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Do Cats Have an Alpha Human or Favorite Person? Vet-Verified Facts & Tips

Written by: Jessica Rossetti

Last Updated on July 3, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

senior tabby cat sitting on person

Do Cats Have an Alpha Human or Favorite Person? Vet-Verified Facts & Tips

VET APPROVED

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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You may have heard that as a dog owner, you need to establish dominance and be the “pack leader1.” Since dogs run in packs in the wild, this is a way to show your dog that you set the rules, boundaries, and limitations for them when they are in your home. But do cats feel the same way? Can cats have an alpha human or pack leader?

In short, the answer is no. Cats don’t run in packs naturally. They are solitary hunters2 in the wild, living mostly alone or at times in a female-centered colony known as a clowder or glaring. Cats don’t view humans as alpha, but they still love their owners and can even have a favorite person in the household.

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Why Do Cats Have a Favorite Person?

Many people think that the person who feeds the cat is automatically the cat’s favorite. While this might be true in some cases, it’s more complicated than that. Cats like — and dislike — different people for various reasons, but just providing food doesn’t necessarily make you number one in your cat’s eyes.

Some cats don’t necessarily have a favorite person and the interpretation of the cat having a favorite person might be something imagined by their owners. Cats may socialize with different people in different manners, but the conclusion that doing so means a cat has a favorite person is purely subjective to us.

Cats use different cues to communicate with humans. Vocalizations, sounds, and body language are a cat’s ways to tell us how they’re feeling and what they need. Even cats that were well socialized during their early life may choose one person whom they tend to gravitate toward more than others.

It comes down to communication. If one person picks up on your cat’s communication cues and responds to them, even if they aren’t the cat’s primary caregiver, your cat may favor that person because they understand them. When people understand their needs, cats will want to communicate with them more. They provide cats with a feeling of safety and security.

person smelling cat
Image Credit by: JensEnemark, Pixabay

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How to Become Your Cat’s Favorite Person

If you’d like to build a better bond with your cat, here are a few things that you can do. Keep in mind though that as stated previously, whether or not you are your cat’s “favorite” person is down to interpretation. It is true that some cats can become strongly bonded with a specific individual. However, this isn’t always a good thing. At other times, cats do not form strong bonds with any one person, but instead are open to socializing with just about anyone. This too shouldn’t be seen as a negative. It’s just a cat being a cat. 

That being said, the following tips are recommended to form a positive relationship with your pet cat. 

1. Socialize from Day One

Show your cat that you can be relied on for more than food and litter scooping. While your cat does appreciate these things, they also want to know that you will keep them safe and protect them. Offer playful interaction when they want it. If your cat is showing you that they want to play, take a few minutes and engage with them. If it’s not possible at that moment, make a note to set aside time later to give your cat the playtime and attention that they’re looking for.


2. Respect Their Space

Cats like their alone time to rest and sleep. Sometimes they just don’t want to be disturbed. If you’re forcing your cat to engage with you when they’d rather be alone, they will feel like you don’t read their cues and they can’t communicate with you. If they wander off to spend time alone, give them their space until they feel like coming back to interact with you.

Grey shorthair cat sleeping on sofa
Image Credit: AC Manley, Shutterstock

3. Watch for Cues

If your cat is purring, rubbing against you, meowing, or jumping into your lap, they may be expressing their need for something. They may want food, attention, petting, or just to be near you. Once you figure out what your cat is trying to tell you, you’ll be able to communicate back to them by meeting their needs. It is worth noting that cats are experts at soliciting food from humans, and giving in to their demands all the time may quickly lead to an overweight or obese pet!

If your cat is growling or hissing or has their ears flat to their head, these are signs that they are unhappy or upset about something. Aggressive body language and behavior mean that your cat does not want to interact with you at that moment and should be left alone until they calm down.

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Final Thoughts

Cats don’t have an alpha human the way that dogs have a pack leader, but they can have a favorite person whom they prefer to be around. Cats naturally gravitate toward those whom they feel they can communicate with. If you’d like to strengthen the bond between you and your cat, we hope that these suggestions can help you do that. Once you can communicate better with your cat, your relationship with them will improve.

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Featured Image Credit: Debra Anderson, Shutterstock

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