Albany Blog

How our pets show affection

By February 3, 2023No Comments

The bond between owner and pet is a special one; a mutually beneficial relationship providing comfort, companionship and feelings of well-being. We show our pets how much we love them in various ways – walks at all hours during all weathers, speaking soothingly to them to provide reassurance, feeding them a healthy diet (often feeding them before we think of ourselves), looking after their health and the obvious one – cuddles (as long as they are willing!).

But how do they show their love for us?

Dogs

Through touch – does your Great Dane insist on sitting on your lap? Or your Labrador leans on you whenever you sit down? They just want to be close to you! Pawing at you can be a sign of affection, (but check for other reasons too, as this can also be a request for something such as the need to be let out to toilet or a display of anxiety about something).  We use our hands to stroke and groom our dogs to show affection, they use their tongues to do the same. Licking is an instinctive comforting behaviour, learned as a pup from their mother.

 

 

Tail wagging – although not all tail movements indicate happiness, a relaxed, sweeping wag is a positive sign and who doesn’t love a whole-body wag?!

Checking on you during walks – if your dog is often in front of you on walks, you may notice that he intermittently looks back at you – he is checking you’re still present and all is ok!

Eye contact – although dogs usually prefer to avoid direct eye contact (turning away from another dog’s gaze is an attempt to avoid conflict), prolonged eye contact with relaxed eyes and pupils of normal size means your dog is giving you the look of love!

 

 

Cats

Grooming or kneading – Cats spend a lot of time grooming and will groom each other when they feel happy to do so. Licks from your cat can be a sign of affection, but be aware of overgrooming – a sign your cat might be anxious and trying to comfort herself.

Kneading, or ‘making biscuits’ as it’s also known, starts in young kittens; during feeding they push on their mother’s abdomen to stimulate the release of milk. It’s thought that this habit continues as cats age, as they find it soothing and relaxing.

Head bumps and rubbing – Your cat’s version of a kiss on the cheek! This is a demonstration of trust. Cats have pheromone-containing scent glands around their face and base of their tail; their scent communication is complex and its purpose includes territory marking, information gathering and enabling bonding and social connections.

 

 

Bringing gifts – OK, so they may be unwanted gifts, but cats are natural hunters and prefer to bring their prey back to where they feel most secure – their territory, your home! Your cat may also be offering you, what she considers to be, a delicious treat! She’s trying to look after you too!

Purring –  This complex form of communication doesn’t always signify happiness in your cat; it is thought that cats purr for different reasons, for example to self-soothe when in pain. It’s Important to read the signs accompanied by a purr; generally, in a cat with a relaxed demeanour curled up on your lap enjoying a stroke and some fuss, purring is a sign of happiness and contentment. This purr gives off calming vibes and can be soothing for us humans too!

 

 

The forms of communication may differ, but the result is the same – an unconditional emotional connection between us as humans and our furry best friends! What’s not to love?!