Cats get a bad rap from those looking in from the outside for not forming storing bonds with their owners.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth, cats do form strong bonds with their owners.
But do cats imprint on one person in the same way as some other animals do?
There is some evidence to suggest they do. Plus, anecdotally, I know that cats can imprint on humans, as I’ll explain:
What Does It Mean When a Cat Imprints on You?
Have you ever met a cat who just seemed to take to someone?
A cat who didn’t like anyone else near being near that person, and would purr and follow them around?
This is what it means when a cat imprints on someone.
Imprinting is a pre-programmed drive birds and mammals are born with that makes them bond with their mothers.
Essentially, it means that the first face a bird or mammal sees – which will typically be their mother’s – is who they are ‘attached’ to.
If that first face happens to be a human, it’s also possible for an animal to imprint on a human and see them as their mother, and not their actual mother.
There have been some interesting studies into animals imprinting on humans, although not so many focused on kittens.
Related – Does your cat sleep in your arms like a baby? That’s a strong sign of love.
Do Cats Imprint on One Person?
There is some anecdotal evidence – and a few studies – that suggest cats can imprint on one person.
Anecdotally, I know this to be true as I’ve had my own cats imprint on me. I’ve also seen it with other cat parents that have bought kittens up from the moment they open their eyes.
This article looks at the behavioral patterns of kittens associated with how they view and behave towards humans.
It has some compelling evidence to suggest that kittens do imprint on us, and “Significant positive correlations were found between the ratings of ‘cat affection to the owner’ and ‘owner affection for the cat’.”
It goes on to explain that there may be more to a cat imprinting on one person than simply seeing them as a kitten and thinking of them as their carer.
How you communicate with your cat, the things you do to bond with them, and the bond you develop over time is more how cats imprint than simply developing that maternal-like bond.
How Can You Tell if a Cat Has Imprinted on You?
There are some signs that you can look out for that may suggest your cat has imprinted on you:
- Your cat follows you around and will even move rooms to be with you.
- Your cat is always happy to see you and doesn’t show the same affection to other people.
- Your cat purrs when you pet them or pick them up and they may even drool or nibble on you.
- Your cat meows more to get your attention and communicates with you more than anyone else.
- Your cat slowly blinks at you. This is often seen as cats saying they ‘love’ someone, it’s a big sign that they’re super comfortable, I can say that much.
These are just some of the signs that may suggest your cat has imprinted on you.
Of course, every cat is different and will show its affection in different ways.
But if you have a cat that follows you around, is always happy to see you, and communicates with you more than anyone else, then there’s a good chance they’ve developed a special bond beyond simply relying on you for food and fuss!
What Does It Mean When a Kitten Follows You?
When a kitten follows you, it may be a sign that they’ve imprinted on you.
As I mentioned earlier, kittens are born with a pre-programmed drive to bond with their mothers.
So, if the first face they see is yours, it’s possible they may see you as their mother and follow you around as they would their actual mother.
Of course, every kitten is different and some may follow you around more than others.
But if your kitten is always happy to see you, communicates with you more than anyone else, and follows you around, then there’s a good chance they’ve imprinted on you.
Imprinting for a cat might not be as strong and direct as it is with some birds, but it’s still a bond and it’s very real.
Do Cats Pick a Favorite Person?
Cats often do pick a favorite person. This isn’t to say they’ve imprinted or bonded with that person, per se, but it’s definitely something they do.
If your cat or even someone else’s cat seems to have picked you as their favorite, you should take it as a huge compliment.
On a side note, if you’re trying to win over the favor of a cat, I have some tips!
Cats often pick a favorite person based on who gives them the most attention, love, and fuss.
So, if you’re the one that’s always feeding them, playing with them, and fussing over them, then it’s likely they’ll see you as their favorite.
Of course, every cat is different and some may have a favorite person for different reasons.
But being the one that’s always there for them is always a great start!
Yes, cats can imprint on one person and often do pick a favorite person.
There is some debate whether cats imprint in the same way as some other animals, but there is no doubt that cats do pick a special someone.
If a cat follows you around, is always happy to see you, and communicates with you more than anyone else, then there’s a good chance they’ve developed a special bond beyond simply relying on you for food and fuss!
Image credits – Photo by Raychan on Unsplash