Domestic cats may seem like a more introverted species, but if they are associated in a setting with humans, they are more likely to develop a bond with their owner or owners.
If cats are socialized with humans in the beginning stages of their lives, they are likely to have a favorite person. Each cat has its own personality and some breeds are more likely to show affection than others, but there are a few signs that show whether a cat likes or dislikes its owner.
Historically, cats have always been labeled as aloof and mysterious, but as scientists are learning more about our feline friends, the world is starting to understand that cats actually like their owners.
How to Tell if a Cat Might Choose You As Their Favorite Person
Being able to read a cat can be difficult at times. How can you know if your cat truly likes you or not? There are a few tell-tale signs that show if a cat has labeled you as their favorite person.
If a Cat Likes You
When cats lick or groom their owner, it is a sign that they believe that their owner or favorite person is family or a close companion. So, if a cat is licking your hair or ears, it means that they trust you.
If a cat head-butts you and rubs their head around your legs or any part of your body, they are wiping their scent on you. Cats have scent glands on their face, so they are using their own scent to mark you as a person of importance.
When kittens are young, they use their paws to knead their mother for milk. Adult cats no longer need a milk supply, but they still use their paws to knead on their favorite people to feel relaxed or to show signs of bonding.
There are scent glands in the paws as well, so the cat may be wiping their scent on their owner just like how they use their faces to wipe their scent onto people who they like.
Another communication of body language that you should look for is the cat's tail. The tail is a great indicator of how the cat is feeling. If it is raised high in the air or is curled around your leg, that means that the cat likes you and feels comfortable around you.
It may seem quite obvious, but if a cat purrs while being petted or while they are in the presence of their owner, then that is an indicator that they are around their favorite person.
In fact, Nicky Trevorrow, a Cat's Protection Behavior Manager, told Cosmopolitan that cats only purr for their kittens and humans that they love.
Adult cats don't verbally communicate very much, unless in the presence of their favorite person. If they meow and “gurgle” often, that is a sign that they are communicating with you and that they like you.
When a cat gurgles, it is a sign that they are happy and feeling sociable. This sound that a cat makes is quite different than a meow.
Gurgling sounds like a high-pitched chatter, rather than its usual form of communication. If you hear this, it is a great sign that the cat likes you.
A sometimes less than desirable sign (for the owner) is if a cat likes you, they present you with “gifts.” These gifts might include dead rodents or insects. Although these gifts are not meant directly for their owner, they're a sign that the cat feels secure and at home.
As odd as it may sound, if a cat lightly nibbles or bites on its owner, then that usually means that the cat has imprinted on that person.
This is not as common as the other signs, but cats will engage in this playful behavior because they feel comfortable with that person.
If a cat really loves a human, it will constantly follow them around. This shows that the owner and cat have a strong bond. This behavior is similar to how a kitten follows its mother.
When an adult cat follows you, this means that they feel safe and comfortable around their owner.
If a cat shows any of these signs, this means that the cat likes you a lot and that you may be your feline friend's favorite person.
If a Cat Doesn't Like You
Cats can be very communicative with their body and their verbalization. So, if a cat doesn't like you, there are a few signs to look out for that might be obvious, although some are not as apparent.
Of course, a cat will hiss at a person if they feel intimidated or in danger. This sign means that they are unhappy and want some space from this person.
However, if a kitten hisses, this doesn't necessarily mean that they are unhappy or upset, they are just growing and developing.
As mentioned before, cats are very communicative with their tails. If their tail is low and the fur is puffed out, this is saying that the cat is feeling aggressive or unsafe.
Russel Hartstein, a certified cat behaviorist, told Insider that the lower the cat's tail is, the more stressed they are feeling.
Another sign that a cat doesn't like someone or is feeling uncomfortable is if they hide often.
This might happen when a cat is sent to a new home, but if they continue to hide from their owner even after becoming comfortable with their surroundings, it might be a sign that they feel unsafe.
Although all of these signs might mean a cat doesn't like you, there could also be some underlying medical conditions that the cat is trying to communicate.
It's important for owners to make notes of these signs and see if they continue these actions. Perhaps it would be best to take the cat to the vet if they are displaying this type of behavior often.
What to Do to Make a Cat Like You
If a cat lives in a household with multiple people, the feline might prefer some people over others.
You can tell that a cat likes your family members better than you if they show more signs of affection to this person in comparison to yourself.
If you want to become your cat's favorite person, there are a few things that you can do to possibly win over your pet.
The easiest way to make a cat like you is to socialize with your furry friend while they are still young. According to MSD Manual Veterinary Manual, there is a very short window of time to socialize kittens with people and other animals.
That window usually lies between 2-7 weeks of life. Kittens that are handled by humans between these weeks in life are more likely to be friendly towards people.
If you have not had the chance to raise a cat from a young age, there is still hope to make your cat like you. It's very important to observe the cat to see its likes and dislikes.
Every cat has a personality. Some are shy, while others are outgoing and friendly. If you notice that your cat is more on the shy side, it is best to let the cat approach you.
Timid cats like their personal space and need some time away from their owners. If this does happen, respect the cat's personal distance and wait for the cat to approach you.
If you give cats their personal space and let them decide when they want to approach you, they are more likely to interact with you for a longer period of time, according to this study.
When your cat starts to warm up to you, be sure to engage in social play often. Cats enjoy toys like wands with feathers or strings. Playing with your cat is a great activity if the cat is not in the mood for cuddling or relaxing.
It also keeps the cat fit and healthy, which is very important for cats' moods and affection levels. Be sure to let the cat play as long as they would like and don't force the cat into more playtime than they can handle.
If your cat is in a cuddly mood, then there are a few places where cats enjoy being petted most. Most of the time, cats show a positive reaction when they are petted on their forehead and cheeks.
Be sure to avoid petting the tail area, as this has been linked to negative effects, such as hissing and biting.
If you are noticing some of these negative effects with the interactions that you have with your cat, be sure to give the cat some space.
Besides the cat hissing and biting, look for other signs of discomfort. Other signs, according to Mental Floss, are a flattening of the ears and a twitching tail. If you are noticing these signs, be sure to give your cat some alone time and wait for them to approach you.
Bechewy adds that cat owners need to stay positive and continually try their best to work with their cats. To yield more positive results, be sure to give the cat treats or food when you greet them.
This will link the cat's positive feelings to when they see their favorite person. It's also important that treats are used in small proportions and used wisely. Some cats are not motivated by food at all, and overfeeding your feline friend can make them less affectionate.
Overall, it's important to observe the cat's personality. There are always exceptions to every rule because some cats might like interactions that other cats generally do not enjoy.
For instance, many cats don't like belly rubs, but some cats love them! Just be sure to give your feline friend some time so that you both get to know and understand one another. A cat will ultimately choose their favorite person based on how well their needs are met by that person.
Cats Choose Their Favorite People Based on Personality
Much like humans, cats have many different personalities. Some cats are introverted or extroverted, some are playful, and others prefer their personal space.
Cats' temperaments, likes, dislikes, and characteristics play a role in whether they like certain people or not. In many cases, cats tend to like humans that have similar personalities to themselves.
In general, cats are a very observational species. If they live in a home with multiple human family members, they understand which members are more outgoing or shy, fun or laid back.
Whoever a cat likes best, the more likely the cat is to copy that behavior according to this study on Plos One. The study shows that more extroverted owners are more likely to have sociable cats. Owners that are rated highly on neuroticism are more likely to have cats that are anxious or fearful.
If you are looking for a cat to adopt, be sure to observe cats' behaviors and personalities. When you go to the adoption center or shelter, be sure to set aside some time to really get to know the cats that you are interested in.
Try to find a cat that has a similar personality to yours so that you will be able to create a close bond quickly.
Most Affectionate and Least Affectionate Cat Breeds
Even though cats' personalities can vary from feline to feline, some breeds are more affectionate in comparison to others.
This isn't to say that less affectionate cats don't like their owners, they are just less likely to show it than other cat breeds. In fact, some of the less affectionate breeds create strong bonds with their owners—they are just more shy towards strangers.
|Most Affectionate Breeds||Least Affectionate Breeds|
|Scottish Fold||American Wirehair|
The table above is not all-encompassing for every single cat, but for the general behaviors of each cat breed. The more affectionate breeds are generally more outgoing and kind to strangers and young children.
It is also important to note that certain cats will be more affectionate depending on their background and interactions with others.
Some of the breeds mentioned on the least affectionate breeds list are those that have the closest ties to their wild ancestors, making the domesticated breed less affectionate and more likely to be playful, aggressive, or demanding.
The less affectionate breeds are more likely to stay timid around strangers and new surroundings.
Each cat breed is capable of loving their human owners to the fullest capacity. As long as a cat feels that it is well taken care of and loved by their owners, the more likely they are to form a strong bond with their favorite people.