Cancer Personality Traits: Everything You Need to Know

A look under the shell of one of the most mysterious zodiac signs.
collage representing cancer personality traits

This year, Cancer season spans June 21, 2023, to July 23, 2023, inspiring an emotionally connected, sweet, sensitive atmosphere. Cancer season is all about nurturing the people we love, as well as connecting with our emotions, and if you have or know someone with the sun, moon, or other prominent placements in Cancer, this could be a revitalizing period for you. 

Cancer is a cardinal sign

Cancer, the crab, is a cardinal sign, which means it heralds the start of a new season. Warrior Aries opens spring, diplomatic Libra starts fall, industrious Capricorn ushers in winter, and caring Cancer leads the summer. Each zodiac sign rules a body part, and Cancer rules the chest, the place where we hold those who are dearest to us close. Nurture and food are themes closely tied to Cancer, too, so it makes sense that the breasts are symbolically associated with Cancer. 

Cancer and the Tarot

In the Tarot, Cancer is associated with the Chariot card, which can symbolize determination, strength, and protection. Like the crab’s hard shell, the Chariot is associated with endurance and safety.

How to spot a Cancer

Many Cancers have an amazing ability to hide themselves when they don’t want to be spotted, so you probably won’t notice them unless they want to be seen! Cancers can be shy, but their desire to go unnoticed may be less about feeling socially awkward than simply needing time to recharge. 


Cancers are typically excellent hosts and delight in making people feel comfortable and at home. Even out at a restaurant, Cancers are the ones explaining the menu to their friends and making sure everyone’s drinks are topped off. 

Water signs like Cancer have a lot of emotional depth to them, but while Pisces often seem to be lost in their own world and Scorpio can seem to be in a whirlwind of change, Cancer has a very present quality about them. There is a serenity to Cancers that feels comforting and safe. 

People flock to Cancers because they are excellent listeners as well as fantastic artists and trendsetters. They’re popular not because of how flashy or bombastic they are, like some Leos, but because of how cool, present, and caring they can be. 

To strangers, they can come across as nonchalant or even a little guarded, simply because they are protecting their peace. But Cancer is emotional and in tune with their feelings. They avoid making a scene, but they are never afraid to stand up for themselves or others. They do get embarrassed easily, and unlike the shameless proceeding sign, Leo, they will be cautious in order to avoid feeling humiliated. They like to stay humble to maintain their composure and grace, but they are not afraid of their feelings, and if you spot someone crying in a movie theater, perhaps they have Cancer placements!

Cancer and style

Cancers are often very nostalgic, so they might be attracted to retro styles. Fashion from their childhood or clothes from a parent or grandparent’s era may be their favorite. Vintage looks that call for garments not much in current use, like corsets or suspenders, could call to them. Cancers love to get crafty, so they may enjoy knitting and sewing, too. Cancer’s artistic flare is often expressed through their clothing.

Cancer is a sign that likes to keep a collection, so they can have a hard time downsizing their wardrobes. They will hold onto their clothes for a very long time. It can be hard to give away clothes when every item has a special value or story attached to it. If it doesn’t, they’re fully ready to give you the shirt off their back. 


They’re happy to share clothes with their friends, and like a clothing item with history, whether it’s personal or social. Hand-me-downs are always in style. As they get older, living through many trend cycles, they are ready to play along as their throwback clothes become in style once again. They might have a treasured vintage tee of one of their favorite bands.  

Romantic Cancers may be attracted to wearing silk and pearls, while other types of Cancers may prefer tougher looks, preferring to wear leather over lace. A water sign, a nautical look may be worth experimenting with for the crab!

Cancer intellect and communication 

Cancers are very deep thinkers, but they aren’t usually the type to chatterbox about what’s on their mind. They can take a much more introspective approach, spending time alone as they explore ideas and dream up new plans. 

Water signs are also famously intuitive, which doesn’t mean they ignore logic for their whims, but does mean that they can get very uncomfortable if they are rushed to make decisions (they need to check in with their gut and feel things out!). Some astrologers even call Cancer psychic, and indeed, Cancers do seem to have a keen ability to suss out what people want, what they need, and how they feel.

Again, Cancers can be moody, so they can chat your ear off one week and be reserved another. But they are excellent listeners and typically have an excellent sense of humor.


They are naturally curious and want to learn about the mechanics of the world. They want to know exactly how and why things are happening. They’re talented researchers, documenters, and writers because of this: They can find a lot of value through interviews and biographies and are keen to know people’s stories. 

Cancer at home

Cancer has a reputation among astrologers for being the mommy of the zodiac, always making sure everyone is warm and well-fed, and the typical Cancer is described as being domestic! Cancers are often described as fantastic cooks, with the kitchen being their favorite room of the house. But arguments could also be made for the attic, where nostalgia may be boxed up for them to rediscover in later years, or the basement, where they may hide away from the world to make art and reconnect with themselves emotionally and spiritually. And don’t forget about the bedroom… Cancers are quite romantic!

If you live with a Cancer, you can expect them to be your most treasured roommate. Cancers are very pleasant to live with and often find their at-home relationships to be their most effortless. They like to join in with their roommates or family for any sort of domestic activity and elegantly carry their weight when it comes to chores and housework. 

Cancer is a creative sign that needs to have space for their craft in their home. The perfect decor for a Cancer home would reflect their creative medium. They have to have a space to unleash their creative forces—whether that’s musical instruments on the walls, a special shelf for their cooking supplies, or a woodshop in the backyard.


Cancer also enjoys hosting and wants their home to be a place where they can have friends and lovers over. A designated space where people can congregate and talk is perfect for them. Home is a place for Cancer to share with others, so they like to make it optimal for hosting. 

Cancer and their feelings

Cancer is ruled by the moon, and just as the moon shrinks and grows in our night sky, Cancer, too, is always in flux. Sometimes they love to be center stage; other times, they prefer to be at home, away from the spotlight. 

Cancer, a water sign, is all about emotion, and if you don’t respect their emotional process, you’ll quickly be shown the door. They have a lot of patience, but not when it comes to someone being impatient with them as they sort out how they feel. They often need a lot of space to process their feelings. This might be why they are sometimes called moody: They’re very caring, but can also go into hiding if they need to care for themselves emotionally. If you can’t respect the space Cancer needs, remember that Cancer the crab has a thick protective shell, and if they feel like someone is about to breach their safety zone, the pincers come out! 

They can be very protective of their friends and family and feel a strong sense of right and wrong. Cancer will work to protect justice and those who cannot stand up for themselves. They also are very private when it comes to their relationships and will work to keep them secure and under guard. These are topics that they can be the most sensitive about.


Cancer and their art

Because Cancers bring a special touch to everything they do, whatever they participate in is like art, even if they are just filing papers. Art is typically a big part of Cancer's life, whether they’re making it or simply spending their days enjoying it. Their record collections are often massive, and their art supplies typically take up a lot of real estate at home.

Art is a transformative practice and experience for Cancers. For Cancers, art documents change and is a tool for evolution. Painter Gustav Klimt was a Cancer, and his art reflects the sensuality of this water sign. Frida Khalo was also a Cancer whose art blended the mundane and surreal. 

Astrologers may jump to the fire signs when describing pop divas, for example, Aries Mariah Carey, Leo Madonna, or Sagittarius Britney Spears. But Cancer claims quite a few pop girls, too, like Selena Gomez, Lana Del Rey, Jessica Simpson, and Ariana Grande. Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, and Courtney Love are Cancers, too. To be a diva is to be a queen, and from a medieval astrological perspective, Cancer could be the sign of queendom!

Other notable Cancers include leaders like Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. Also Larry David, Lindsay Lohan, and Pamela Anderson, who, like the moon, have shown the public different faces, phases, and feelings. The moon is a planet of wealth and can represent resources: Richard Branson, John D. Rockefeller, and Elon Musk were born under the sign Cancer. 


Cancer and friendship

Cancers are loyal, caring friends, and they seek out people who are grounded, responsible, and perhaps less moody than the crab is known for! Ditzy, forgetful, flaky types aren’t for them; they’re attracted to friends who have a very stable, reliable aura about them. 

The number one thing they look for in a friend is good taste. Cancers value beauty and art, and someone who is in tune with things that look, feel, smell, sound, and taste good is definitely someone that Cancers want to surround themselves with. Chill, artsy types who aren’t afraid of being honest about their thoughts and feelings are on Cancer’s team. 

When they hang out with their friends, they want to see art, listen to music, and eat good food. Dinner parties, concerts, or gallery openings are all interesting to them. They’re happy to make plans and follow through with them. They’re OK with spontaneity—if they’re the ones making the spontaneous plans. Cardinal signs like to do things at their own pace. 

They also wouldn’t mind attending an open mic or a popup, just to watch people express themselves or to show off something they’ve been working on. While they’ll happily watch you sing, don’t expect them to get on the karaoke mic right away—they can be a little shy. They prefer to fill their leisure time with true beauty, but anything too vapid will be too boring. 


Cancer having fun

Cancer enjoys simple things and doesn’t need to spend a ton of money to have a good time. They just need a day at the beach or some other beautiful place with a picnic packed and friends to laugh with.

Cancers love food, so a fun day for them may center around sampling the best food a neighborhood has to offer or inviting friends over for a big dinner. They like to provide and being a host of a dinner party is an ideal way for them to play the role of the provider. 

A Cancer that doesn’t feel called to being a chef might find themselves being the one buying everyone drinks or paying for their friends' coffees. It feels good to give, and Cancer knows it. Playing a vital, essential role is something that gives them pleasure!

Cancer’s perfect day having fun looks like getting lost in their craft, deepening their intimate bonds on a soul level, miraculously cooking a genius meal without even needing to go to the grocery store, healing someone who’s down and out through the powers of love, and then, finally, winding up at an exclusive event where they are a guest of honor. That would be a dream.

Cancer enjoys listening to the original song that all of the other songs sampled. They are interested in knowing the original source of all references, and this inclination for uncovering history can help to define their taste in music, art, and film.


Once a Cancer knows their preferences, they can find themselves very comfortable in a niche, being the ruler of their domain. For example, a Cancer DJ may specialize in Italo Disco and New Wave rather than having a miscellaneous repertoire that can be whimsically collaged together, as the preceding sign, Gemini, may do. 

How to attract a Cancer

Cancers seek out friends who are reliable and who have a grounding aura about them, and this is just as true when it comes to romantic relationships. They’re attracted to people who are hardworking and who have something going on for them in their career. When it comes to attracting the crab, it’s not about being rich or famous but about being savvy with time and money and having an industrious, determined spirit.

Cancers are likely to have a crush on someone who either has no social media presence at all or uses their social media wisely. They are very private people, and could get cold feet imagining their personal lives being put on blast for all of their friends, family, and long-lost childhood friends to find. 

If you want to share a cute selfie or photo you took of them, definitely be sure to respect their privacy and ask them before you post it. They like people who like themselves, have a sense of personal space, and can respect their own privacy.

You can show off to a Cancer by having a sense of self-discipline and focus. Know exactly where to channel your passions and emotions, and they’ll be impressed! They like it when people are honest, realistic, and humble but still passionately committed to their vision, regardless of having the odds stacked against them. 


Dating a Cancer

Cancers are very romantic! They’ll bring you breakfast in bed, roses still strewn about on the floor from the night before. Such strong sentimentality might catch you off guard, which is just what they want—for you to let your guard down! If you say something corny, they are going to be very charmed. Prepare yourself for their share of cheesiness, too—but whatever you do, don’t laugh at them.

For Cancer, the perfect date depends on how well you know each other. Your first date is likely to be very chill: They like to keep things simple and would prefer to get to know you over a cup of coffee rather than at a noisy club. But as your relationship progresses, the dates you get on are likely to be more and more involved, intimate, and perhaps even thrilling, like a surprise trip abroad to attend a rager someplace exclusive. They need time to open up and will want to draw out the process of getting to know each other for about as long as they live. Like a Russian nesting doll or a high-security bank, there will always be another door to unlock when getting to know a Cancer. Every date is going to present a new key to open a new door, leading to both your heart and theirs.

You’ll know Cancer is falling in love because they’ve shown you their soft spot. They’ve done some soul-searching or therapy, found what bothers them, and are now revealing it to you. This is the place where they bruise easily and trust you enough to handle it with care. They like to be the source, the providers, leaders, and nurturers, but once Cancer asks you for your help and authority, that’s how you can know they’re with you for good.


Cancer and ghosting

Water signs, as emotionally in touch as they may be, could be the ones most pinned as ghosters, what with Pisces being unintentionally, innocently flaky and Scorpios being intentionally, brutally willing to cut ties at the drop of the hat. Cancers, too, are ultra-protective of their energy, and they may drop off if they feel it’s the safest thing for them to do. Cancers also usually don’t like confrontation or hurting people’s feelings. But the mature Cancer knows it hurts more to be ignored than to be told the relationship has come to an end.

Anyone, regardless of zodiac sign, could ghost if they’ve been made to feel so uncomfortable that it’s their only choice, or if they are immature, bad at communication, or if there was simply a misunderstanding. If a Cancer has ghosted you and you are hoping for communication in the future, it may be for the best to send a quick message to let them know you’re open to communication whenever they are ready, but then step back and stay back. The more you reach out, the more apprehensive they will be about connecting with you. We might think of Capricorn or Aquarius as being the loners of the zodiac, but Cancer probably takes the cake for most frequently having the “stay out” sign hung on their bedroom door. 

Cancer and their daily routine 

The typical Cancer goes about their daily routine in a jolly mood. They enjoy their daily chores, taking pleasure in pouring a cup of coffee, saying hello to neighbors and colleagues, and getting to work on their to-do list.

They like having flexible schedules and love having work that puts them on the road or is very physically engaging. Sitting at a desk all day probably isn’t for them, unless it involves deep study or research of some kind. Cancers aren’t always easy going about things, but when it comes to getting work done, they can be surprisingly chill, and their colleagues may grow to depend on Cancer’s wacky sense of humor when things get rough at work. 


Movement is often important to Cancer, and their daily routine may include outdoorsy athletics, anything from archery to horseback riding to rock climbing. Swimming and sailing, of course, could also suit this water sign’s fancy!​​ They may get hooked on going to the gym, too, especially if there is a sauna and steam room. 

They like to share their knowledge and expertise with everyone they know. They make good teachers, instructors, volunteers, entertainers, and even preachers. They have a sense of hope for those that they are helping, and like to feel as if their work is contributing to the greater good. 

They would hate to feel like a sell-out or a poser and probably have a moralistic approach to whatever work they commit their time to. They can juggle multiple trades and often have a variety of gigs that they’re fully capable of perfecting. 

Cancer and school

Some Cancers coast through school with straight Cs, while others are deeply involved with their studies! Having inspiring teachers early on certainly helps, otherwise, Cancer may be more inclined to learn things through experience rather than at a desk. 

Even the most studious Cancer may have to spend extra time figuring out how to best organize themselves, their binders spilling out with worksheets and notes, until they finally figure out a good system for keeping things in order! 

Cancer likes to study topics like philosophy and art. They are also interested in metaphysical topics, spirituality, theology, and poetry. The moon was traditionally the sign of communication, and therefore, of language and record keeping. In this way, they may also find film and literature interesting. They like to know the deeper meaning of it all, and even to expand on meaning to create their own! 

Cancers enjoy school because they are like sponges for information. They can have a talented memory and retain little details that give them the ability to pass a test or two. They also find joy in expanding their horizons, and education is just another way for them to bask in the glory of life. Learning is a way for Cancer to have hope that a greater world is possible and that something very cool exists both within and beyond their reach. 

Cancer and travel

Because Cancer has a reputation for being the homebody of the zodiac, you may think they don’t like to travel; however, this is often not the case. Cancers love adventure, and travel is an opportunity for them to get out of their usual routine. 

The typical Cancer loves a beach vacation. They love combing the sand for seashells, riding waves, and watching sunsets. They’re very much in the element when they’re at the shore. They’re always happy to explore a new shoreline and to see the beach at different times. It doesn’t even need to be a summer beach vacation: The beach in the winter offers them a similar sense of tranquility.

They may embark on a trip to a place that has deep spiritual significance to them by going on a pilgrimage tour with a guide or taking planning into their own hands. They’re also interested in other religions and cultures and are happy to use their travel time to learn more about the histories and beliefs of a place that they’ve traveled to.

They may travel to attend an art show or music festival, going to far distances to listen to their favorite band or see something wonderful. They’re happy to travel to get the best quality of art, music, and even food. It would be wise for them to read a travel guide before embarking so they can feel a little more organized and know the lay of the land, rather than moving through their typical whimsical flow.

When Cancer is homesick, food and music may be the best remedies. Do not judge them if they are in need of something familiar when they’re not feeling their best. They could either make these dishes on their own or just find a tourist trap restaurant to give them their fix of familiarity. 

Cancer will often pack everything they could possibly need and then some. They are usually pretty prepared, and they’re also prepared for you to not be prepared. Don’t count on them to have the extra toothbrush, but don’t be surprised when they offer you one.