We can all agree that we love our pets. Let’s face it; we spend portions of every day handling icky food, cleaning up stuff we don’t want to look at and expect little in return. Either we love our pets, or we’ve allowed ourselves to be enslaved by a race of furry or feathered creatures.
On the flip side, we could be forgiven for wondering if, in return, our pets love us. Any cat owner will be familiar with the following situation:
You stand up. Your cat rushes over to where you are, miaows at you repeatedly and at loud volume. They bang into your legs.
“Oh, you’re hungry. Would you like some food?”
The miaowing intensifies, you take that as a yes. You walk to where the food is kept, trying to keep your balance as your cat – somewhat inexplicably – walks right in front of you. They realize that tripping you will only delay their feed, right?
You locate the food, put it in a bowl and place it in front of your cat.
“There you go! Aww, you’re a good cat, aren’t you?”
Your cat takes a mouthful of food. They swallow and then swish off from the bowl, casting a glance back at you as if to say: “Don’t give me THAT food again. I’m going to find and murder a songbird. It’s the only way I get a decent meal around here!”
In short, your pets can sometimes act like real snobs. You can end up wondering whether your love is reciprocated. So how do you know if it is or not?
Understand Your Pet’s Communication
When you want to know where you stand with a human, you ask. Then you listen to what they say, filter any passive aggression or sarcasm out of there, and arrive at your conclusion. With a pet, it’s harder because they can’t speak. But they can tell you things.
If your cat nuzzles your hand when you offer it, they’re happy with you. If they sit on your lap when you watch TV, the same is true. Your dog almost certainly adores you. You know it by the way they bark, wag their tail and react like a superfan to everything you do.
Just Look Around
Whether it’s a cat, a dog or a domesticated fox, your pet will show how they feel about you primarily through proximity. They are animals with no blood link nor family loyalty to you. In other words, the fact that they stick around shows they love you. Some are a little more expressive in how they show it, of course, but it’s the same with humans.
Recognize Little Signs
One trick that some cat owners will be familiar with is blinking at a cat to see if they return it. If you look directly at them, and blink slowly, a cat will often return the blink. What they are saying is “I’m a creature that is naturally curious and suspicious. I can see threat in anything. And I’m willing to close my eyes when you’re there. I know I can rely on you.”
Dogs are less likely to be subtle about how they feel. However, wanting to sleep close to you is a good sign. It shows they see you as part of their pack – even when they must sleep, they’ll be there to defend you if needed.