cats show affection?

Cats tend to show affection in a few key ways. The first is with their tail like a cat with an upright tail is a happy cat! They may even greet you with their tail in their legs or with their tail brushing up against you. If that happens, then you have a cat that feels affection towards you. Next is the sign that we all know and love: purring! A cat will purr with the people they love. If you're sitting with your feline friend stroking their fur and they are purring, they're not just saying to you that they want you to keep going. Instead, they're saying that they want you to keep going, and they love you! Eye contact can also be a sign. For cats, eye contact is a sign of love. Cats generally only make eye contact with people they like, so if your cat is continuously looking at you, you likely have a cat that loves you! Finally, cats are very hygienic. As part of their routine, they typically lick themselves. If they try and lick you, that means they love you. They're trying to do something nice for you and show affection. They're also looking to mingle scents, another sign of love!

Do cats know their owners love them?

We don't know. There hasn't been any scientific research that conclusively answers this question. However, most cat psychologists suspect that cats know this because they wouldn't love someone they didn't think loved them. In other words, when you show an outpouring of love, the cat reciprocates. It's not like the cat found you and started showing you love, and you returned it. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that cats do know their owners love them!

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Written by Leo Roux

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