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Do Cats Have a Favorite Person? How Do They Choose That Person?

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

person petting a cat

If you live in a household with several people, you might get the feeling from time to time that your house cat likes one of you more than the others. People often ask us if it’s possible, can a cat really play favorites with their humans? The answer is yes, it’s quite likely that your cat likes some family members more than others and might even have a favorite person. If you would like to understand this behavior better, keep reading while we take a close look at how they choose that person and how you can improve your chances of being their distinguished owner.

How Does a Cat Choose a Favorite Person?

Food

One of the best ways to get to the top of your cat’s favorite person list is to feed it. Cats and other pets depend on their owners for food to continue living, and they usually believe that they cannot get food any other way than by the hand of the person that feeds it. Your cat can recognize faces, and this is the one it will pay the most attention to, especially as a kitten.

kitten eating wet cat food
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

Shelter

In many cases, cats can gravitate toward people that shelter them and give them a place to hide. A busy household can create a lot of commotion that your cat might try to escape. Other pets, especially cats, can also cause your pet to seek shelter, and if it finds it in your room or area of the house, it can start to bond with you and continue to return.

Understanding

Cats tend to form strong bonds with people that it feels it can communicate its needs. Cats can try to communicate in several ways, including rubbing up against you, meowing, and circling you. People who pay attention to the cat and spend time figuring out what it wants are likely to see a return the next time the cat needs something and will quickly become one of the cat’s favorite people.

Scent and Comfort

Sometimes cats choose a favorite person, and there is no clear reason why. In these cases, we can only guess. Some owners believe it has something to do with pheromones, which are natural chemicals produced by many animals, including cats, that they can smell but we cannot. Other owners believe that they like the sound of some people’s voices. Many cats seem to come running more often when a female calls them. Some cats might also feel more comfortable sleeping on certain laps or prefer the fabric often worn by certain people, causing them to spend more time with those people.

happy cat with close eyes hug owner
Image Credit: Veera, Shutterstock

How Can I Bond with My Pet?

Don’t Pressure Them

Many people try too hard to bond with their cats and keep trying to pick them up or pet them. If the cat is unsure about you, the best thing you can do is give it plenty of space to get to know you from a distance. Cats use scent as much as any other sense to learn about you, so give it time to learn your smell before you try to approach it.

cat with dilated pupils
Image Credit: Mary Swift, Shutterstock

Let It Come to You

Once your cat gets used to you and is familiar with your scent, it is likely to become curious about you and may try to come close. If your cat gets close, don’t make any sudden movements and make sure there is a clear path for your cat to escape. Let the cat smell you, especially your hands, and allow it to explore as long as it needs. If it seems content and sits down, you can try gently petting its head or back, but don’t be too aggressive.

Watch Body Language

Once you pet the cat, it’s important to watch the body language your cat displays to see if it’s comfortable. If it starts purring and raises its body to meet your hand, it enjoys what you are doing. If it tries to flatten its body or moves away, it’s best to back off and try again next time.

cat and woman hugging
Image Credit: Uschi Dugulin, Pixabay

Persistence

If the cat moves away from you at first, don’t worry. Continuing to give space, trying to understand what your cats want when they are telling you something, and trying to pet them while watching body language will help ensure that your cat will bond with you before long.

Summary

Like humans, cats have people they like better than others and will often spend more time around one or two people. In our experience, the person that feeds them is often the most popular and gets the most attention from the cats. Cats always want food and treats, so they will tend to follow this person around. Busy households with children and a lot of traffic can leave the cat looking for a quiet place in the house. People who occupy low-traffic areas have frequent opportunities to bond with the cat, becoming one of the favorites.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide, and it has helped answer your questions. If we have helped you get more popular with your pet, please share our look into if cats have a favorite person and how they choose them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image Credit: Nitiphonphat, Shutterstock

Further reading

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