Do Cats Like and Understand Kisses?

The idea of cats feeling love is hotly debated. Understanding how cats communicate is key to understanding how to show your affection for them and they show their affection for you.

Cats do not understand kisses like humans do, as they interpret emotions and communicate affection very differently from us. However, many cats know that kissing is a human’s way of showing love and respect.

Understanding what your cat’s body language and behavior mean is essential. So, let’s dive deeper into this and explore how cats give and receive love and kisses.

Cats show love and affection to one another, and humans, by using body language.
I​​mage from kittyspout

How Do Cats Show Affection?

Cats show love and affection to one another and humans, by using body language. Whilst they don’t kiss in the traditional sense, they have many other ways to express affection.

Cats show affection by:

  • Head-butting
  • Licking
  • Rubbing
  • Using their tails
  • Slowly blinking their eyes open and closed
  • Kneading
  • Sleeping on or next to people they love

Head butting and rubbing are a cat’s way of marking you as its own. They have scent glands in their cheeks and lips, which they use to leave their scent on you via pheromones – a sign that they see you as part of their social group and that they feel a positive attachment and affection towards you.

Licking is the closest thing a cat gives to a kiss, and it’s actually a grooming behavior that they usually reserve for their own feline kind. If your cat is licking or grooming you, it’s a sign they accept you as part of their social group and a way of displaying respect and affection.

The slow blinking of the eyes from across the room is something most cat owners are familiar with, and it’s a cat’s way of saying I love you without any physical contact.

Filtration system
Image from Kittyspout​​

Do Cats Like Kisses?

Cats will respond positively to you if they enjoy being kissed. Their body language will show you that they are relaxed and content, and they might do some of these things:

  • Blinking slowly whilst looking at you
  • Lifting their head or leaning forward, with their ears up
  • Purring
  • Head butting
  • Rubbing
  • Licking
  • Lifting their tail and wrapping it around you

Do Cats Understand Kisses?

Cats are capable of understanding that kisses are a display of love, even though kissing is not a part of a cat’s normal body language. In a cat’s world, rubbing their scent on those they love and receiving this from others is an exchange of affection. Cats may interpret a human kiss in a similar way – we are making physical contact and leaving our scent on them.

Filtration system
Image from Kittyspout​​

How Do I Know If My Cat Likes Being Kissed?

If your cat doesn’t want to be kissed, they will soon let you know! Signs they don’t want to receive this sign of affection are:

  • Vocalization/meows
  • Hissing
  • Ears flat and back
  • Swatting or swiping at you
  • Fast flicking of the tail

If your cat displays any of these behaviors when you kiss them, you should stop and move away to give them space. Continuing to kiss them or do something they aren’t comfortable with will lead to unwanted stress and could even weaken the bond between you and your cat.

Of course, your cat would need to have many uncomfortable experiences to get to this point, but you should still accept the signals your cat gives you when they don’t like something.

cat and sink
Image from​​ KittySpout

Guidelines For Kissing Cats

When it comes to kissing your cat, there are a few things you need to consider to make sure that you are respecting your cat’s space, but also protecting your health. So here are our dos and don’ts for kissing your cat!

  1. Never kiss cats on the lips – firstly this can be too much of an invasion of your cat’s personal space. But secondly, cats carry bacteria and parasites that can spread to humans through their saliva. So, it’s always best to avoid the mouth area when kissing your cat!
  2. Don’t kiss a cat you don’t know – not all cats like being kissed, and until you get to know a cat, and they get to know you, it’s best not to overstep the mark and get too close as it could stress the cat out
  3. Don’t let children kiss cats – it’s essential to teach children how to behave around cats and how to respect their space, and your little one probably loves spending time with their pet! But some cats are less tolerant of children, and there’s also a higher risk of a child being scratched in the face if the cat doesn’t like being kissed.


Whilst kisses are not a part of a cat’s normal body language, our feline family members are capable of understanding a kiss as a display of love and affection. Even though cats communicate differently with us, they learn to understand a kiss, and many cats love to receive them.

You’ll know your cat likes your kisses if he purrs, or they lift their head, head butt you, rub their body or tail around you, and want to be closer to you. However, a kiss might not be the way to your cat’s heart; not all cats respond positively to a kiss and prefer to receive love through petting, grooming, and feeding instead.

You can also show love and affection towards your cat by accepting and receiving their licking, head butting, and rubbing around you as this is their way of transferring their scent from their scent glands onto you.


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