Cats have a rep for being aloof and standoffish – if not downright hostile and demanding! But cats are actually a lot more loving, and bonded to us, than previously thought. That’s according to veterinarian and animal behavior expert Dr. Gary Weitzman – and his new book How To Speak Cat.”

For example, Dr. Weitzman says 90% of the time, purring is positive. But that other 10% of the time, it can be a sign of stress and anxiety. That’s why your cat may purr at the vet when they’re clearly terrified. And Dr. Weitzman says a distressed purr is a request to be comforted. Because kittens purr to their mother when they want reassurance.

Dr. Weitzman says another sign that cats are bonded to us is meowing. Cats stop vocalizing to each other once they reach adulthood – unless they’re in heat or fighting. So the meow they make to an owner is specialized communication reserved just for humans. That goes against the belief that cats prefer a solitary life.

Another positive body language sign from cats: Look at the tail. A tail wrapped around themselves is a protective gesture. But a tail wrapped around you is like a hug from your cat.

And does your cat ever tap you with their paw? Dr. Weitzman says consider it a love tap.

Finally, is your cat a licker? Dogs lick their owners as a sign of submission. But mother cats lick their kittens to nurture them. Dr. Weitzman calls it ‘an appeasement gesture.’ So if your cat licks you, he’s saying “Bro, looks like you had a tough day. There, there.” And that’s how you know your cat loves you.

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