Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Do Cats Like Kisses?

Do cats understand and like human kisses?

Does your cat like it when you kiss him? Some cats do seem to like or at least tolerate human kisses. If your cat leans in, purrs, and rubs his head on you when you kiss him, he probably understands that you're trying to show him affection.

However, if your cat's ears go back, he begins to whip his tail back and forth, moves away from you, hisses, or swats at you, he doesn't want to be kissed.

Kissing the way humans understand it isn't the way your cat will show you he loves you, and it's probably not the absolute best way to show him you love him, either.

How Do Cats Show Love?

Cats use body language to show their humans love. The slow eye blink is a big way for cats to say "I love you." This is the equivalent of a human kiss, but it's done from across the room rather than with actual physical contact.

Head-bumping is another way cats show affection. Although it may knock your glasses off, give you a sore nose, or threaten to topple you off your feet depending on where on your body the bump is delivered, a feline head bump indicates love.

Cats rub on you to show love. They have scent glands in their cheeks and lips, so rubbing on you is their way of marking you as their own.

Guidelines for Kissing Cats

Most cats will allow a peck on the head from their beloved humans. However, some don't like it, and you should respect that. If your cat moves away from your kisses, puts his ears back, or hisses or swats at you, don't use kisses to show him you love him.

Here are a few more things to know about kissing cats:

  • Avoid kissing cats on the lips. This can be too much of an invasion of space for many cats. Also, cats can carry bacteria and parasites that are spread to humans through contact with their saliva. This is especially true of kittens, cats that aren't up-to-date on vaccines and parasite checks, and cats with dental problems.
  • Don't kiss a cat you don't know well. Even if your own cat seems to love your kisses, other cats might not. A cat that doesn't know you might not tolerate such closeness from you, even though he might allow it from a human he knows well.
  • Teach your child to avoid kissing cats. It's a good idea to teach your child the above rules for kissing cats, and it's probably good to have him or her avoid cat-kissing altogether. Some cats may have less tolerance for children than they do for adults, and if the cat chooses to bite or scratch a child for kissing him, it's the child's face that will be the most likely target.

Alternative Ways to Show Your Cat Some Love

If you'd like to show your cat you love him without human kisses, you can learn to do a kitty slow eye blink. Cats understand that this signifies affection, and they'll probably return the gesture.

Find other ways to spoil your cat that let him know you love him. You can find many suggestions here: "You Love Spoiling Your Cat, but Should You?"

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Cat Kneading: Why Do Cats Do It and What Do People Call It?

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Why Do Cats Do the Slow Eye Blink? : It's a Kitty "Eye Love You"!

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Loves You?

Why Does My Neutered Cat Hump Things?

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