Whose Lap Does Kitty Prefer? How to Tell Who Your Cat Loves Most

Look for the cat’s body language

Cats often use body language to communicate their affection. Some signs to look for include:

  • Head butts – When a cat gently bumps your hand or leg with their head, this is a way they show love and trust. The cat is marking you with their scent and showing you are part of their group. (Source)
  • Leg rubs – Cats have scent glands on their face and tail, so when they rub up against you, they are scent marking you as safe and familiar. This is a sign of affection. (Source)
  • Tail up – When a cat holds their tail upright as they interact with you, it signals they are happy, excited, and interested. An upright tail indicates affection. (Source)
  • Eye contact – When a cat stares at you with softened eyes and slow blinks, this mimics natural cat behavior between loved ones. It shows trust and affection. (Source)

Pay attention to who the cat sleeps near

Cats often choose to sleep next to or cuddle up against their favorite person. This is because cats feel safe and content when they are near someone they have bonded with and trust. According to Cats.com, “A cat instinctively wants to sleep with the person they have a strong connection to. Cats get attached to one person and usually gravitate towards sleeping with them.” Sleeping beside a favorite human provides the cat with warmth, comfort, and security.

Look for patterns in where your cat prefers to sleep. Does your cat snuggle up on your lap or sleep by your feet every night? They are likely choosing you as their preferred human. The place a cat sleeps can reveal a lot about their preferences and which person they are most bonded with.

Source: https://cats.com/how-do-cats-choose-who-to-sleep-with

Note who the cat greets first

Cats often run to greet their favorite person when they come home. A cat that consistently rushes to say hello to a particular family member is demonstrating their affection. This excited greeting behavior shows that the cat feels a special bond with that person. According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, “A tail in the full upright position also indicates familiarity, trust, and affection” when a cat greets someone they love. While some cats greet everyone, pay attention to who gets the most enthusiastic welcome. As PetHelpful reports, cats can display incredibly excited body language when greeting their favorite human after an absence. This can include meowing, rubbing, hopping, or full-body wiggling. So take note of who your cat singles out to give the warmest homecoming greeting.

Source: https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/behavior-appearance/cat-greetings-explained

See who the cat spends the most time with

Cats want to be close to the people they feel most bonded with. If your cat spends the majority of their time with one person, that’s a strong indication of their favorite human. Pay attention to who your cat chooses to curl up beside on the couch or bed. Notice who the cat follows from room to room. Cats like to be in the same space as those they’re bonded with. According to this article, a cat that spends lots of time near you views you as part of their family and security.

Watch for head bumps and nuzzling

Head butts and nuzzling are signs of cat affection. Cats have scent glands on their heads, cheeks, tail base and paws. When a cat rubs against you, the cat is depositing its scent and claiming you as its own. This is called bunting or head butting and is how cats show social bonding [1].

A headbutt is a way for a cat to mark you with its scent and indicate that you are a trusted member of its group. It’s the cat’s way of saying “You’re mine!” [2]. When a cat headbutts or nuzzles you, it is showing affection and wanting to reinforce its connection with you. The more a cat headbutts you, the stronger its bond with you is.

Some signs of affection through head butting and nuzzling include:

  • Bumping its head against your head or face
  • Rubbing its cheek or side of its face on you
  • Brushing up against your legs or hands
  • Nuzzling its nose into your hands or neck

So if your cat is headbutting and nuzzling you frequently, take it as a sign you are the chosen favorite human. It’s the cat’s special way of showing its love.

[1] https://www.petmd.com/cat/behavior/why-does-my-cat-headbutt-me
[2] https://www.therescuevets.com/education-resources/cat-care-tips/why-cats-headbutt/

Observe purring and kneading

Purring and kneading while with a person shows contentment. Cats purr as a way to self-soothe and calm themselves. The vibrations from purring can help relax their muscles and make them feel less stressed[1]. Purring may also communicate to others that they are happy and content[2]. Kneading is an instinctive behavior left over from kittendhood that cats do when they feel completely relaxed, secure, and trusting of their environment[3]. When a cat purrs and kneads on their human, it indicates a strong bond and affection. The cat feels safe, comfortable, and content with that person.

[1] https://www.coopsandcages.com.au/blog/why-do-cats-purr-and-knead-their-humans/

[2] https://pethelpful.com/cats/My-Cats-Purr-and-Knead-Me-Why-Do-They-Do-That

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/23/world/why-cats-knead-with-paws-scn-partner/index.html

Check who the cat grooms most

One of the biggest signs a cat loves someone is grooming behavior. Cats regularly groom themselves to stay clean, but they will also groom humans they feel a close bond with. This grooming behavior is a way for cats to show affection and strengthen social connections.

According to PetMD, a cat’s grooming “may be an affiliative behavior, which is a friendly, altruistic behavior. Mothers groom their kittens, and cats may groom one another and humans during periods of bonding” (PetMD). So when a cat grooms you, it is showing care, comfort, and contentment.

Observe which person your cat grooms the most. This could be gentle licking of your hand, arm, or face. Cats may also groom human hair and heads. The person who receives the most dedicated grooming from your cat is likely their favorite human.

See who gets the most playtime

Playtime is one of the most telling ways cats show affection. According to the article “10 Signs Your Cat Loves You: Feline Affection Explained | Dutch” on the Dutch website https://www.dutch.com/blogs/cats/signs-cat-loves-you, cats engage in more playful behavior like chasing toys or gentle wrestling with the people they feel closest to. Cats mainly play with those they trust and feel safe around.

Pay attention to which family member your cat brings toys to or pounces on more often when they want to play. The one your cat plays with the most is likely the favorite. Interactive playtime requires vulnerability, so a cat wouldn’t play as much with someone they didn’t feel completely comfortable with.

Monitor chirping and trilling

Some cats make unique chirping or trilling sounds to show affection for their favorite person. As Hill’s Pet Nutrition explains, chirping is a type of cat murmur formed with the mouth mostly closed. It’s a short, repetitive, high-pitched sound. Trilling is another affectionate cat vocalization that’s similar to chirping. If your cat makes these sounds specifically when interacting with you, it’s a strong sign you’re their preferred human.

Chirping and trilling while making eye contact, approaching you, or being petted signals happiness and affection. As Comfort Zone notes, some cats reserve these vocalizations just for their favorite people as a unique expression of love. So pay attention if your cat chirps or trills around only certain individuals. It likely means they have a special bond with and preference for that person.

Pay attention to slow blinking

A cat’s slow blinking with eyes half-closed at you is a sign of love, contentment and trust, experts say. Sometimes called “kitty kisses”, slow blinking seems to be the cat equivalent of a human smile in terms of showing positive emotions. According to one article, “Slow blinking is a gesture of trust and affection that cats use to communicate with each other. When a cat slow blinks at you, it’s a sign that they feel safe and calm in your presence.” https://www.thewildest.com/cat-behavior/cat-slow-blinking

When you slowly blink back at your cat, it helps create a bond and shows them you can be trusted. One feline behaviorist says “Slow blinking is like a virtual hug. It’s a way to ‘blow a kiss’ to your cat to show them you love them.” Cats that feel happy and relaxed in their environment are more likely to show slow blinking as a sign of affection. So pay attention to see which person the cat seems most content and trusting with based on who receives the most slow blinks.

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