We do almost anything for the ones we love.
We give birth. We help them get better even when we're sick. We work ourselves to exhaustion to make sure everyone is fed, clothed and has a roof over their heads. We clean up after them. We love them because they are family.
We adopt them. We pet them, walk them, clean up after them over and over again...and yes, even put up with wet armpits. We love them because they are our pets.
I have three cats. All three have different ways of showing me affection.
Scootch simply rubs up against me any chance he gets, and likes me to leave my hand on his back when we watch TV (He likes documentaries). A lot of petting is all he needs- but don't pick him up and hold him! He won't scratch, but he'll push his legs against you as straight as possible to let you know he's so not into that cuddly stuff.
Boo-Boo likes to climb up onto my chest (especially when watching TV) and lick my bare arm (no sleeves please!) while kneading me with his claws. I always know when it's time to clip them! He has since learned to lay on his back in between me and my husband for chest and belly pets, and gives us the stink-eye whenever either one of us stops. He also likes to sleep on top of my hip when he catches me napping on the couch.
Tinkerbelle, our newest edition, has a very odd habit. She only likes to cuddle with me in two rooms- my bedroom, and my writing room. Only there does she feel comfortable enough to bond with me. Her idea of bonding is to bury her head in my armpit (longer sleeves only, please- bare arms won't do) and lick the fabric until my shirt is wet.
At first the drooling concerned me, but I found out when cats drool, they really, really like you. Knowing this, I let her get away with it- because that means she loves me. Who am I to stop her?
Besides, I can always change my shirt.
She does this in the living room sometimes, but not nearly as long as she does when the boys aren't around. Maybe it's a girl bonding thing.
We humans have ways of saying 'I love you' without words as well. Hugs. Back scratches. A kiss on the top of the head. A pat on the cheek. What do you do to show your affection?
In my house back scratches, hugs, and wet armpits equals love. Affection is probably different in your house (especially if you don't have cats- the armpit thing would be a bit odd), but it still means the same thing; You love them, and they love you. That's all that matters.
I'd love to hear what you do to show affection. As for me, I'm going to go change my shirt!