As humans, we have our own ways of displaying affection. Whether it’s a cuddle, hand-holding, cooking, or kissing, we’re not afraid to show our love to those that matter most to us.
Although these actions are commonplace to us, they can look pretty strange to other species that have their own ways of communicating. Our feline friends are just one case in point.
We may love to give our cats the occasional kiss, but do they understand what it means?
DO CATS LIKE KISSES?
We get it - cats are cute. Sometimes, a head scratch or a cuddle isn’t enough. We want to be as close to them as possible! But do they understand and appreciate the gesture?
Well, first off, all cats are different. While some cats tolerate (and maybe even love) your kisses, not all cats are so accepting.
Remember: like humans, each cat has its unique personality, so don’t feel too disheartened if your cat isn’t a huge fan of human kisses. After all, it must be pretty intimidating to have a big human getting so close to your face, right?
However, most cats will allow a small kiss on the head from their humans, and although there’s limited research into the subject, it seems likely that they understand the gesture.
Even cats that don’t like kisses probably get what you’re trying to do. It may just be that that specific display of affection isn’t right for them.
Cats show their love differently to us (we’ll explore this more a little later), but they can still appreciate our own displays of affection.
IS IT OKAY TO KISS CATS?
Although no specific rule forbids owners from kissing their feline friends (that’d be a bit mean, right?), your main priority should be your cat's emotions.
If your cat appears happy and accepting of your kisses, it’s okay to give them a small kiss on the head from time to time.
However, there are also some pretty clear indicators that your cat isn’t as welcoming of this affection. If your cat is showing any signs of distress, don’t use kisses as a way to show your affection.
Here are some clear signals that your cat may not enjoy your kisses:
HOW TO KISS CATS (THE SAFE WAY)
Before you go in for a kiss with a feline friend, you need to know how to do it safely - for both you and your cat. Here are a few things you should know about kissing cats.
Never Kiss a Cat on The Lips
Cats need their space, too. For example, a kiss on the lips can feel incredibly invasive for any feline, and this display, no matter how affectionate the cat, may trigger your cat to react negatively.
Also, cats can sometimes carry parasites and bacteria in their saliva - this is especially true for kittens and any cat that hasn’t been having its regular checks and injections.
For the safety of you and your cat, lip kisses should be avoided. A small head kiss should suffice!
Discourage Children From Kissing Cats
Kids love to be up close and personal with animals - after all, it’s in their nature to be loving and curious.
However, some children can be heavy-handed in their approach, which can cause some animals, including cats, significant distress.
Some cats may also have less tolerance for children. You should discourage your child from kissing a cat on the lips and educate them on the signs of happiness in cats so that they can show their affection in a welcoming way.
Never let your child attempt to kiss or hug a cat that is showing signs of distress. This puts your child at risk of significant harm.
Don’t Kiss Unfamiliar Cats
Although it may be tempting to kiss your friend's super cute cat on the lips, don’t attempt it. Not all cats appreciate this closeness.
Just because your own feline friend enjoys your kisses doesn’t mean all cats will feel the same. Unless a cat's owner gives you permission, don’t attempt to kiss an unfamiliar cat - even on the head.
HOW DO CATS SHOW AFFECTION?
Cuddles and kisses may be the universal human sign of affection, but this isn’t the case for cats. There are plenty of ways that our feline friends show their favorite humans affection, including:
Cats and humans aren’t built the same. Aside from the obvious differences between our species, we also show affection in different ways.
While your cat may understand the reason behind your kisses, they probably don’t appreciate them all the time. Always ensure your cat is comfortable with receiving affection before you go in for a kiss!
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.