ive had a number of cats but one in particular was intelligent waaaay above average. Her level of affection toward me was unbelievable. I was very much her mother in her eyes i imagine, and was just happy to sit on my shoulder whatever i was doing.
Id say it's a combination of both love and cattiness
I had a cat that has passed .. I never found the problem with her but she was so sick I had to put her down.. I was so close to her I went into a deep dark depression.. she was and had my same attitude/spirit/personality.. I have since gotten another queen and still have the male cat she raise but we had a connection like no other... It was different.. I can't even begin to explain it.
Dogs have masters. Cats have staff. Make no mistake, your cat owns you.
I think my cats love me. There is a wild cat who has hung around my place for about four years now who is still terrified of me. I believe he is the father of pretty much all of my cats. He used to sit with their mommy in the garage when they were kittens and watch them and play with them though. He never warmed up to me, but he still stays around even though the females are all spayed now.