Do Cats Like to Be Kissed?

February 7, 2019

To kiss or not to kiss your kitty, that is the question! We adore our feline friends, so of course we want to shower them with affection. But how do we do this? One way many people show their cat love is by kissing them. It may seem like kissing would be a natural display of affection for our cats since that’s what we typically do with the humans we feel romantic love towards. When it comes to cats, however, it’s not really that straightforward. While many cats will tolerate being kissed and some may even enjoy this gesture of love, others simply do not.

If you are in the habit of kissing your cat, you’d be right to wonder if they actually welcome your lips on their face or their fur, or really wish you’d just quit it already. There’s no one size fits all answer though – it depends upon the individual cat, as well as your relationship with them. Still, it’s important to determine which category your kitty falls into, because unwelcome kisses are not any more enjoyable for a feline than they are for a human.

Do Cats Understand Kisses?

While researching this topic, the general consensus was that because cats communicate in different ways than humans do, they don’t really understand what the gesture means. In other words, since a cat’s means of expressing affection and their perception of emotions are different, they don’t really get the whole kissing thing.

I agree with parts of that, specifically that cats do have different ways of showing love and may not entirely grasp the full meaning of certain emotions and actions. However, I’m not sure this equates to them not understanding the intent behind a loving kiss. I say this because I am certain my cuddle-bug cat, Annabelle, is very aware that me kissing her is a gesture of affection. How do I know? She shows me by the way she reacts when I kiss her, which is a perfect lead-in to the next section of this post.

Are Your Kisses Welcome?

It should come as no surprise that since every cat is a unique being, they all have different preferences about the type of affection they want to receive. Because you love your cat and want them to be happy and love you back, you need to know whether they like to be kissed or they don’t. It’s honestly not that hard to figure out, I promise!

Your cat’s body language, demeanor and actions are all important clues to pay attention to when you’re trying to decide if they like your kisses, or anything else you do. If when kissing your cat you observe that she purrs, rubs against you, kneads, head-bonks you, leans into you, licks you and appears noticeably relaxed and content, you can be reasonably assured that she enjoys this form of affection. If your cat rapidly swishes her tail, pins her ears back, hisses or growls, swats at you, turns her head away as you go in for the kiss, or tries to get away from you, she’s telling you she doesn’t like what you are doing.

Respect Your Cat’s Wishes

If your cat’s body language is telling you they’re just not a big fan of your kisses, you’d be wise to stop. I’m well aware of how hard that can be though, when all you really want to do is show your kitty how much you love them. But here’s the thing – continuing to do something your cat doesn’t like will damage your bond with them, and you may even end up getting scratched or bitten.

The latter happened to me with one of my cats when I ignored all of his clear signals that he didn’t like to be kissed. Usually he’d just turn his face away but one day I guess he’d had enough, because as I put my face down to kiss him he bit me on the cheek – hard! It hurt and I was mad at him, but upon reflection I realized I had it coming. He’d been telling me for years that he didn’t like to be kissed, and I ignored the signals simply because it was what I wanted to do. Trust me … that’s never going to end well. Learn from my mistake and stop kissing your cat if you can tell they don’t like it.

If your cat’s body language says they enjoy your kisses, consider yourself lucky and smooch away! Proceed with care, however; always make sure to be mindful of how your cat is feeling, and stop kissing them if they change their mind.

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