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These Love Languages Of Dogs & Cats Include Some Subtle Displays Of Affection

Valentine's Day was less than a week ago, but IMHO, there's nothing quite like the constant love and loyalty you get from your furry companion. Luckily, with National Love Your Pet Day falling on Wednesday, Feb. 20, it's the perfect time to celebrate the pet in your life who's always there for you with no strings attached. If you've ever wondered how your four-legged friends show their devotion, you're going to want to check out these love languages of dogs and cats so that you can better understand your pet's sometimes subtle displays of affection and show them some love right back.

In an email sent to Elite Daily, a canine genetics company called Wisdom Health shared some insights from Dr. Angela Hughes DVM, the veterinary genetics research manager at the company, on the love languages of dogs and cats, and I was pretty floored by some of the findings — especially those surrounding cats. Although cats have a reputation for being pretty aloof and independent, that doesn't mean they love you any less than dogs do. According to Hughes, they just show it in a different way, including with "cat kisses" and bringing you the sometimes undesirable spoils of their latest hunting expedition.

As someone who hasn't spent much time with cats, I have to admit that I'd never heard of "cat kisses," which is basically when your beloved feline looks at you and gives you the cat equivalent of a heart eyes emoji. "Cats show their love and trust by looking at you directly with relaxed, half-closed eyes and slowly blinking," according to Hughes, and a good way to show that you feel the same way is by reciprocating the gesture.

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Like humans, another way cats show their affection is by close physical proximity and contact. In addition to following you around, cats will try to stake their claim to their owners in a few different ways including "rubbing their cheek on your hand or face to spread their happy pheromones on you, head butting you, or even licking you to cover you in their scent and mark you as theirs."

People who are accustomed to waking up to their cat meowing might better appreciate the early morning alarm when they realize that cats only "talk," i.e. meowing, purring, and making other noises, around people they like. Last but not least, your cat's tendency to bring toys or less desirable finds like mice or bugs to you is a sign that they care or want to help feed you, which is actually pretty touching if you think about it. Feel free to keep being grossed out about their offerings while appreciating the sentiment behind the gift.

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When it comes to dogs, their displays of affection are much less subtle but equally guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings. In addition to wagging their tails and wanting to be in your general vicinity at all times, dogs' tendency to lick their humans is apparently a habit that stems from their wolf ancestry, according to Hughes. Today, dogs lick you to show that they are not a threat as well as to groom you and show that they care. Like for people, playing games together helps dogs form a bond with you and show their affection, which gives a special meaning to your daily games of catch or tug of war.

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Whether you're a dog or cat parent, knowing your pet's love language on National Love Your Pet Day will better help you decode their everyday gestures and know how to show them some affection back in a way that'll give you both the warm and fuzzy feels.