Do Cats Have a Favorite Person?

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If you live in a home with multiple residents, you may have noticed your cat gravitating to a singular person more than most. We all know cats can be very particular about when and when not to interact with their people, and they have a reputation for their standoffishness. Do cats have a favorite person, or is the apparent preference a simple coincidence? We’ve done some research for you and have the answer to your questions!

Many domesticated cats do choose a favorite person. Their choice of person comes from a variety of factors dealing with communication and feelings of safety. Though most cats will choose a favorite person, some cats never express a desire for human interaction.

Now that you know cats can and often do choose a favorite person continue to learn more about how the cat decides who their favorite will be and some other questions you might have regarding your cat’s behavior. Keep reading for all the details!

A cute orange cat lying on his female owners leg, Do Cats Have a Favorite Person?

How Does a Cat Pick a Favorite Person?

Let’s speak to the different reasons it is believed a cat picks a favorite person. All or just one of these reasons could be a factor, or it could be something else altogether. Cats are individuals just as we are! Even with that being said, there are some definite commonalities.

Communication

The primary reason your cat might pick a particular person is that they feel most understood by that person. Cats don’t tend to meow much at each other, but they do meow at people. If one person seems to understand what the cat is trying to communicate, either vocally or with body language, they will gravitate toward that person. If your cat feels you understand their way of communicating, then they have confidence their needs will be met, therefore showing the most attention and affection your way!

Safety

If a cat feels you provide them with safety, they will gravitate toward you and trust you with their wellbeing. This feeling of safety can develop if you frequently respect their boundaries and not force affection upon them. It’s due to  the lack of feeling safe that many cats do not pick children as their favorite person, as children sometimes have difficulty respecting a cat’s personal space.

Food

A cat might choose their person because that is the person who provides the food. If you tend to be the one who fills the food bowl, then you are likely the person the cat might choose. If a cat knows you are the provider, they show their appreciation through more frequent affection.

How Do You Know If Your Cat Has A Favorite Person?

Cats show their affection and trust in a variety of ways. If your cat exhibits the following behaviors toward one person in particular, then they are likely the cat’s favorite:

  • Headbutting
  • A twitching tail or tail wrapped around one’s leg
  • Grooming their person, such as licking of the face, ears, or hair
  • Purring
  • Showing their belly
  • Bestowing gifts, such as mice, birds, or even pieces of trash with which the cat has played
  • Slow blinking
  • Following their person

Some cats will be virtually invisible to everyone but their favorite person. If your cat only shows any attention to one person, they have chosen that person as their favorite.

Remember, some cats don’t do any of these things and do not want to interact with people. These kinds of cats tend to have grown to adulthood feral and have trouble with domestication. It’s important not to try and force interaction with these standoffish kitties. They will pick a person when they are ready.

A young woman wearing headphones and petting a cat lying in front of her

How do you tell if your cat is bonded with you? 

There are many ways your cat will let you know they have bonded with you, above and beyond what is listed above. In addition to the behaviors listed in the previous section, a cat will:

  • Knead a person they trust.
  • Stretch and yawn when they see their bonded person.
  • Get between you and your laptop or book to ensure your full attention.
  • Meow at you.
  • Chirp at you.

To read all the things your cat might do to show its love, read our article, “23 Signs That Your Cat Loves You”.

A woman placing her head next to a cat and the cat is rubbing on her face

How Can You Tell If Your Cat Doesn’t Like You?

Cats give off many signs that they are unhappy with you. They definitely don’t try to keep it a secret. In a proper abuse-free relationship between feline and human, you shouldn’t be seeing these signs. If they show up suddenly, they could signify a health issue, and it could be time to talk things over with your veterinarian.

A surefire way to tell if your cat doesn’t like you is their tail position in your presence. If they keep their tail low instead of upright, they are defensive. If the cat has its tail curled around itself, it’s definitely time to back off.

Other physical cues could indicate dislike from your cat. If their ears are pointed backward, their back is arched, or their tale is puffed out, then they are agitated. Best leave your furry friend alone when these signs are present. An agitated cat might even bite, scratch, or hiss at you. Even though cats are small, they can definitely tear into you if they wanted to, so try your best to steer clear when the cat is aggressive.

Read more on cat aggression towards humans and how to deal with it

Why is Kitty staying away from you?

If your cat regularly leaves the room when you enter or stays hidden, there’s a good chance that Kitty doesn’t feel comfortable around you. This could be the case with a newly adopted cat, especially one with a history of abuse. That cat will likely be averse to the presence of most humans, possibly creating a bond with one or two.

Please take a minute to read this guide about how to help a new cat adjust to a new home. Do not force your cat to interact with you or be near you. Creating a bond with your cat takes time and patience. If you suspect your cat may have a history of abuse, also read this guide on how to help an abused cat recover.

A cat hiding under a couch

Other cats are just sensitive to specific smells or sounds they associate with certain people in their household. If the behavior repeats itself and you can’t figure out why it’s happening, you’re welcome to start a thread in our cat behavior forum and ask for advice. Other members can help you figure out what’s wrong and how to fix the situation.

How to help a cat like you

Sometimes, the best way to help a cat like you is actually to stop trying too hard. Ensure you always keep your cat fed and watered and allow the cat to determine the rest. If you engage in play, note how your cat likes to play best and repeat, but don’t ever force the cat to interact with you. The cat will choose when and how it wants to interact. If you offer to interact with a toy, do not press the cat if it is disinterested.

Read our article How to Choose the Best Toy for Your Cat for more suggestions.

View this cat toy on Amazon.

Additionally, when your cat does pay attention to you, don’t hug or squeeze it or force kisses upon it. Avoid rubbing their bellies until a solid trust has been established.

Do maintain a quiet and calm environment if you wish your cat to thrive and enjoy your company. If you have other pets, do not neglect your cat or abandon them to this new animal. Keep the feeding and play schedule you’ve established with your cat to maintain a trusting relationship.

For more information on getting a cat to like you, read our posts:

14 Cat Experts Reveal: How To Get A Cat To Like Me

Your Cat Probably Hates It When You…

Do Cats Recognize Faces? 

Cats generally recognize their owners, but this could be more so because of their voices or scents. With that being said, there haven’t been many scientific studies in regards to this. This study concludes that cats can recognize some emotions on their owners’ faces, but not necessarily recognize a face as differentiating between other humans. This is an area largely untapped by science. Overall, cats don’t really use faces to identify people.

A man and a cat staring at each other near the window

Do Cats Ever Forget Their Owners?

Cats can potentially remember their owners for several years. Cats do have rather good long-term memories, though dogs are a bit superior on this front. A cat’s instinct is to survive. And part of remembering how to survive is knowing how to get food and water. If you were a good cat owner and your pet was always fed, watered, and well-cared for, it will remember you for many years as a matter of survival.

Are Cats Protective Of Their Owners?

Cats are protective of their owners. This is because a cat doesn’t think of you as an “owner” but as their territory, their possession. Cats are territorial animals. Therefore, they are protective over a person they see as “theirs.” If you have multiple cats at home, you might notice one pushing another from your lap or staring angrily if they feel the other cat is encroaching on their territory.

Above and beyond protecting territory, you might notice your cat being hyperaware of your emotional state, and they might attempt to comfort you if your mood is less than stellar. This is another example of your cat demonstrating protectiveness.

In Closing

Many domesticated cats pick a favorite person. Several factors lead a cat to choose a specific person as their favorite. The cat must feel understood, safe, and well-fed. If you’re not your cat’s favorite, or if it seems like they might not even like you, do not worry. This can always change by learning about your cat and doing your best to respect your furry friend’s boundaries.

If you’d like to read more about cat behavior, read our post, “Cat Acting Strangely? Here’s What it Could Mean?”

One comment on “Do Cats Have a Favorite Person?

apollo&ares April 28, 2021
thanks for that i really liked this:)

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