Signs Your Pet Loves You

Written by Oxbow

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February 4, 2021🞄

We all enjoy our pets’ company, but how do we know if “that loving feeling” is mutual? We’ve listed several behaviors here that you can translate as signs of affection from your pets.

They “Pancake” During Lap Time

“Pancaking” is when your pet lays down flat on your lap as if they have become putty. They often relax their muscles when they’re pancaking, and sometimes their eyes may even fully close. This is a huge sign that they trust you! Your pet feels safe in the environment that you have built around them.

Adult and senior pets are more likely to pancake.  Young pets often have so much energy that “pancake” isn’t a word in their vocabulary yet!

NOTE: “Cuddle puddle” is an accepted term for multiple pets pancaking together. 

Your Pet Runs Up to the Front of Their Enclosure to Greet You

Whether you’re getting home from work or just passing by your pet’s enclosure, when your pet runs up to the front of their enclosure, it’s a sign that they enjoy your presence. Sure, sometimes they do this because they think a treat is in store, but the plus is that they associate you with tasty food! The fact that they feel safe enough to be out in the open (and not hiding) says a lot about the bond you have built.

Your Voice Comforts Them

It’s likely happened in all the households that are reading this: you drop your phone on the hardwood with a loud “thud,” or a pencil rolls off the table and clatters to the ground. Maybe the timer for dinner goes off with its shrill ring. Sudden sounds may not always startle our small companions, but when they do get startled, it’s obvious. Your wide-eyed pet races to the back of the enclosure, or takes refuge in their hideout. Sometimes they just freeze in place, unsure of what to do.

These behaviors served our pets’ ancestors well in the wild—so well these behaviors are still instinctive in domestic animals. Sometimes pets can “snap out of it” and learn that things are okay if you walk to their enclosure and calmly talk to them. While this may not work every time, your voice can help bring some normalcy back to your pet’s life after being frightened so badly. If your pet “unfreezes” and cautiously comes back out into the open, that’s a sure sign that you’ve brought them some comfort!

They Love Play Time

Another sign your pet loves you is that they really enjoy play time with you. It can be a challenge to find enrichment that your pet loves, but once you find that choice item, they’ll enjoy playing every day! Some pets love highly involved enrichment such as our Play Centers, while others’ favorites are a simple crumpled up ball of kraft paper. Play time doesn’t have to be limited to toys, though. Sometimes just spending time together in a large playpen can give your pet the same amount of joy physical enrichment might give them. Remember that just like you, your pet is a social animal, too!

Learn More

How to Make Sure Your Guinea Pig is Happy

Daily Care Checklist for Your Small Pet

Creating Foraging Opportunities for Your Small Pet