Cat imprinting is when a cat bonds strongly with their favourite person. This can happen when your cat sees you as a source of safety, shelter, and food.
Your cat may have imprinted on you if they follow you around, love to spend time with you, knead on you, purr loudly when they are with you and generally seem to feel safe and content around you.
Below are 8 signs your cat has imprinted on you:
1. They Follow You
The most common sign that your cat has imprinted on you is that they follow you around everywhere.
If your cat follows you around the house like a kitten follows their mother it shows they have imprinted on you and they feel secure around you.
When a cat follows you around it is because they want to be with you and they know you provide everything they need (food, shelter, safety, comfort).
2. They Slowly Blink At You
One of the ways a cat shows affection is by looking at you and slowly blinking.
This slow and deliberate blinking is used by cats as a way of communicating and when they do it, it shows that they trust you.
Cat’s don’t need to blink in the same way as we do so when a cat fully closes their eyes or slowly blinks they are showing they feel safe.
You can slow blink back to your cat to show them that you feel the same.
3. They Sit In Your Lap
When a cat has imprinted on you, they like to be wherever you are and that includes sitting on your lap.
Your lap is a safe place where your cat can relax while enjoying the warmth and comfort of their favourite person.
Your cat may sit in your lap as a way of simply being close to you, showing affection, and being social.
When your cat has imprinted on you, you’ll often find there is a lack of personal space. Your cat will want to be with you (as close to you as they can be) wherever you are.
4. They Knead On You
Kneading is something that a kitten will do when they get milk from their mother and it is something seen in cats when they feel content.
Kneading is a way of expressing pleasure and happiness so if your cat is kneading on you they are letting you know they are happy.
Cats also knead to mark their scent, alleviate stress and to make themselves a comfortable bed.
5. They Purr When Around You
When your cat is near you they may purr to show they are secure and happy to be around you. Purring is one of the most recognisable signs of a content cat.
A cat purrs when they are relaxed, happy, and feel safe.
When a cat has imprinted on you, they will purr loudly when you pet or hold them.
6. They Rub Against You
Your cat may rub on you, for example rubbing against your feet or pushing against your legs. They may gently headbutt you, this is a cat’s way of nudging you and this can be a way of saying hello, showing they love you, or trying to get your attention.
When a cat rubs against it is also a way of marking territory, strengthening your bond and communicating with you.
Your cat may also groom you, this is a normal thing for a cat as they not only groom themselves but kittens will often groom each other and mother cats groom their young.
When a cat grooms another cat or grooms you, it is a way of social bonding.
Being groomed by your cat is a way of your cat showing you that you’re family.
7. They Check In With You Often (Day and Night)
If your cat has imprinted on you they will regularly check in with you.
This could mean they come into your room at night to snuggle with you, to wake you up for attention, or they simply come in to check everything is okay and then leave again.
When your cat imprints on you, they want to be with you and they are often protective of you.
8. They Show You Their Belly
A cat’s belly is a vulnerable part of their body and is something cats are very guarded about. They don’t tend to like anyone touching their belly and will only show their belly when they trust you.
When your cat rolls over and exposes their stomach they are not asking for a belly rub, they are letting you know they feel comfortable with you.
What Does It Mean When A Cat Imprints On You?
When a cat imprints on you it means they have bonded with you and trust you. They feel comfortable around you and show this with their behaviour and desire to be around you.
When Do Cats Typically Imprint?
Cats typically imprint when they are young and in the first few hours or days of life.
A cat will imprint on a human when they don’t have a mother, or when they need food, comfort, or safety.
Although, cats will continue to build strong bonds with humans when they are older too.
Some cat breeds are more likely to imprint on a person than others.
For example, Turkish Angora, Siamese, Manx, and Siberian cats are all very affectionate and are more likely to imprint on people.
Every cat is different and has their own personality and preferences.
If your cat imprints on you, it is a sign of trust and a good bond.
With that said, don’t be sad if your cat doesn’t seem to be very affectionate with you as some breeds are more reserved and don’t express how they feel as clearly as others.
Do Kittens Imprint On Humans?
Yes, kittens do imprint on humans, particularly when their mother is not around. Younger cats imprint on people more easily than older cats.
How To Get A Kitten To Imprint On You
Imprinting happens when the kitten bonds with you so it’s important to create a strong, positive relationship with them. You can do this by spending time petting, grooming, and playing with the kitten, feeding the kitten and cleaning their litter box.
Being consistent and understanding the kitten’s needs will strengthen your bond and hopefully you’ll be their favourite human before you know it.
Why Do Cats Imprint On Their Owners?
Cats imprint on their owners for a variety of reasons, it is often because the person they have imprinted on is good at communicating with them, plays with them often, feeds them etc.
A cat’s favourite person is going to be a person who treats them well and always makes them feel safe.
Street cats and cats who have been previously abandoned are likely to imprint on their new owners because they feel secure and close to the people who are giving them food, shelter and safety.
Do Cats Usually Imprint On More Than One Person?
No, cats usually only imprint on one person.
When a cat prefers one person over another at home, it is a sign they have imprinted on that person.
They will show more affection to this person and it will seem like your cat has a favourite person.
This is a sign that your cat has bonded more closely with that person.
Although most cats will only imprint on one person, some have multiple favourite people and will imprint on them.
A cat can also change their favourite person.
Their favourite person is usually the one that provides food, attention, and understands the cat’s body language the best.
How To Be Your Cat’s Favourite Person
To be your cat’s favourite person you need to understand their body language and the way they communicate.
Your cat’s favourite person is going to be the person that pampers them most, but does it in a way your cat responds to.
By this we mean, you understand when your cat wants to cuddle but you also understand when they want to be alone.
This understanding is the secret to being their favourite person.
The first step to being your cat’s favourite person is making sure they are well socialised. Socialisation is an important foundation to building trust and strong relationships.
Interact with your cat in various ways such as; playing, grooming, and cuddling.
You want your cat to know that you are a reliable source of positive interaction.
2. Understand when your cat wants space
Being your cat’s favourite person doesn’t mean you are always playing with them or giving them cuddles.
It is vital to know when your cat wants to play or wants cuddles and when they want to rest.
If your cat slows down, moves away, or changes their body language they are indicating to you that they have had enough and want to rest.
You need to respect this and give your cat space.
3. Understand your cat’s communication
As with knowing when your cat wants space, it is also important to understand what they want when they come over to you.
There are many reasons your cat may come to see you from wanting food to wanting attention.
Trying to better understand your cat and their behaviour will help you to build a strong bond with them.
4. Be gentle with your cat
Cats don’t respond well to rough play and chasing games like dogs do.
Instead, they respond to gentle strokes on their body, neck, and face.
They don’t tend to like their tail or belly being touched and will stiffen their body and hiss if you do something they don’t like.
In order to build a strong bond with your cat you need to be mindful of this during your interactions.
5. Offer treats and positive experiences
Many cats can’t resist a treat.
If your cat associates positive experiences, like getting their favourite treats, with you they will come to you more often for snacks and attention.
Offering food is one of the simplest ways of building a bond with your cat as food is one of their fundamental needs so your cat will naturally start to bond with the person who feeds them.