We people take cues from our dog companions very well. This is due, in part to our synergetic relationship with canines, spanning thousands of years. Cats, on the other hand, are slightly trickier to understand. However, you can quickly learn the art of cat whispering by starting with the basic of cat communication.
Cats are big-time body language communicators. Ever see a cat with a tail set in the shape of a question mark? Well, this is a literal question put to you by your cat who is asking if you want to play. If your cat shows an interest in playing with you; so, indulge her. Every cat also has a unique vocabulary with its owner and has different sets of purrs and other vocalizations. Cats can have up to 100 different vocalizations, which outstrips the dog's 10. Additionally, cats only meow at their people as a sign of communication.
Everyone knows cats are playful one moment and can potentially turn on you the next. Look for cues that your cat has had enough playtime or doesn't like the game. Big yawns or pinning their ears back are signs your cat is ready to stop. Make sure you stop before she hisses or scratches you.
You will know your cat trusts and loves you if she gives you "kitty kisses," which are slow-blinking eye contact. Otherwise, direct eye contact with your cat might be considered a sign of aggression from you. Try not to make eye contact with her unless she initiates with a kitty kiss. Kneading is also a sign of contentment in your cat. "Making biscuits" on you might not feel so good if her claws are sharp and untrimmed, but she still wants to show how happy she is to be in your life. Maybe a nail trim will make it less painful for you.
Still unsure if your cat loves and needs you? If she sticks her butt in your face, she's definitely your friend. Your cat may also head-butt you to mark you as her own or drape her tail over parts of you or other animals to indicate her friendship.