How and Why Cats Imprint on their Owners

Cats imprint on their owners because:

Cats imprint on their owners who have learned their language and know how to meet their needs.

Your cat chooses you as its favorite person if you treat it well.

Certain breeds are known to be attached to one person, and formerly abandoned cats are more likely to imprint on their owners.

Most of us assume that our cats don’t love us, but they just look for us when they want food and shelter. Granted, cats can sometimes appear to be aloof, but they are capable of forming a close friendship with their owner.

If you wonder why your cat follows you around, you have come to the right place. You are about to learn all about cat imprinting and what it means.

In this article, I will tell you why cats can imprint on their owners. You will also learn how to be your cat’s favorite person.


It Imprints on You if you Learn its Language

A cat living in a household where there are multiple people may choose its favorite person over others. However, it is not just a matter of preference—a cat imprints on a person who learns to communicate with it best.  

Your cat may imprint on you because of various reasons. It could be that you play with it often and in the right way. Or maybe you allow it to sit on your lap when other household members don’t.

It is not possible to pick out a single reason why your cat imprints on you. The conclusion is that a cat chooses to imprint on you if you are good at mastering cat language. For instance, in a certain study, researchers discovered that cats may purr to get their owners’ attention.

If you are good at listening to that purr and understanding its meaning, that is enough reason to be your pet’s favorite.

Feline communication is mainly through meowing and body language. They use these cues to tell humans how they feel and what they want. If you are good at understanding this language, you will be your cat’s favorite person.

Once your cat imprints on you, it shows you love in different ways. One cat may view sitting with you in the same room as showing you love. For another cat, sitting on your chest and purring is its perfect way of showing you affection.


A Cat’s Favorite is Someone who Treats it Well

To better understand how cats choose their favorite person, think of what attracts you to your best friend. It could be because they are fun to hang out with or always nice to you. Well, the same applies to our feline friends.

Your furry friend could love you because they are the kind of person who feeds it often or plays with it the most. Cats want to spend their time around a person who makes them feel secure and well-cared of.

Your cat’s choice of its close friend can be unpredictable. Sometimes a cat may choose you for a simple reason, such as smell. Other cats may prefer men to women. Others may choose kids over adults. It’s just another of our pets’ mysterious sides we are yet to discover.


Former Street Cats are Likely to Imprint

Some pet owners may abandon their cats on their streets because of annoying behaviors such as inappropriate elimination or constant meowing.

Other owners feel disappointed when their cats get pregnant and don’t feel up to the task of taking care of the mother and her kittens. High veterinary bills, the cost of food, and shelter are yet other reasons why people may abandon cats. Those who do so have faith that an interested neighbor will pick the cat up.

If your cat has one of these backgrounds and lived in the streets for a while, life must have been very tough for it. Community cats face a lot of dangers from wild animals, the risk of getting knocked down by a car, and extreme weather.

The hardest hurdle a street cat faces is being uncertain where its next meal will come from. Now that you have taken it in and are providing it with regular meals and shelter, it feels close to you.

It is normal for such a cat to imprint on you, because it feels secure in your presence after being abandoned.

If you deny it access to your bedroom at night, it meows throughout. This is because it is scared you have also abandoned it and does not understand that you will be together in the morning.


Some Cat Breeds Attach to One Person

Imprinting may also be because of a cat’s breed. According to one breeder, a Siberian cat often becomes attached to one person.

It may follow this person in the household indoors and outdoors. The cat will still acknowledge other household members, but still prefers to cuddle with its favorite person.

Siamese female cats are also known to be very affectionate and often like to be cozy with their owner.

Here are some cat breeds that form special attachments to one person:

•           Bombays.

•           Siamese.

•           Siberian.

•           Norwegian forest cat.

•           Russian Blues.


Ways to Tell if Your Cat Loves You 

1. It grooms you

A cat’s tongue acts as a comb when it is grooming itself. Yet, the behavior is not just limited to licking itself. Your cat may occasionally lick you, and it sure feels weird when your cat tries to clean you by licking your hands or feet.

Grooming is a natural thing for your cat. A mother cat grooms its kittens, and sibling cats often groom each other.

It’s something they do as part of social bonding. Your cat licks you when it is calm. If your cat grooms you, it considers you to be part of its family.

Sometimes a cat will groom its owner to “clean it,” the same way it does to remove dust from its fur.

Grooming you is a sure sign to prove that you are its favorite person.


2. Slow blinks

If your cat greets you with a slow blink, it is communicating affection to you. When a cat closes its eyes in the presence of another, it is an ultimate sign of trust. Some have even said that a cat’s slow blink is the equivalent of a kiss.

So, the next time your cat slowly blinks at you, try returning the gesture because it shows that you love it too and don’t feel threatened by its presence.


3. It Follows you everywhere

One of the main signs showing that a cat has imprinted on its owner is following them around.

If your cat follows you to the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom, it is a definite sign that you have a strong bond with your cat. If your kitten behaves this way, it could think you are its mother.

Kittens follow their mother everywhere because this is how they learn how to behave, and they are relying on their mom for protection. Some kittens carry on this behavior into adulthood by following their owners around.

Your cat feels safe with you if it is certain that you will meet its needs, so it wants to be around you, and that is why it follows you everywhere.


4. Purring when with you

Cats learn to purr when they are just a few days old, to help their mother locate where they are, and assure the mother that they are OK. Purring helps the mother cat and her kittens to bond.

Your cat may purr when with you to assure you that it feels safe in your presence.

Your cat purrs when you tickle it under the chin or stroke its back as a sign of contentment. According to most cat owners, a purr is arguably the most recognizable sign that their cat feels content and relaxed to be around them.

You will notice that the purring gets louder when you hold your cat or pet it. In other words, a purr can be referred to as the feline smile.


How to be Your Cat’s Favorite Person

1. Socialize your cat from the beginning

Socializing your cat once you bring it home is often a good start to building a relationship of trust with your furry friend.

Find ways to interact with your cat through play, cuddles, or just call out its name when stroking it. This way, your cat knows that you are a reliable source of interaction, which is a good thing if you have a shy cat.


2. Respect your cat’s personal space.

Cats love to play but know where to draw the line. You don’t want to play with your cat so much that it is exhausted and shows signs of fatigue such as panting. If your cat retreats to its bed after playing, it is a sure sign that your pet is tired.

Allow it to rest, and give it time to rest.  


3. Try to understand its communication cues

There are many reasons why your cat approaches you, from food to attention. Learn to understand these cues. After being away from home, your cat may approach you for some cuddles, or to remind you to feed it.

When in a closed room, your cat may meow at the door to show you it wants to go out. Perhaps your cat swipes at your feet when you pass by to indicate it’s ready to play. Learn to interpret these cues.


Writer: Flora Ojow

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