Valentines Day for Pets


Puppy Love…it’s ALL it’s cracked up to be!

Magic runs to me with his ears down and tail a-wag, wanting attention. He rolls on his back for a tummy rub or brings me a treasured toy to share. How do your dogs show love…or do they?

Dogs have well-known reputations as loyal, loving companions—the quintessential “man’s best friend” and deservedly so. Dogs thrive on social interaction. Heck, Magical-Dawg even enjoys the cat’s company (he won’t admit it!). With Valentine’s Day in the offing, I’d love to hear from y’all the various ways YOUR furry wonder’s show love.

There’s no doubt we love our pets — but do our cats and dogs love us back? The answer is yes. But pets show affections in ways that aren’t always what humans expect. In fact, a pet’s Valentine wishes might instead puzzle, aggravate or even offend some people. Here are 7 ways cats show love. (scroll down for the puppy version!)

1. Cats (sometimes) scratch and pee to show affection. Cats seek out items that smell most like their beloved human — and they find scratching and peeing calming. So marking up your favorite chair or baptizing your bed with urine actually is not only a backhanded kitty compliment but a stress reliever. Providing legal scratch and potty opportunities encourages kitty to love you in more appropriate ways.

2. Cats put their rear ends in your face. This is a friendly gesture we swear! The cat is offering you an invitation to sniff — and to the feline way of thinking, that’s a very loving thing to do. But as you will not want to indulge, respond by scratching the base of her tail instead.

3. Kitties rub against you. This leaves the cat’s scent — marking you as “owned” by them. Cats repeatedly head bump their most favorite people. Bumping your face is the ultimate show of trust, since it leaves eyes vulnerable.

4. Cats knead your thighs. Honestly, we’re not sure why they do this. We know that kittens do it to prompt mom-cat’s milk to release and we suspect this instinctive behavior hearkens back to that feeling of comfort and joy. So a cat kneading her human certainly can be a kitty valentine.

5. Cats purr. Now these noises can mean different things, including delight or concern, but a cat that purrs while snuggled in your lap expresses deep trust and love for you. Return the favor and talk back in a warm, caring voice. Say “I love you.” She’ll understand the emotion, if not the exact words.

6. Cats will groom you. Licking your skin or hair, or even nibbling or sucking on your clothing spreads “family” scent and is an expression of feline love. Return the favor — petting your cat is the kitty equivalent of a love fest of mutual grooming.

7. Kittens curve their tails. When a kitten greets her mom-cat, she holds her tail straight up with the end tipped over. If your kitty directs this tippy tail at you, she is, in effect, calling you “mom.”

These are just some of the ways your pet may be expressing his love. And they certainly don’t apply to all animals, as some cats become very creative and keep us guessing! But there’s no doubt that pets appreciate our love and love us back. The best Valentine’s gift we can give them is learning to understand them, foibles and all. Of course you can learn lots more about kitty behavior in this book.


What about dogs? Here’s what I’ve come up with — 12 ways puppies show love. And on a related note, here’s a fun article on a GREAT way for you to offer the ideal Valentine’s gift to your pet-loving significant other.

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, vet tech and author of dozens of pet care books. She blogs about cats, dogs, THRILLERS WITH BITE and shiny objects at her BLING, BITCHES & BLOOD blog. You can find out more about her 26 award-winning pet care books at www.SHOJAI.com where you can subscribe to her quarterly Pet Peeves newsletter to stay up to date on pet-centric information. For a daily dose of Amy, follow her on twitter and connect on FaceBook Author Page.

All content © 2013 Amy Shojai unless otherwise credited.

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