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Do cats feel gratitude? Ways a cat says 'thank you' to humans

A heart-warming video of a Turkish cat rescued from under the rubble, after the devastating earthquake that took thousands of lives in Turkey and Syria, expressing gratitude to its rescuer is getting a lot of love on internet. The cat perched on its rescuer’s shoulder refused to leave his side and kept sniffing and rubbing its body against his face. The rescue personnel couldn’t help but smile with all the warmth they received from the cat. This brings us to the question – do cats feel gratitude for their humans? How do they say ‘thank you’? Apparently, our feline friends have their own way of expressing gratitude to humans and they do it by rubbing against the person and following them around. (Also read: Turkey earthquake: Turkish cat rescued from debris, netizens says ‘so sweet’)

“As animal lovers, we often hear stories of pets showing their affection toward their human caregivers. But have you ever wondered how animals show their gratitude and affection towards those who have saved their lives? A recent heart-warming story emerged from Turkey, where a cat was pulled out of the rubble after an earthquake and refused to leave the rescue team’s side. The little feline clung to the team, clearly showing its appreciation for being rescued. The Turkish cat’s behaviour can be interpreted as a sign of attachment towards the rescue team personnel who helped rescue it from the rubble,” says Devanshi Shah, Founder and CEO, Petkonnect.

Talking about the trending cat who was rescued from under the rubble Shah says cats are known to form strong bonds with their caregivers and can become very attached to humans who provide them with love, attention, and care.

“In this case, the cat may have recognised the rescue team as a source of comfort and safety, and therefore clung to them as a way of showing its appreciation and trust. This behaviour is not uncommon in cats, and it highlights the unique relationship that can develop between cats and humans. It’s a touching reminder of the special bond between humans and animals, and how they can express their emotions in their unique way,” says Shah.

Shah further elaborates on how cats usually express their gratitude or appreciation to humans.

1. Purring: Cats often purr when they are content and happy. When a cat is receiving attention or affection from their human, it may purr as a way to express its appreciation.

2. Kneading: Kneading is a behaviour that cats do by pushing their paws in and out against a soft surface. This behaviour is often associated with contentment and relaxation and can be a sign that a cat is showing gratitude towards their owner.

3. Rubbing against their owner: Cats have scent glands in their faces and bodies and will often rub against their owner to leave their scent as a way of claiming ownership and showing affection.

4. Following their owner around: Cats are independent creatures, but they can also be very social and enjoy spending time with their owners. If a cat follows their owner around the house or seeks out their attention, it can be a sign that they are grateful for the love and care they receive from its human.

“It’s important to remember that pets experience emotions differently than humans. Pets may not feel gratitude in the same way that humans do, but they can still show affection and appreciation for their owners in their own unique ways,” says Shah.

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