Do Cats Love Their Owners. The Facts May Amaze You.

Every pet owner likes to think that our pets love us as much as we love them, but is that really true and do cats love their owners? It has been a fact that dogs love their owners, like the dog who sits by his masters grave, even though his owner passed several years earlier, but can the same be said for cats? Let us look into this matter more deeply, and look at the available scientific research on ‘do cats love their owners’? We will also look into what cat and animal behaviorists have concluded as well.

do cats love their owners

Important differences between cats and dogs

Firstly there is a big difference between the way cats look at us, and the way dogs look at us, and although we know a lot about canines, we don’t know that much about cats and their behavior. A dog is part of a pack, while the cat is mostly a solitary animal, it can be just at home on its own as it can with several other cats. A dog has to rely on the rest of the pack to hunt for food, and they have to have a bond between them to work together, especially when hunting. Alternatively, a pet dog has to rely on its owner to feed him, whereas a cat will instinctively hunt on its own if the need arises, and a cat will wash and groom himself, while a dog needs his owner to do that.

So do cats love their owners? Important Research conclusions.

These points are quite relevant to finding out whether or not your cat loves you, because looking at the behavior in animals and researching, leads us to conclusions that may not have been realized before. Having said that, recent research performed on cats, and observation performed by cat behaviorists seems to indicate that cats do not actually love us like dogs do. Moreover, cats do not actually need us to survive was the point being made, yet there must be a type of bond between cat, and owner due to the fact that even cats that can wander off choose to stay.

One research performed by the University of Lincoln concluded that cats are much more independent than dogs, because they do not show any signs of separation anxiety when their owners leave the house, or room. Additionally, they seem to feel quite comfortable when left on their own for a while, making them excellent pets for those who have to work, whereas a dog may whine, or pine for his master until he comes home. Usually, one would expect if a pet is attached to their owner, they would show some signs of distress when the owner is not around, this wasn’t the case with cats.

do cats love their owners

Owners conclusions in comparison

Many owners can come to this same conclusion for themselves under certain circumstances, like when a cat is afraid, rather than run to its owner, he may hide under a bed, or on top of a cabinet. Having said that, many owners do create a bond between their cat and themselves, over time it is inevitable that a bond is created, which could be concluded as a type of love or affection. Although the research shows that cats do not need us, our cats, if given the opportunity, they would choose to stay, rather than run off.

During the course of observation, and research by different entities, it has also been noticed with cats behavior that what cats do with humans, they also do with their mothers or other cats. For instance, cats purr while rubbing up against your legs, a tail in the air or licking, is everything that cats do to one another, however, they do not do this to a cat that is inferior to them, so maybe they see us as another cat or someone that is superior to them. You may have experienced your cat kneading you with its paws, this is what they do as a kitten to stimulate milk from the mother cat.

do cats love their owners

Do cats have feelings for us different to love?

Science is based on facts, and the facts are that cats simply treat us like they do other cats, but there may be much more to it than that. Much more research needs to be done in order to fully understand cats, and the research done so far has just been the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Moreover, we do know cats, like all animals, have feelings, because when they get hurt they cry out in pain, when they are sick it shows in the way they act, so just maybe they have other feelings too, like love. Also if your cat greets you at the front door with loud purrs when you come home from work, did they miss you? or are they just saying hi? Are these signs your cat loves you?

The research performed was done using 20 different cats, and their owners as well as strangers, in a different environment than what they were used to, and monitored how the cats reacted when their owner left the room. This was done to find out if the cat showed any signs of distress or anxiety once the owner was gone. However, the cats were more vocal when the owner left the room, and although this was of no concern in the conclusion, maybe cats have a different way of showing they are missing you.

do cats love their owners

To sum up and your response………….

Finally, just because research shows that there is no evidence that cats can love us as we do them, it doesn’t necessarily prove that they cannot love us. We as humans may still kiss our parents when we visit them, or hug friends we haven’t seen in a while, just as we kissed, and hugged our family as children, is this an inbred instinct, or habit? Or are we showing our love? It is ultimately an individuals choice whether you believe your cat is returning your love or not, and many owners will not hesitate when asked if they think their cat loves them, so what do you think? Do cats love us or not? Please leave your opinion in the Leave a Reply section below.

Author: James Kelly

James Kelly is a network marketer and blogger who earns a living from affiliate programs and blogs

34 thoughts on “Do Cats Love Their Owners. The Facts May Amaze You.”

  1. Your article gives me various responses.

    I love how dogs miss us and want us to pet them. That’s why I choose dogs.

    But your article about cats are independent made me want to get one. They might have lower maintenance costs compared to dogs. They can hunt for themselves. YAY!
    Or maybe I should not get a cat because I may neglect it because of that.

  2. Very interesting article. But what is love anyway? Just because a dog needs us does it mean a dog loves us more? Sure the dog is upset when the owner leaves but isn’t that just because he knows he will be hungry without the owner? I’m not sure if that’s truly love. What do you think?

    1. Good comment, Matt. I love cats and dogs but have always had cats. I believe both are affectionate, but as for being able to love? I had never thought much about it. Story: couple had two cats and a small dog. Then they adopted a Pit Bull. Pittie very affectionate and “loving”, not just to owners, but also to the cats and dog, letting the pets eat first, letting them sleep on him, licking their faces, etc. One evening the couple went out for a few hours, and when they returned the Pittie was at the door, greeting them, acting happy. Then they noticed he had blood around his mouth. In the kitchen were the dog and one cat, dead, big bites on them. The second cat was on the top of the refrigerator, shaking. What was up with the Pittie? He could really have affection for owners, but one night with owners gone, he was angry and took it out on the small animals. Who knows? Dogs and cats need us, no doubt about it, but as for loving us? I am sorry, Matt, but I can’t answer this. I included the story because it illustrated the complicated feelings animals may have.

  3. Hi, James.

    Thanks for sharing this information about cats. I don’t know cats so much because I’ve never had one as a pet. My family had dogs when they raised me. I will have a dog maybe this year because I love dogs. I’ve had different experiences with cats during the years. Sometimes I don’t trust them because I have been bitten and they seem a bit unpredictable to me.

    I agree that cats seems to be more independent than dogs and can manage without their owners. I also think that cats feel something for their owners maybe it’s affection or maybe they just enjoy having a warm and cosy place to stay and be fed.


    1. I think that cats are very cunning creatures. To me our cat is always affectionate by rubbing against me when he wants something, like food! As for cuddling up to me on my lap and showing affection at other times – a definite no! Still not every cat is the same and I am sure other readers have different opinions.


  4. I can tell you categorically, there is a connection between owners and their cats.
    Your comment on superior and inferior cats is the perfect starting point as either way, this constitutes a relationship.

    Cats could just walk out but choose not to, not because they fill part of a family but because their being fed.

    Equally, cats that do have a loving connection really do have. I’ve had various cats over the years and had totally different relationships with each some stronger than others.

    I also have three kids………….I’ve leave the next sentence to your imagination of what I was going to say next : )

  5. Very interesting article. I, personally, have a female cat and male cat. The female, I truly believe loves me. She follows me around like a dog. Sits under my chair when I eat. Goes in the bathroom with me when I go, and paws at the door if I don’t let her. And when I leave for any extended period of time and my wife isn’t home, she throws up. lol She just sits and stares at me continuously and the minute I return from somewhere, she’s in my lap. She’s sitting outside my bedroom door waiting for me to come out in the mornings. I truly believe they can feel some sense of love.

    1. Thanks for those comments Grant. I do agree with you that with some cats there is definitely a bond between them and their owners, whether this manifests as love who knows? I know that whenever my eldest daughter packed her suitcases for overseas trips her cat ( who we looked after in her absence ) instinctively knew that he would not have her company for some time and viewed this packing with apprehension! On her return he would sulk for days for her having dared to leave him!


  6. Yes, I think cats are able to love their owners. But not every cat that a person owns will love him/her. It also depends on the relationship between the owner and pet. I used to have a cat years ago and she was like my child to me. She in turn was very affectionate with me and we had a very strong bond. Cats are definitely great pets to have and should be treated with love and affection.

  7. Very interesting article. I believe Both cats and dogs enjoy affection for one reason or another, Whether it is actually love or just that they want scratched seems to be a matter of perception. I have had both cats and dogs although I am more of a dog person. I did love my cat and I do believe she loved us because, like your post said, she came back.

  8. Great article.
    Really interesting.
    To be honest I’m much more of a dog lover, specifically because what you mention in the post. Dogs show more emotion and love than cats, and since they are pack animals, they instantly feel like part of the family.

    What’s interesting is the concept that cats might show love differently than what we think. I guess as time moves on, we will know more about the relationship between cats and humans.

  9. I have had quite a few cats in my lifetime, most with me for at least a decade, and a few for at least 2. I can say with unrelenting assuredness, cats are certainly capable of loving you. I write this as my two fluffs are sound asleep, one on my bed and the other nearby, undeniably taking comfort in and enjoying our presence together. That’s part of love to me anyway. I can recall a time not too long ago when I never imagined feeling such a strong expression of a loving bond, like that with family, with my cat. For all my cats, our relationship definitely seemed to develop and grow over time. But the fact remains some cats truly are capable of clearly expressing affection and love for their human friend. And maybe some are not; do you believe every human is? This is especially seems to especially present when the love is reciprocated (in a manner that cats seem to appreciate, of course).

    My 2 cats are very loving, especially while im home more often now that im studying, always hanging out with me while I’m doing whatever im doing. I have a 3rd cat that has become mostly feral over the years, hopefully not when it gets too cold. But she always comes home every few days and has a meal of wet food (rather than the crunchies we leave outside in case she needs it)… or a long nap deserved after her long adventures. Whether she comes home soley for the food or because she actually misses me, I’m happy to take care of her and I love her, as another living being, regardless.

    1. Many thanks for this very in depth response Danielle and I very much appreciate it. As you rightly say where affection goes no two cats are alike and in that regard are similar to their owners. I am divided in my opinion over our current cat Oscar, a former stray, as to whether he shows affection to me. He does rub himself against me first thing every morning but this is only a message to me that he wants to be fed! At 5 years old he is definitely not a lap cat but will sit next to me on the couch when taking a nap. Most of the day he is out visiting the neighborhood but does not wander too far and with his acute sense of hearing he always seems to be aware when I am outside at lunchtime as he then suddenly appears hoping for some scraps to eat!


  10. I truly don’t think it matters if the cat loves you or not. We love our cats. That’s why there are sites like this. If my cat allows me to cuddle and pet her and play with her that’s enough for me. I adore my furbaby.

  11. My female cat and I cuddle for hours when I’m home,and when I get home from work,my male cat is waiting by the door. If you say “kisses”to him he will put his mouth on yours for you to kiss and rub his head against your cheek. I believe that’s love, or certainly great affection.

  12. I truly believe it depends on the cat. My cat definitely gets separation anxiety when I leave her. Mopes around til I get back home. I get kisses on the nose. She shows lots of love and affection. I guess to each their own. She always has to be where I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love her,she loves me. It’s pretty simple. Every cat is definitely different in personality. One cat maybe skiddish and have fear or don’t like much interaction. To the next cat might like the constant attention.

  13. One morning i woke to my then 9month old tuxedo cat lying next to me on her back staring at me with her paw on my face. She will put her mouth to mine when i ask for a kiss most of the time and she comes running when i call her most of the time even though she now has three names! She lets me clip her nails. I think she loves me. I sure love her!

    1. I think cats definitely love, and you can see this in the way they miss you , and wait for you to come home. They sleep near you and follow you about

  14. My cat, Leo, loves to be held and lick my face. He’ll jump from the floor onto my back and climb on my shoulders, just so he can lick my face. Leo also loves to play fetch. No joke. When he’s in the mood, Leo drops this foam ball at my feet and I know thats when he wants me to throw it. It will go on for at least 10 minutes. When he doesn’t want to fetch anymore, he’ll drop the ball just out of my reach and will lay down. Also, when I leave for work, my room mate says Leo sits by the door and meows over and over.

    I’ve been around a lot of friendly, cuddly cats, but this guy is over the top! I love it!

  15. I do not know what to say about your article. I always had dogs and did not want to have cats because of what people say that they are not affectionate pets like dogs until we moved to New York. I wanted a dog but my partner wanted a cat, I accepted with one condition that I wanted a cat big and intelligent like a dog. We bought two kitties Maine Coon (Female and Male). Quickly, the kitties chose us, the male attach to my partner and the female attach to me. They changed complete my thought about cats. As soon as we arrived home, they are waiting for us close to the door, when we are watching TV, they are with us, even if we are going to the bathroom, they follow us ( the male to my partner and my princes to me) The bond, connection and love between us is so strong that we cannot be separated. I like to talk to them in both languages (Spanish and English) so they learned our languages. The female miaow to me every time I talk or sing to her. If I am in my office room studying or watching TV so she is next to me. I know it sounds ridiculous but it is amazing after 7 years together how they changed my mind about cats. Is there is love there?, I am pretty sure it is and a lot. Maybe, it could be the breed that Maine Coon are intelligent cats

    1. Thank you Jose for sharing those thoughts with our readers. WOW talking to your cats in 2 different languages, that’s a real novelty! I assume from what you say that your cats are indoor ones which maybe is the reason why they are more liberal at showing their affection to you compared with the outdoor ones which are far more independent and probably less affectionate to their owners.

  16. I have had many cats in my lifetime and I have no doubt my cats love me. What I find different between my dogs and my cats is what I see in their eyes. I see a neeediness that has come from my dogs eyes and there is a sense they see into your eyes and we can see into theirs, which promotes that feeling of reciprocal love and understanding. On the other hand, you will see nothing in a cats eyes. Their love and emotions and reciprocal bond is found intuitively. And physically. That is the difference.

  17. I have had 9 cats in my lifetime and most of them chose me. They searched me out and chose to stay with me. One of them was badly injured and one was clearly abused. it amazed me that the cat who was missing a big chunk of one ear as well as his tail was ever able to trust another human being, but trust he did and he was one of the most affectionate cats I have ever known. I think that trust is a big part of love and cats do not trust easily. If you have earned a cat’s trust, you can be confident that she loves you. I now have a cat who was an orphan that I raised from the time she was only a few days old. She did not even have her eyes opened and looked more like a rodent than a cat. She had to be bottle fed, kept warm, washed and gently rubbed, just like her mother would have. She was kept in a box with warm and fuzzy blankets at night, but as soon as she was able to claw her way out of the box and up the bed skirt, she chose to sleep curled around my neck. There was also a basset-mix dog in the household on whom she forced her attentions. Although she was raised by a human and a dog, amazingly, she is totally feline in character. She wants to be near me when it suits her and withdraws when she wants to be alone but tolerate only one other person, my granddaughter, who was born 6 months after the cat. I know my cat has emotions because when her buddy the dog passed away at the age of 15 this year, she grieved. She refused to eat and lost enough weight that I was concerned she would starve herself to death. Cats become attached to people and even other animals and even when our wills clash, they still accept us. Yes, I believe that cats love.

    1. Thank you very much Sandra for those very insightful comments which are greatly appreciated. As you rightly say loves comes from trust. No real difference between animals and human beings in that regard. With our last cat Oscar that was certainly the case as his previous owners had abandoned him when they moved house and he was a stray cat for a long time before we took him in. It took a while to earn his trust because of this but we did get it along with his love and affection.


      1. I am a first time cat owner of a mix Siamese cat medium length hair and what I call a monkey face. She was 1 year and a few days old when we got her from the shelter. She is very independent and smart. She has a strong need to please and knows when she has. Another interesting characteristic is she talks and understands all my commands, requests and words; she responds accordingly. She is easy to teach because she appears to love to please. I talk to her all the time because I know she remembers my words and associates them with what I’m talking about or asking of her. When bedtime comes I ask her if she wants to go upstairs and she takes off running to the bedroom and waits at the entrance until I open the door and turn on the light. It’s fascinating to watch how fast a learner she is. There is so much she has taught me; patients is one. She sometimes has to think about what I’m asking and she responds in her own time frame.

  18. I know I should not question scientists who study this kind of thing about can your cat actually “love” you. I will say only 2 things. The scientists are not cats. Only cats really know. Like my father used to start a sentence I might ask him about one of my dogs (I have a cat now) …….well, not being a cat…… so we would leave it there.
    My cat sits close to me on the couch & sleeps while I watch TV. Kneads my legs in bed & sleeps against me most of the time. Actually sometimes I joke, she is turning into a dog. Maybe they don’t feel love like humans, maybe another type of feeling like love. As much as most animal owners (including myself) like to put human emotions on our animals, they are indeed animals, not humans. Thank heavens for that!

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Whether or not they feel love for us humans they are a great comfort and help us to reduce everyday stress!

      Thanks for your comments.


  19. My cat loves me like a fellow soldier. When I work in the yard, she positions herself to watch outward, I of course am focused on what I am doing, so she is my overwatch.

  20. I have sleep apnea and at night I use what is called a cpap machine. During the day if I take a nap in the living room sometimes my cat comes up and pokes me and kneads in my face. As soon as I wake up and stroke him and say I’m ok he goes and curls up and goes back to sleep. My only explanation for this is that he senses a change in my breathing or not breathing and comes to wake me up.

    1. Hi Dianne, Some very interesting comments for which I thank you. It just shows you how cats are concerned about their owners wellbeing! Jim

  21. My cat chose me when she was a kitten. Her mother was a stray who found her way into our attic and had her babies. When we slept we could hear little kittens. We used to see the mother coming out from the roof and I used to feed her. Mum got used to me and allowed me to get close to her. About 4-5 weeks later her 4 kittens slowly started coming down from the roof. Now, because I was feeding Mum, one of the kittens noticed what her mother would do when I fed her. She used to walk between my legs when I had food and when I put the plate down she would eat. This little kitten who would have been no more the maybe 6 weeks started to do the same thing with me. The other kittens just ran away. 9 years later, her name is Cheeky and she is still with me. I tell her I love her and I feel she knows because of the way she looks at me when I say it. When we moved cities we had to live with my brother in law for a few weeks while I got our flat ready. We decided to leave Cheeky with my brother in law for a while about 3 months. My first thought was that she would disappear, she didn’t. Bill could hear her coming into the cat flap to eat and then hear her leave. He never saw her even when he called her. When I came to visit, all I had to do was call her and she would come. I love her. So loyal, so smart.

  22. This is a very interesting article. I have two cats I adore and I believe they adore me. I also feed some neighborhood wild cats. Our neighbor had a cat rescue catch them and neuter/spay them and she was caring for them until she died. Now a neighbor and I both feed them and I provide a warm shelter on my porch during the colder months. Anyway, we had an entire group that would come to the porch each night. One night when I was calling them, one particularly shy black cat (Licorice) started to come towards the house and another cat (Marie) seemed genuinely excited to see him. The reaction when Marie caught his scent was amazing, he ran towards Licorice and they started licking each other and playing. I have never seen a cat react with such genuine happiness at seeing another cat. The mother to all of them was very sick towards the end of her life. You could tell that she was distressed as she would approach me when in the past she would not get near me. It was so sad and we did our best to keep her comfortable, but the reaction of Marie was one of genuine concern. She stuck by her side and was very protective, even keeping other cats away while Mama cat tried to eat. They all disappeared after Mama cat died last spring. Two of them only recently started to come back. I will always believe that a cat owns us and not the other way around but when my cat is stressed he seeks me out wanting to climb onto my chest and put his head on my shoulder. My other cat hides but she had an entirely different start in life. She was rescued from a cat colony in Detroit after having a litter during the polar vortex. Only one baby survived. She is completely different from my other cat, she even plays differently. You can definitely see that she has learned skills to use for hunting while my male cat clearly just wants to play for the sake of playing. When my male cat is startled by being alone, he will call me. My female does not like to be picked up or restrained in any way. She has learned to be tolerant in the wake of an eye infection that required me to put salve in her eye. She actually seems a bit more affectionate after that ordeal and will make a point to sit by me or lay partially on my leg. I guess in the end, we love them and they give us affection so that is all that matters.

    1. What a heart rending story and thanks so very much for sharing it with the readers here Susan! Best regards. Jim

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