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

Why Isn't My Cat Very Affectionate?

Learn how to identify sings of kitty affection.

Do you have a cat that doesn't seem to show you he cares about you very often? Maybe you're expecting him to jump on your lap all the time, run to meet you at the door, or otherwise forcefully let you know he loves you?

While some cats are quite exuberant and affectionate, others are not as overtly so. But that doesn't mean your cat isn't showing you he loves you—it just means you'll have to look a little harder to see the signs.

Watch for These Subtle Signs of Feline Affection

If your cat is the more stoic or aloof type, make sure you're not missing these signs that he loves you:

  • Rubbing his cheek on your leg. However brief this is, when a cat rubs on you, he's doing more than marking you or saying he wants to be fed. He's telling you he trusts you and is claiming you as part of his group.
  • Blinking very slowly at you. Many people mistake this feline communication technique as boredom. It's not. When a cat gazes at you, makes eye contact, and then slowly blinks one or both eyes, he's communicating affection. Check it out: "Why Do Cats Do the Slow Eye Blink? It's a Kitty Eye Love You!"
  • Lifting his tail high and twitching the end. A cat that looks relaxed and has his tail lifted straight in the air is communicating affection. Cats greet each other this way when they're happy. Even if your cat doesn't jump on your lap, lift his tail, and put his rear end in your face, carrying his tail vertically and twitching the end while looking at you indicates he likes you.
  • Sitting nearby. Some cats don't particularly like sitting on people's laps. They might be too timid, or it just might not be comfortable for them. However, those cats might sit near you instead, and that's a similar sign of affection.
  • Kneading, even if it's not on you. Moving the front paws rhythmically back and forth, or kneading, is a sign of happiness in cats. If your cat sits near you and kneads while you talk to him or while he looks at you, he's letting you know you're important to him and you make him feel content and happy. Learn more about this behavior here: "Cat Kneading: Why Do Cats Do It and What Do People Call It?"
  • Bringing you prey. If your cat brings you a dead or half-dead rodent, it means she loves you. Cats are predators, and sharing food doesn't come easily for them, so when they give you some, it means they see you as part of their family.
  • Rolling around and showing you their belly. Even if your cat doesn't particularly love petting, he might show you love by rolling around on the floor near you. He might even roll onto his back and expose his tummy. Many cats don't like belly rubs, so don't assume it's an invitation, but it does mean your cat trusts you and wants you to know it.

As you can see, cats have many ways of showing they love you, even if they aren't as demonstrative as you'd like. You just need to know what to look for. Now that you know how your cat shows love, learn how you can let him know you love him back: "How to Tell Cats You Love Them."

Why Are Some Cats Less Affectionate Than Others?

Most of the time, this just comes down to individual personality differences. However, some cats might be less affectionate because they didn't have enough socialization with humans when they were young kittens.

When you get a new kitten, make sure you handle and pet him a lot, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. This can increase the likelihood that, as an adult, he will be friendly and outgoing.

You might be able to help your cat accept more physical closeness with you if he's not naturally inclined to do so. Take a look at this article to learn how: "Can You Make Your Cat into a Lap Cat?"

You May Also Like These Articles:

Why Does My Cat Put Her Rear End in My Face?

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

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

Can You Make Your Cat into a Lap Cat?

How to Tell Cats You Love Them

Four Plants Your Cat Might Love

Do Female Cats Spray?

Why Does My Cat Jump on Me While I'm Sleeping?

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at CatHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.