Do Cats Like and Understand Kisses?

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Fact checked by  Ma'ayan Gutbezahl
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An image capturing a heartwarming moment of a person kissing their cat.

The idea of cats feeling love is hotly debated. This is true not just among cat owners but scientists too. Understanding how cats communicate is the key to understanding how to show your affection for them, and how they show their affection for you.

Key Takeaways

Cats give and receive affection from their owners, but they communicate using body language

Not all cats like kisses, but those that do understand that this is their owner's way of showing them love and affection

You can show love and affection to your cat in other ways including petting, grooming, feeding, and accepting head butts, licking, and rubbing

So do cats actually feel love? We don’t know for certain. Many cat owners wonder what the best way is to show love to their pet, which often leads to the question: do cats like kisses? There isn’t a straight or definitive answer, and often it depends on the cat. Just like humans, our feline family members give and receive love in different, individual ways.

Cats do not understand kisses in the same way as humans do. This is because cats interpret emotions and communicate affection very differently from humans. However, many cats do know that a kiss is a human’s way of showing love and affection.

Some cats will like kisses while others will not. You’ll soon know which category your cat falls into by their response to a kiss! Understanding your cat’s body language and behavior is important. So, let’s dive a bit deeper into this and explore the ways that cats give and receive love and kisses.

Also Read: The 13 Most Affectionate Cat Breeds That Love to Cuddle

How Do Cats Show Affection?

An endearing image of a person gently kissing their cat.

Learning to understand your cat’s body language and behavior will only help to strengthen your bond.

Cats show love and affection to one another, and humans, by using body language. While they don’t kiss in the traditional sense, they have many other ways to express affection.

Most cats enjoy being close to the people they love and form strong attachments to their owners. They will show a strong desire to be close to you and become distressed when separated from you. When they are close to you, they will exhibit behaviors that show that they are happy and content.

Cats show affection by:

Head-butting and rubbing are a cat’s way of marking you as its own. They have scent glands in their cheeks and lips, which they use to leave their scent on you via pheromones. This is a sign that they see you as part of their social group, and that they feel a positive attachment and affection towards you.

Licking is the closest thing a cat gives to a kiss. It is actually a grooming behavior that they usually reserve for their own feline kind. If your cat is licking or grooming you, it’s a sign that they accept you as part of their social group and is a way of displaying respect and affection.

The slow blinking of the eyes from across the room is something most cat owners are familiar with. This is a cat’s way of saying “I love you” without any physical contact.

Do Cats Like Kisses?

An affectionate image capturing a woman sharing a kiss with her black cat.

Cats will show you if they like or appreciate a kiss.

Cats will respond positively to you if they enjoy being kissed. Their body language will show you that they are relaxed and content, and they might do some of these things:

  • Blinking slowly whilst looking at you
  • Lifting their head or leaning forward, with their ears up
  • Purring
  • Head-butting
  • Rubbing
  • Licking
  • Lifting their tail and wrapping it around you

Also Read: 10 Signs Your Cat Really Does Trust You

Do Cats Understand Kisses?

Cat being kissed.

Cats can learn to understand human affection, even when it is different from feline displays of affection.

Cats are capable of understanding that kisses are a display of love, even though kissing is not a part of a cat’s normal body language. In a cat’s world, rubbing their scent on those they love and receiving this from others is an exchange of affection. Cats may interpret a human kiss in a similar way – that we are making physical contact and leaving our scent on them.

Also Read: What Scents Do Cats Hate? This List Might Surprise You 

How Do I Know if My Cat Likes Being Kissed?

An endearing image portraying a cat engaging in a loving gesture that resembles a kiss.

If a cat doesn’t like or want kisses, it’s best to respect their space and back off to prevent unnecessary stress.

If your cat doesn’t want to be kissed, they will soon let you know! Signs they don’t want to receive this sign of affection are:

If your cat is displaying any of these behaviors when you kiss them, you should stop and move away to give them space. Continuing to kiss them or do something they aren’t comfortable with will lead to unwanted stress. It could even lead to a weakening of the bond between you and your pet.

Of course, your cat would need to have an awful lot of these uncomfortable experiences to get to this point. You should still accept the signals that your cat gives you when they don’t like something.

Also Read: Do Cats Cry Tears When Sad Or In Pain?

Guidelines for Kissing Cats

An adorable image capturing a heartwarming moment of two cats engaging in a sweet and affectionate interaction.

There are many ways to show your love to a cat that doesn’t appreciate kisses.

When it comes to kissing your cat, there are a few things you need to consider to make sure that you are respecting your cat’s space and also protecting your health. So here are our dos and don’ts for kissing your cat!

  1. Never kiss cats on the lips – This can be too much of an invasion of your cat’s personal space. Also, cats carry bacteria and parasites that can spread to humans through their saliva. It’s best to always avoid the mouth area when kissing your cat!
  2. Don’t kiss a cat you don’t know – Not all cats like being kissed. Until you get to know a cat, and they get to know you, it’s best not to overstep boundaries and get too close. This could stress the cat out and get you an unpleasant swat in the face!
  3. Don’t let children kiss cats – It’s essential to teach children how to behave around cats and how to respect their space. Your little one probably loves spending time with their pet! But some cats are less tolerant of children, and there’s also a higher risk of a child being scratched in the face if the cat doesn’t like being kissed.

Also Read: Cats And Kids – Rules For Safe Play

Alternative Ways To Show Your Cat Love

An elegant image showcasing a Persian cat engaged in grooming.

Grooming your cat is a popular way to show affection that most cats will appreciate.

Not all cats are the kissing type, and if your cat falls into this category there’s no need to worry or feel disheartened! There are lots of other ways to show love to your cat, including:

  • Petting
  • Grooming
  • Giving treats and food
  • Talking to your cat
  • Returning and maintaining eye contact
  • Slow eye blinks at your cat
  • Accepting rubs, head-butts, and licking

Allowing your cat to show love and affection in the way they choose, and accepting these gestures, shows your cat that you love, respect, and appreciate them.

Also Read: 10 Key Questions To Ask Before Adopting A New Cat

Final Thoughts

An endearing image featuring a cat with a playful expression, accompanied by a caption that reads 'Cat Love You' in a whimsical font.

Getting to know your cat as an individual and catering to their needs and desires will strengthen your bonds of affection.

While kisses are not a part of a cat’s normal body language, our feline family members are capable of understanding a kiss as a display of love and affection. Even though cats communicate differently with us, they learn to understand what a kiss means, and many cats love to receive them.

You’ll know your cat likes your kisses by paying close attention to their body language and behavior. However, a kiss might not be the way to your cat’s heart; not all cats respond positively to a kiss and prefer to receive love in other ways.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Like To Be Carried?

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cats feel when you kiss them?

Not all cats like being kissed, but those that do accept a kiss as a way of us showing our affection for them. It can help to strengthen our bond with a cat, and cats enjoy being close to those they love as they feel safe and comforted.

What do cats think about kissing?

It’s impossible to know for sure what our cats are thinking. But many cats like kisses and enjoy receiving affection in this way. Other cats do not like it and will soon show body language to alert you to this.

How do I tell my cat I love him?

You can show love towards your cat by petting them, grooming them, accepting head butts, licking, and rubbing, and by kissing them.

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About Dr. Holly Anne Hills BVMEDSCI MRCVS

Holly has worked as a small animal vet in several clinics across the UK and has taken short breaks to volunteer in India and the Caribbean working with street dogs. Her interests are in surgery, caring for geriatric patients, and client education. She writes behavior and nutrition articles for

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