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Has Your Cat Imprinted on You? 15 Signs to Look For

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

siamese cat looking up in the camera

Has Your Cat Imprinted on You? 15 Signs to Look For

Cat imprinting is a sort of love where your kitty accepts you as their human and as part of their cat family. It’s much more complex than that, but that’s the basics. If you notice your cat’s behavior has changed, they could be imprinting on you. This is a special honor that not all cats will grant a human, so it’s something to treasure.

What are the signs? Keep reading below for 15 of them you should look for.
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The 15 Signs Your Cat Has Imprinted on You

1. They Follow You

cat looking man's chin
Image Credit: Magui RF, Shutterstock

A cat won’t spend time around anyone they don’t know or don’t like. One of the first signs that a cat has imprinted on you, or is considering it, is that they follow you around. The distance they put between themselves and you is a good indicator of how they feel about you.

If they are in the doorway or the next room watching you, it could mean they are trying to get to know you better. If they stick closer, they likely already have and like you. If they haven’t already imprinted on you, they will soon.


2. You Trip Over Them

Imprinted cats could stick even closer. Like, under your feet. Kittens learn how to be cats by closely following their mother. They keep an eye on her, learn to be a cat from her behavior, and observe the world around them while having her close by to protect them.

If you are constantly tripping over your cat because they stay glued to your side, it could be that they see you as a mother figure who cares for them, provides their meals, cleans up after them, and offers plenty of loving attention.


3. They Watch You

birgl_Pixabay
Image Credit: birgl, Pixabay

It can feel a little unnerving when a cat stares at you constantly, especially if you are up and moving and their eyes follow you. Some cats may be watching you because they are suspicious, but it’s pretty easy to tell if they are on edge or simply interested in your actions.

A curious kitty will watch what you are up to until they get bored and do something else. Of course, if you interrupted their sleep or other activities, they might just be communicating that you entered their space. Either way, it’s normal cat behavior for cats that trust you.


4. They Know Your Routine

Does your cat let you know when it’s time to get up? Time to eat? Do they stand by the door to say goodbye when you leave for work and meet you there when you come home? Cats that pay attention to your routine care about you and have imprinted on you and inserted themselves into your daily life.

They want to be a part of everything you do, and that also translates to being in your space and participating in those activities.


5. They Sit on Your Lap

Domestic cat lying on owner's lap
Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

There are many reasons why your cat wants to lay on your lap. Cats have a much higher body temperature, and sitting on your lap, which is usually a warm place, helps them maintain that body temperature much easier.

It helps that you are a comfy place to lay, especially if you have a comfortable blanket or pillow over you. Added to that, being close to you and the mutual exchange of affection that petting allows, it’s no wonder that your cat loves to curl up on your lap while you’re watching TV or reading a book.


6. They Sleep with You

Cats are, by nature, very independent creatures. It should be taken as a compliment if they choose to spend time with you, but especially if they lay closely with you at night. Wild cats are most vulnerable at night, and your housecat shares this instinct. Laying with you could help them feel protected, or they may need to defend their favorite human during the night.

How do cats choose who to sleep with? They usually feel the most bonded to this human and make it a habit of sleeping in the same location each night to “stand watch.”


7. They Slowly Blink at You

cat lying on humans lap
Image Credit: Piqsels

Staring contests with your cat may seem a bit awkward. However, they are nothing like the games you played with friends as a kid. These intense stares are a form of communication your cat uses to assure you of their strong connection with you.

A long, slow-blinking gesture is another aspect of this communication that shows they are happy and secure in their home and completely comfortable in your company. Blinks like this are intentional, especially if they are the ones to initiate it. Next time your cat is nearby, see if you can tell how they feel with a little staring contest.


8. They Knead You

Kneading is a natural behavior, and cats do it for several reasons. As kittens, kneading helps to stimulate a mother to produce more milk. They will continue to knead when marking their territory, using the scent glands in their paws, and making a comfortable resting place by fluffing up a blanket or pillow.

However, cats may also knead simply because they are happy and loved. You may even notice your cat making the kneading motions without anything under them to knead. This should signify that they are content and imprinted on you.


9. They Purr Loudly

british shorthair cat yawning and purring
Image Credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock

Purring can mean a cat is hungry, wants something, needs stress relief, or is soothing itself from physical pain. One of the most common reasons is that they are happy. This is especially true if your cat is healthy and content in its home.

If they are lying on your lap or in your bed and are purring while quiet with their tail unmoving and their eyes closed, it most likely means that they are completely happy being in your presence, and purring is a natural response.


10. They Chatter or Meow

Purring isn’t the only way your cat can communicate with you loudly. Chattering is a sound of excitement, and you may hear it when they are watching birds. If they chatter during playtime with you, they are most likely having a lot of fun with their human and see you as the same as a cat.

It’s believed that a cat’s meow was invented purely to communicate with humans. A meow can mean many things, from hunger to love, but if your cat has conversations with you, they’ve accepted you into their inner circle.


11. They Show You Their Belly

cat owner belly rubbing her cat
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

For most animals, their belly is their softest and most vulnerable place. Belly rubs are common with dogs, but that’s not always the case with cats. It can take a long time to earn enough trust with a cat for them to show you their belly, let alone rub it.

Some cats will never like their belly rubbed. However, if your cat does, you can bet they’ve imprinted on you and trust you fully to care for and protect them. When you are around, they may even begin to show their belly to strangers, with or without the rubs.


12. They Rub Against You

Scent is a pretty big thing to cats. They use it to mark their territory, but a cat’s scent calms them. For both reasons, a cat will rub against a human they’ve imprinted on. Their scent glands are located on their head, on their cheeks, along their sides, at the top of their tail, in their paws, and in several other locations.

When they are happy and have accepted you, they will likely rub against you often, especially when you come home and they need to reclaim you.


13. They Groom You

a red domestic cat bites its owner's hand
Image Credit: Irzhanova Asel, Shutterstock

Have you seen cats in the wild grooming each other, especially the females who take it upon themselves to ensure that everyone is clean? Your housecat has the same instinct and may start grooming their human.

A few licks on your hand may not be so bad, but waking up to a rough cat tongue through your hair might be a bit too far. If your cat has gone to this extra step to tell you they love you, you may need to set a boundary early on.


14. They Play with You

It goes without saying that cats don’t do anything they don’t want to, and they definitely don’t do them with people they don’t like. While many cats love playing, they won’t play with you if they haven’t accepted you as part of their family.

A cat will most likely choose their favorite human and attempt to play with them first before turning to others in the house to play with. If your cat is bringing you toys, it could mean they want to spend some time interacting with you. If this is a new practice, then congratulations. They’ve imprinted on you.


15. They Bring You “Gifts”

red tabby cat hunting a small bird
Image Credit: rihaij, Pixabay

As kittens grow and a mother cat begins weaning them off her milk, she will bring them fresh meat. She is providing for her kittens with little gifts of food. Adult cats may continue this activity by bringing you gifts of dead birds, rodents, or snakes.

Or, sometimes, they aren’t dead yet. However, their heart is in the right place, and they feel like they are playing their part in the family dynamic by providing in their own special way.

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It can take time to earn a cat’s trust and for them to imprint on you. Once they have, the bond you share is deepened. You’ll experience many tender moments and another level of communication. If you haven’t experienced any of these signs, or only a few, we encourage you to be patient and give your kitty the time they need to get to know you.

During that time, get to know them, and your friendship will be all the sweeter.


Featured Image Credit: ilya chunin, Unsplash

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