What do Cats Think When We Kiss Them

Love may be universal, but the way we humans show it is actually pretty weird. Mushing our mouths into each other, from an animal standpoint, probably looks more like fighting than loving. If the animals didn’t grow up in a human house, they would never encounter kissing in nature. Do your housecats ‘get it’ when you kiss them? I had to know more about this strange human custom and how it affects our domestic kitties, so I sought out some experts and learned what they have to say about it. As usual, the answer wasn’t what I thought it would be.

What do cats think when we kiss them? Cats who were raised by kissy humans from a very young age understand that kisses are affection. Some smart kitties even imitate human kisses to please us and show love back. Felines give affection naturally in a very different way, so you have to learn their language to know when most are kissing you back.

Cats Are Smart

Your cat knows what you mean when you kiss it, at least after a while. It may take a while for your pet to pick up the nuances of what you are teaching them. Make no mistake about it, your social interactions with your cat matter to them, and they learn from you.

What we call a smile, many species would consider aggressive teeth-baring, but your cat doesn’t think you are threatening it when you smile. Why? You are training them from the moment you first pick them up.

Everything you do with your cat, positive or negative, shows them what you want and expect. When you kiss them, cats learn that you are showing affection. Some cats don’t like it very much, but that has to do with their personality.

Like humans, cats develop different personalities, and some of them simply don’t like kisses. Conversely, some cats learn to ‘kiss’ you back by bumping their faces into your lips. Regardless of instinct, cats who do this love the attention of kisses and want to return the favor. It doesn’t mean a cat who dislikes kisses feels less love; they aren’t big kissers.

Your Cat is Training You

Just like cats don’t kiss, they also don’t meow at other cats when they’re adults. As kittens, they make that sound when they need their mother’s attention. Mommy cats listen for mews and meows to cue them in when kittens are hungry, hurt, afraid, or lost. However, there comes the point in every young cat’s life when their mother stops responding to the call.

It may sound sad to us, but it’s a natural part of their life cycle. Growing up, for kittens, means learning to hunt, hide, climb, play, and eventually stop asking mom for help. It’s normal and healthy for them to do this in the wild. After all, an un-fixed mother cat can have as many as a hundred and eighty babies in her lifetime, though usually, it’s quite a few less in the wild.

Housecats have learned that the same sound that brings their cat mommy will also elicit a reaction from their people. Humans respond by talking to the cat, picking it up, petting it, or otherwise interacting. Long after a kitty parent would have basically ‘asked’ them to stop doing that the way we might ask or insist a child stop sucking a thumb or picking their nose, humans will tolerate this ‘baby behavior.’

Listening to a housecat meow tells us they need or want something. It’s beneficial to our relationship, so they keep doing it. Quite literally, a cat is training you to listen and do what they ask since you’ve taken it out of the wild. Domestic kitties can’t necessarily handle things the way they would in nature, so they ask us for help.

Cats Who Kiss

Though it’s not uncommon, not all cats kiss people back. They do this in several different ways. How often or which methods they use will depend a lot on your cat. Their personality and the environment a kitty grows up in will influence how they express affection the same as any other living, thinking creature.

While your cat may not quite ‘get’ human kisses, they know when you do something special for them. Making them comfortable and happy matters to your cat and they know it shows love. Grab your cat a comfy sleeping place like the Kitty City Large Cat Bed from Amazon to show some love. You can get one by clicking here

Cat Kisses

Your cat does something like a kiss. In fact, they have three ways of ‘kissing’ people and other pets.

  1. Licking someone else clean is a form of cat affection similar to a kiss.
  2. A good head bonk is a cats’ way of showing love like a kiss or hug.
  3.  When your cat stares at you and gives a long blink, this is their version of blowing a kiss. You should return the gesture.

Kitty Kiss #1

When they’re little, a cat’s mother will lick them clean, and this is affection. They recognize this, and some cats lick their humans, which is a form of giving you comfort, not unlike a hug or kiss.

Typically your cat isn’t trying to clean you when they lick. That would be a massive job for such a small creature. If your cat does lick you a lot more than average, it’s a different form of communication.

Either you are alarmingly dirty by cat standards, or they like the way you taste. Keep in mind; their noses are much more sensitive than yours. Less common, but still possible, is licking out of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or some other cat mental health concern.

Kitty Kiss #2

When you pucker up, does your cat automatically go in for a head bonk against your lips? Noggin bonking is a form of cat affection. Your kitty has scent glands in their forehead. They use these to say hello to each other when they like another animal or to show you they want your affection.

Similarly, when housecats bonk their heads against your hand, it means the same thing. As frustrating as it can be, they have the same intention when they try to trip you up with their ankle level affection. It’s not meant to trip you, just to show you some love, or at least mark you with their scent to tell other animals they can back off because you are a claimed human. Keep in mind, your kitty is far more agile than you are, and while they’re smart. They also look up to you more than literally, so you might be on a metaphorical pedestal in their heads.

Kitty Kiss #3

Cats do have their own version of a kiss, but it’s probably not what you’re thinking. You see, felines don’t need to touch you, or each other, to show deep abiding love, trust, and respect. They can kiss across the room, almost like blowing kisses.

The long, slow, almost sleepy blink that cats give is their version of expressing love physically. When your kitty gives you the long blink, you may want to return the gesture. Showing them you understand and love them back by learning to speak their language is sweet and shows your pet that you are paying them as much attention as they give you.

Do Cats Like Kisses

There’s no single answer to this question. Some cats seem to enjoy human kisses very much. Meanwhile, others will cut you if you try that on them. If you’re familiar with the concept of nurture versus nature, then you already know why this happens.

It’s not in kitty nature to push their mouths together, but how pets are nurtured as they grow up changes the adult, they become. A cat who doesn’t know you, or has been traumatized may lash out. Likewise, a cat who wasn’t raised getting kissed could do the same or at least squirm away, and the same will happen if a cat had kisses forced on them, which they didn’t enjoy.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are cats who have something like hero worship for their humans. Cats who are incredibly human-social and exceptionally lovey cats will also respond well to kissing.

For cat lovers everywhere, whether you’re a kisser or not, I also suggest the Twin Critters – Handcrafted Eco-friendly Merino Wool Cat Cave. Kitties love sleeping and feeling safe enough to trust you when their eyes are closed. Show them you appreciate that with a special comfy bed. You can check prices and availability by clicking here

The Rules For Kissing Cats

If you are going to spend time giving kisses to cats, then there are a few guidelines that you should probably abide by. Keep in mind that these will help both you and your cats to feel more comfortable with human-feline kisses.

  1. Don’t make it weird. If your cat is ordinarily affectionate and doesn’t mind kisses, but he or she pulls away, respect the choice. Just like you would with a person, respect the “No.”
  2. Don’t encourage children to kiss cats. Even if you’re sure that your cat will enjoy the kiss, it’s a bad idea to encourage kids to kiss cats. After all, one is pointy on five of their six ends, and the other has skin that can be cut with less than a pound of pressure. It’s a recipe for disaster.
  3. Never kiss a stranger. This rule applies to humans, cats, and everything else. It’s not a wise plan to pucker up for anyone or any cat that you don’t know. Your skin will also break with less than a pound of pressure. Equally important, you’re putting your eyes within easy reach.
  4. Watch for the signs. A cat’s mood is not as mysterious as some folks like to believe. A straight-up tail that isn’t puffed out is a sign of a good mood. Similarly, ears straight up and looking right at you, especially with long blinks included, probably means you have kitties attention, and they’re ready for yours as well. Headbutting is also a good clue that your pet is feeling the love.
  5. Keep it Sanitary. If your immune system is compromised, or you worry about germs, which you should, maybe avoid kissing your cat. While felines are very clean, that doesn’t make them germ-free, and they could contribute to problems.
  6. When in doubt, skip the kiss. I feel like that’s self-explanatory.

Humans kissing cats isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not necessary for the happiness of your pet either. They’ll be just as happy with a good scratch or a long blink instead. Of course, if you raised them with kisses, then your kitties may be confused or saddened if you suddenly stop.

Final Thoughts

Whether your cat loves giving and receiving kisses or not, you can be sure they love you. While they may see our lip-smush as a strange form of love, many of us don’t even recognize their long blink of love-trust. Now you know better.

Reading a cats’ mind is impossible, but paying attention to their body language isn’t that difficult. If you look for the signs and listen to what your cat has to say, you’ll know what they think of your kisses.

Next time your kitty says they love you, you can return the favor. It only seems fair since cats spend so much time learning to talk to us.

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