How Vera Says “I Love You”

This post is inspired by all the kids I’ve met who do not show affection in a “traditional” way. I hope their parents can see and accept the way their children say “I love you” even if it is not the way they are used to.

Remember Vera, the cat who gets scared by strange things and has a special sensory corner in my house? The other day, I noticed something else that Vera does a little bit differently than the rest of our family.

When Armani, my husband, and I all snuggle up together on the couch, Vera prefers to sit in the chair across the room. She might smile at us, but she does not want to join the family cuddle.

Vera in her chair

When I’m working in my office, Vera comes in, lays on the guest bed, and watches me, but she does not crawl into my lap. She does not like being picked up, and if you pet her when she has not specifically asked you to, you might get nipped.

You might think that Vera is not a very friendly cat. But when I am under my blanket at night, she curls up on my back and purrs. When I come home after being away all day, she is often sleeping on one of my sweatshirts where she can get my scent all over her.

Vera snuggling my shirt

When Vera is ready to receive pets, she will nudge my hands with her little nose until I give her all the pets and scratches she wants.

Vera doesn’t say “I love you” the same way that the rest of our family does, but she says it in her own way. Maybe the way you say “I love you” is different from the rest of your family. That’s okay! I hope that they can learn to hear your “I love yous” and accept affection in the way that feels safe and comfortable to you.

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

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