Kissing is widely known in the human realm as a means of affection and love, so when you try kissing your cat, you naturally think that they appreciate it. But when they back away from your affectionate kisses, it might seem that it is rejecting you. What do cats think when we kiss them, and why would they back away from the kiss?
It is still unclear what cats think when we kiss them, but it is clear that they express affection differently from humans. They might not understand what kisses mean and might become confused about your actions. Since kisses mimic head bunting, cats sometimes lean into them.
Your cat loves you and appreciates the attention you give to them, but if you are curious about why they don’t like your kisses, read further. What you discover may or may not surprise you.
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Cats Express Affection Differently Than Humans
In the human world, kisses are generally known to express affection and love. Moms and dads kiss their babies on their heads, couples kiss each other, and pet parents kiss their cats and dogs out of love. But how do cats express affection? Because they have scent glands in their faces and on their paws, they rub their heads against humans to co-mingle their scents.
Other ways that cats express affection involves grooming you, sitting on your lap, slow blinking at you, and other ways. Cats have a language all their own, and when you understand their language, you can respond in their way. But let’s keep going to learn more about your cat’s love language.
If you’ve ever watched two close cats, you might have noticed that they rub heads together every once in a while when they show affection. This head bunting shows ownership because of the scent glands in their heads. Aside from showing affection, this method mixes their scent with your scent when they do it to you.
When you stare right into your cat’s eyes, you might notice that your cat responds with wide eyes and fear. The reason your cat responds this way is that, in the wild, animals who stare at other animals usually have predatory intentions. Staring into your cat’s eyes tells it that you have bad intentions, and it will keep an eye on you until the threat leaves.
On the other side of this, when you slowly blink at your cat, it relaxes more because that means that you aren’t a threat. Slow blinks are a sign of trust and love, and when your cat slowly blinks at you, it is telling you that you are trustworthy enough to close its eyes around you.
Mama cats groom their kittens out of love and care. Cat friends groom each other because they love each other and want to care for each other. When your cat licks you, it is grooming you and sharing its love with you in a way it understands. Many cat parents can probably relate to this and have had their hair ‘groomed’ by their cats before.
Sitting On Your Lap
Cats won’t sit on anyone’s lap they don’t trust or love. So when your cat sits on your lap, it shows a huge level of trust and love for you. It also might mean that your cat is cold and needs to warm up a bit. However, some cats refuse to sit on someone’s lap due to previous trauma. That doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t love you, though. It just means they have things to work through.
Aside from the other actions cats do to show love, they also show affection through their language. Chirps, mews, and purrs signify that your cat loves you and tells you in the only way they can, vocally. Try mimicking its language to show love back to your cat.
They Might Not Understand What Kisses Mean
Cats usually don’t understand what kisses mean, but they usually respond positively to them because you’re touching them and giving them love. They crave attention most of the time, and when you’re affectionate with your cat, it loves the attention, even if it doesn’t fully get the significance of the kiss.
Human touch is often underrated, even among cats, and if you’re rubbing their bellies, giving them kisses, or stroking their backs, they will appreciate it and show love back to you in their special way.
Some Cats Lean Into Kisses, While Other Cats Avoid Them
When you kiss your cat, does it try to avoid your kisses, or does it lean into them? Not all cats like being kissed and will tell you by moving their heads or flattening their ears. If they feel threatened by your kisses, they might even slap you and run away.
However, some cats appreciate kisses and will lean toward you to receive them. But they only do this if they’ve been kissed before and know that you’re not threatening them.
What should you do if your cat moves its head to the side or hisses at you when you try kissing it? The simple answer is not to kiss your cat. Since this is a boundary your cat is setting, you’ll need to respect that and back off.
Kisses Mimic Head Bunting
Cats who like kisses might see them as a form of head bunting. As mentioned above, this is one of the ways that cats show affection. Because they rub cheeks together to show affection and put their scents on each other, kisses might be seen by your cat as you are doing the same thing they do.
If you rub your cheek on your cat’s cheek, then kiss its head, it will most likely respond favorably to it, as your cat sees it at head bunting.
Of course, not all head bunting (or head butting) is gentle. Some head butting is aggressive and can hurt you or knock your glasses off your face. If your cat is aggressive with you, it will put its scent on you to warn other cats to back off.
How Can You Show Your Cat Affection?
Showing your cat affection without kissing it should be simple if you’ve paid attention to this article so far. Slow blinking, cheek rubs, and letting it groom you are all ways to show your cat affection and love. Petting it while it is on your lap is another way, and it can relax you as well.
But you’ll need to watch your cat’s body language closely to gauge how it feels about your affection gestures. The following actions should tell you your cat is not happy about what you’re doing:
- Ears flattened or back
- Their tail is down and wagging
- They hiss at you
- They slap you with or without claws
- Your cat moves its head to avoid being kissed
Cats are fickle creatures, and just because they don’t like your kisses doesn’t mean they are rejecting you. It only means they are setting boundaries that you need not cross.
Kissing your pet is a natural response for showing love–at least for humans. But it’s not a natural affectionate response for cats. Rather, they like to groom you, slow blink at you, and head-butt you. It’s what cats know, and to try to change your cat is like trying to change evolution.
Instead of trying to kiss your cat, try giving it love through cuddles, pets, and food. When your cat’s needs are provided, it sees you as a trustworthy human who will protect it and keep it safe. What more could you or your cat need?
- Canidae: Do Cats Like to Be Kissed?
- Cat Health: Do Cats Like Kisses?
- Catster: How Do Cats Show Affection? Look For These 7 Affection Signs
- Tree Hugger: Do Cats Like to Be Kissed?
- The Nest: Do Cats Know What Kisses Are?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.