Whether it’s a “Be Mine” candy heart, a fancy diamond ring or just being by their side for 50 years, there are plenty of ways humans express their love for that special person in their life. But how do you know that you’re “the one” for your pet? Here are some tell-tail signs that your pet thinks you’re their purr-fect person.
It’s More Than Puppy Love
If there’s one word to describe most dogs’ emotions, it’s “expressive.” Dog parents can easily tell that those big wide eyes and quick little tail wags are begging for “Just one more treat, pwease.” And that bowed head that’s turned away is saying, “I’m sowwy for chewing on the couch cushion.”
Showing that they love you is usually just as expressive. It’s sprinting to the door as soon as you walk in — whether you were gone for five minutes or five hours. It’s lying with their head on your lap when you’re not feeling great. It’s pushing their way under the blankie so they can snuggle with you on a cold night — OK, that one may have an ulterior motive.
Your dog may also want to be by your side. All. The. Time. In the kitchen when you’re trying to get dinner ready, in the bathroom when you’re doing… whatever, in the living room when you’re trying to clean the house (except maybe when you have the dreaded vacuum cleaner running). They will follow you everywhere and when you stop moving, they may lean on you or sit on your feet. Leaning and feet-sitting can have other meanings, but affection is one of the reasons dogs do this.
However they show it, your dog makes it pretty clear that you’re their human and they love you. Cats, on the other paw…
Your Cat Probably Does Love You
There are some cats who are aloof and barely acknowledge their owner’s presence, but research shows that they probably are bonded with you — in their own way. Cats tend to be a little less obvious in expressing their feelings for you, but there are signs you can look for.
There are plenty of cats who do love to snuggle. Their loud purrs are usually a good sign that they’re happy and content with you — although it’s important to know that their purrs don’t always mean that they’re happy. If your cat likes to rub their paws, chin or cheeks on you, this is another sign that you’re the one for them. These body parts have scent glands on them and it’s their way of telling other cats that you’re their person.
Another sign that your cat loves you is when they bring you gifts. These could be nice gifts, like their favorite catnip-stuffed animal or lattice ball. But it could also be the not-so-nice gifts (according to you), like a dead animal — or perhaps worse, one that’s still alive and now loose in your house. Your cat is bringing you these gifts because you’re part of their family and they want to share their “food” with you. They may also be showing off their hunting skills and encouraging you to come learn to hunt with them. While this is their way of expressing love, it might not be how you want to receive their love. If not, you could try fitting them with a breakaway collar with a bell attached to reduce the chances of a successful hunt and macabre gift-giving ceremony.
Pets Can Boost Your “Love Hormone”
Did you know that you can have a biological response to your pet showing you some love? Interacting with dogs has been shown to boost your level of oxytocin — also called the “cuddle hormone” or “love hormone” — plus other neurochemicals. Oxytocin is best known for its role in reproduction, lactation and bonding, but it’s also a natural stress reliever. It’s both a hormone and a neurotransmitter, sending chemical messages around your body, causing changes like decreased heart rate, slower breathing, lower blood pressure and inhibition of stress hormones. Research has shown that when dogs and humans have positive interactions with each other, the same changes in neurochemicals (oxytocin plus others) occur in both species. Aww, you make each other happier!
They Love Me, They Love Me Not
Are you a member of a multi-human household and are reading this blog and thinking, “Well, I see those signs but they aren’t directed towards me!” Does your dog run toward you with their fetch toy and then change direction at the last minute and drop it at the other person’s feet? Does your cat walk over you to get to the other person for couch cuddles?
It’s not uncommon for pets to have a favorite human — usually the one who feeds them and gives them the most attention. So maybe you’re not “the one” for your pet, but you might be “the other one” who they’ll play with and accept food from when “the one” isn’t home. You could try to boost your status by feeding them more often or playing with them more, but you might always be “the other one” and that’s OK.
Their Bond Is Strong
There are plenty of heartwarming stories showing the strong bond pets have with their owners. From a dog who walked hundreds of miles to return home to a cat who found his owner’s new house 40 miles away, it’s amazing to see what some pets will do to reconnect with their pet parents.
When did your pet know that you were “the one” for them? Was it love at first sight when their sweet eyes gazed into yours at the shelter? Or did it take a little while for you to get to know each other? Were they the quiet puppy who shyly walked up to you? Did they suddenly appear on your doorstep one day and your home is now their home? However it happened, we’re glad that your pet has a loving pet parent and that they found “the one” for them.
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