If you’re a cat person, it’s likely you’re already well versed and understand on quite a deep level a number of the many reasons why we humans love cats. They’re pretty awesome creatures, let’s be honest.
And yes, it is immensely possible for a cat to be incredibly happy to have a human in their life – thus sometimes returning the affection we’re often so quick on the mark to give them. Anyone who tells you cats can never love a human back, in my opinion, just doesn’t understand cats at all!
But is a cat’s affection for a human as straightforward as our affection for them? And is a cat’s love all about that free ticket for a meal? Do cats really love humans or are they just good at manipulating us into believing they care for us so we don’t toss ’em out onto the cold, hungry street? At the end of the day, does a cat’s love for any human boil down to being about food?
Do Cats Love Humans Because We Feed Them?
I’m going to cut to the chase here. If you sometimes ask yourself whether cats love people ’cause we feed them, you need to outright stop asking that question. The answer is obviously a resounding yes.
Of COURSE cats love us for the free food we give ’em. But let’s be honest with ourselves – if you met a new person today and from this day forward, every chance they got they’d stuff your belly full of grub you adored chowing down on, you’d soon love that stranger, too.
Giving a person free food is an almost guaranteed way to weasel your way into their good graces. It’s not just men whose stomachs are the quick way to their hearts – it’s true for women, too! And animals are no different. Being truthful with ourselves, we’d realize that even a loyal dog loves his or her owner in part because of the free food that’s handed out on a daily basis.
Regularly feeding a person helps that individual develop trust, appreciation, and an understanding you actually care deeply for them. Just ask any grandmother. Why should it be any different for animals and pets?
The more interesting question when it comes to cats is this: Is food the only reason cats love people? And here, I think the answer is also pretty obvious: heck no!
Care for me to explain? While I think cats are most certainly initially lured in by a desire for a free meal (again, who wouldn’t be?), at the end of the day, they definitely appreciate humans for way more than just your regular ol’ free ticket to the dinner table.
What other reasons are there for cats to love people? Let’s get into my thoughts, and if you can think of any more reasons to add to the list, please leave them in the comments down below!
Picture from post Spending Time with Sammy
19 More Of The Many Reasons Why Cats Love People
1. Humans provide really great shelters.
You ever think of trying to live outdoors? It’s not so easy. It rains, it can get pretty windy and cold, in some places it even snows; it’s not that it’s not doable, it’s just not very comfortable. Which is why we humans got ahead of the game oh so many years ago and created ourselves some fine shelters we call “homes.” You think cats don’t appreciate being allowed into these warm, dry places, especially at night? Of course they do!
2. People usually do whatever cats want.
This is a bit all-encompassing, but this general attitude we have toward our cats and the fact that we’re pretty well near servants to them I don’t think goes over any cat’s head. Yes, they are very good at manipulating us into doing what they want, but at the end of the day – they get what they want from us and that must make them all the happier.
Would you love a little brother or sister who doted on you and listened to your every command? You probably would. Sounds like it should be the other way around since they’re technically the pets and we’re the “owners” (I know that’s debatable), but we’re the equivalent of a cat’s loyal, obedient little puppy. And we sure do love our puppies, so I’m sure they love us for similar reasons. 😉
3. Humans keep a cat’s space clean and tidy.
You cannot have a cat and not realize how OCD these little creatures can be about cleanliness. Some are notorious over-groomers, others refuse to go to the washroom until you’ve cleaned out the litter box; really, they are very particular about how they would like things done. And humans stay on top of a cat’s environment and make sure cleanliness is up to standard. Why on earth wouldn’t a cat love that about their human?
4. Humans are quite good personal heaters.
You try loving heat as much as a cat does and not loving humans for their ability to generate consistent, even, and not too overwhelming heat. It’s pretty near impossible. Even a cat who isn’t the biggest fan of sitting on people’s laps will often curl up next to a human when they’re sleeping snugly beneath bed sheets. Humans are just so warm.. if we sit still enough we really can be irresistible to cats from this side of things.
5. They also make excellent massage machines.
You think dogs are the only pets who like cuddles and scratches? Heck no! Humans are upgraded versions of those massage chairs they try to lure you with in shopping malls so you’ll buy one to help you relax after a hard day’s work. And that’s true for cats as well as dogs. Of course, our pets have no such hard day’s work thanks to humans taking care of their grub daily, but they certainly still find it nice to have a dedicated massage machine.
6. Ever people watched? Your cat sure has! Humans can be pretty entertaining to watch.
Many cats will wander around the house trailing you as you do odd chores like tidy up, or work in one room, then the next. Yes, your cat most certainly does think of you partially as an entertaining thing to watch. Unlike other potentially entertaining things, like dogs and people outside, you posit no threat to them, so pure entertainment with no downside. What’s not to love?
7. Humans help keep cats healthy, and can be incredibly comforting presences when a cat feels ill.
I know you may think this is a stretch, but enough interaction with my own cat and enough stories from my brother make me feel like cats can sometimes sense the fact that we humans are simply trying to make them better when they feel sick.
My side of this? Every time Avery heaves in an attempt to get out a hairball or because he’s not feeling too well (he used to have an issue where he threw up bile on an empty stomach), he calls out to me and stops crying once I am near him and lightly petting him and telling him he’s going to be okay.
My brother’s side? His cat recently underwent a double surgery, and worried as he was, when he dropped his cat off… well I’ll just copy and paste his exact words here for you: “Cutest thing happened btw. So the vet tech was like: ‘Do you want to cuddle beau and say bye before you leave him?’ And I was like, ‘Of course I do.’ And at that moment he popped out of the carrier by himself and pushed his head on my chin.” Cats understand a lot more than we give them credit for, and I’m pretty convinced that our dedication to making them feel better is just one of those things they somehow get.
What Love Boils Down To
If I asked you to tell me why you love your mother, grandmother, brother, or best friend, you’d list a bunch of characteristics and things they do for you to make your life better, like: “They support me. They listen. They help me out when I’m down. They never judge me. They look after me when I’m sick.” While a cat’s needs and desires aren’t quite as complex as a human’s, it’s not a far stretch to realize that humans are getting their cats’ needs and desires met, and that creates a genuine sense of comfort, happiness, and appreciation in our pets, including cats.
Is a cat able to feel love on a level we humans are able to feel love for one another? I’d expect not. But cats are also not able to understand and interact with languages, create, and do a whole bunch of other higher-level thinking tasks the way that we are, so it’d be horrible for us to expect them to love as we do.
Not even dogs love as we do. And I believe that’s a huge part of their appeal. The characteristic way in which a dog loves is something you can’t possibly get from another human being. And that’s great; it means that having a dog will fulfill you in a way that no human ever could. But I feel the same is true of a cat. The way a cat will love you is completely different from the way any other animal, and certainly any other human being, will love you. Does that mean cats don’t love humans? No, in my opinion, it just means they have a unique way of loving that’s different from human or canine love. And that’s fine by me!
Picture from post How to Take a Half-Decent Selfie Photo With Your Cat
Other Reasons Cats Love Humans?
What do you think? Do you think cats are capable of loving human beings?
Are you convinced by my argument that food is in fact just one of many reasons cats love their people? Can you think of other reasons cats often grow to love their human companions?
Do you happen to think cats just put up with humans or manipulate them for their resources – and aren’t really capable of loving them? If you think love is too strong word, do you think cats at least have positive sentiments for the humans in their lives or like having them around on a certain level? What would prove or disprove to you that cats can/do love humans?
Take to the comments section to let me know!
The Island Cats says
We love our humans! And not just because they feed us…but that helps.
Elise Xavier says
Haha, love this comment! For sure the food helps 😉
Cats definitely express love & friendship for more than just food!
My next-door-neighbour’s cat loves when I’m out in the garden & will even come into my house for a snuggle (possibly when he gets lonely). I have never fed him (had a cat who needed a prescription diet once & just wouldn’t feed someone else’s pet unless I was sitting them). He’s so friendly & purry it’s lovely when he comes to visit!
Elise Xavier says
That is too cute about your neighbour’s cat!! I think that’s the perfect example of a cat who’s not motivated by food loving a human 🙂
Eastside Cats says
Patty O’Malley LOVES me, and even though he will NOT come inside to live, he goes out of his way to show me that he’s my boy. He follows me around the yard, waits for me at my car door, meows and rubs on me…and if he’s doing that only because I’m giving him food…well, then…he should be receiving the kitty version of an Academy Award!
Elise Xavier says
That is way too sweet! I love that he even waits for you at your car door. <3 <3 Yeah, when cats go above and beyond to show you they care, it would seem to me like a bit of a waste if all they're trying to do is get food - we'd feed 'em anyway, without so much effort on their part! 😉 I definitely don't think they're acting.
Crystal Stewart says
Cats are awesome creatures. On my Desk calendar it says something like Dogs are prose but Cats are poetry. Don’t you agree?
Elise Xavier says
That’s so beautiful! And oh yes, I could not agree more! 🙂