Most cats that live in a house with more than one person usually have a favorite human, someone they tend to gravitate to and hang around the most.
Popular culture may sometimes portray them as grumpy, but cats can and do form special bonds with their owners. And even though they may not be as effusive as dogs in showing their love and affection, this doesn’t mean they don’t love you.
While it’s common to think that a cat won’t love you as much as a dog, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a recent study found out that cats can become just as bonded to their human friends as dogs do and maybe even more.
Newsweek spoke to a cat behavior expert to find out the main signs to look for if you want to know if your cat favors you over other people.
Despite their reputation for being aloof and distant, cats like us more than most people think, according to Joey Lusvardi, a cat behavior consultant certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Lusvardi, who runs a Minneapolis business called Class Act Acts, told Newsweek, “They may not like every person, but there is research demonstrating that cats can become attached to people much like dogs do.”
Displaying Affiliative Behaviors
Lusvardi said one obvious sign that a cat likes you is when it displays an abundance of affiliative behaviors, which resemble how cats act when showing affection toward other cats.
“For example, to cats staring can be perceived as very threatening,” he said. “Rather than staring deep into our eyes, they’ll often give a slow blink where they partially close their eyes and then open them again. This will often be followed by a gaze off to the side [so] as to not come off as a threat.”
He continued: “Another affiliative behavior is called bunting. This is where they rub their head or face against a person they really like to leave their pheromones on them. If a cat bunts you, you can return the affection by petting them in the area they rubbed against you.”
Choosing to Spend Most of Their Time Near You
Beyond the directly affectionate behavior, there are other signs that a cat likes you better than anyone else, Lusvardi said. One of the biggest signs is that they like to spend most of their time with you.
“If your cat has the choice of the whole house and they choose to spend most of their time near you, that’s a sign that they enjoy your presence,” he said. “They could go nap in a sunbeam in a different room, but instead they may hang out on your lap. They may also choose to hang out near you when there’s not a direct benefit to them, such as food or treats.”
They Trust You
Another sign that your cat trusts you is that it is most comfortable with you doing things that it usually isn’t thrilled about, Lusvardi said.
“For example, if you can trim their nails while others end up with claw marks on their arms, you may be the preferred human for the cat. This shows trust and that they know you aren’t going to do anything to hurt them,” he said.
They Miss You When You’re Away
Last but not least, you’re probably your cat’s favorite person if it misses you when you’re gone and then appears excited to see you again.
“Look at your cat’s reaction when you’ve separated for an extended period of time,” Lusvardi said. “If you’ve gone for a few days and your cat goes wild with excitement to see you but isn’t nearly as excited to see others, chances are, you can pick out who the favorite is.”
How Cats Choose Their Favorite Human
As with dogs, a cat’s favorite person is usually the one that makes the most effort with them, someone who tries hard to get to know the cat’s cues and motives to understand the feline on a different level and truly connect with it.
Another factor that influences a cat’s preference is its personality. A cat that likes to chill and relax all day will most likely choose a human who is calm and quiet. More playful cats will go for people who give them more playtime and attention.
How to Become Your Cat’s Favorite Person
If you think you’re not your cat’s favorite person but want it to love you, you can do some things to help make this happen.
The most obvious but important thing to do is to spend quality time together, cuddling, playing and giving your cat love. But don’t force it because cats don’t like that.
Observe the cat’s behavior and listen to its vocalizations to figure out what it is asking you to do, and make sure you’re satisfying its needs. It’s crucial that you keep your interactions with the cat positive and avoid scolding it. You don’t want your pet to associate you with negative experiences.
Cater to your cat’s needs and it will acknowledge what you do for it and eventually recognize you as its special human.