Why isn’t my cat affectionate?

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Do you feel like your cat doesn't love you as he isn't very affectionate towards you? As every cat is an individual, there might be many ways your cat is trying to display affection, albeit subtly. Make sure you’re not missing these signs that they love you...

While some cats can be exuberant and crave affection, others can be timid and appear aloof. Most of the time, this comes down to individual personality differences. However, some cats might be less affectionate because they didn’t have enough socialisation with humans when they were young.

A cat’s behaviour and personality are shaped through an interplay of genetics and early experience as a kitten. The first few weeks of life can have a long-lasting effect on their subsequent behaviour — this is known as the socialisation period, and occurs in cats between two and seven weeks of age. This period in a cat’s life provides them with a view of the world; it acts as a reference for things later in life and allows them to react appropriately. Cats who have not been handled by humans during this critical period may have less of an inclination to be affectionate and seek attention.

However, as every cat is an individual, there might be many ways your cat is trying to display affection, albeit subtly, but sometimes you might have to look a little harder to see the signs. If your cat is the more stoic or aloof type, make sure you’re not missing these signs that they love you:

  • Sitting nearby — some cats might be too timid to sit on your lap, but might happily sit near to you instead, and that’s a similar sign of affection.
     
  • Kneading — even if it’s not on you. When your cat moves their front paws rhythmically back and forth, it is a sign of happiness. If they sit near you and knead while you talk to them or while they look at you, they’re letting you know you’re important to them and you make them feel content and happy.
     
  • Rubbing their cheek on your leg — when your cat rubs their cheek on you, they’re telling you that they trust you and claiming you as part of their group.
     
  • Blinking very slowly at you — when your cat gazes at you, makes eye contact, and then slowly blinks at you, they’re communicating affection.
     
  • Lifting their tail high and twitching the end — this is a real sign of affection! If your cat lifts their tail and puts their rear in your face, while twitching the end of their tail, this indicates they ‘really’ like you!