‘He brought me a tissue when I was ill’: the moment readers realised their cat loves them

Hannah J Davies
Photograph: Bartolome Ozonas/Getty Images

Cats, it turns out, love humans more than we thought. According to research from Oregon State University published this week, felines form close emotional attachments to people who look after them – much like babies and dogs do. Many cat owners will know this already, of course, so we asked Guardian readers to tell us about the moment they realised their pets really loved them.

For one Twitter user, Fletch Williams, it was when her cat “brought me a tissue when I was sick in bed. Something he did only a few times, and never when I was well.” Elizabeth Booth, 60, from Kettering, Northamptonshire, says her black-and-white cat, Billy, would “stroke my hand with his paw while he lay outstretched next to me on the sofa”.

Many readers say their cats helped them through heartbreak or grief. “My boyfriend broke up with me when I was 16,” says Ludovica from Italy. “My cat came to me while I was crying alone in the house. She licked the tears on my face and then curled up on my lap. I really appreciated it.”

Cats also have an uncanny ability to sense when people are unwell. When Mali Fard from Quebec went into hospital with a heart condition, she says her cat, Gruntie-Pooh, “wouldn’t eat and only slept on the T-shirt I left for her”. Similarly, Carys from Northampton didn’t expect her pet to be quite so clingy when she returned from a week in hospital, but “to my surprise, she followed me around for a good week after I came home … she seemed protective of me, almost aware I was fragile. Either that or she wasn’t fed enough in my absence.” Matthew from Surrey got his ginger cat, Harry, from Battersea, south London. “About a week after we got him, I came home from work. The second I put the key into the lock, I heard him calling for me. Once through the door he leapt enthusiastically from the sofa and ran to my feet, head-butting my shoes and rubbing against my legs. I wondered if he wanted food, but he wasn’t interested when I shook a pouch of Whiskas, he just wanted me! Yes, I thought, this cat loves me very much.”

Some people, however, aren’t quite as convinced that their cats could ever truly love them. Among them is a Twitter user, Trudy Saunders, whose pet “just sits in perpetual judgment of me. Paws crossed over each other and head upright like a disapproving Victorian aunt”.