We know that our feline friends care about us, but did you know that oftentimes, there are clear signs that our cats have imprinted on us? This common behavior in mammals comes as a result of a strong bond and attachment, often formed when the animal is young. PBS.org says that: "Imprinting refers to a critical period of time early in an animal’s life when it forms attachments and develops a concept of its own identity. Birds and mammals are born with a pre-programmed drive to imprint onto their mother. Imprinting provides animals with information about who they are."
For many of us cat people, we care for our cats in a truly special way. And because of this level of care and attention, our cats will gravitate to us and show us through their actions just how much we mean to them. The act of imprinting with animals is nothing new and has been used for centuries by humans to train young animals to trust them so that they can both mutually benefit from this shared bond. Mother-infant bonding is a natural instinct for many animal species, so when there is no mother present and only a human present, the animal latches onto this bond with trust, admiration, and eagerness. Your cat turns to you for shelter, safety, and food, but it goes beyond that. Many of our cats have imprinted on us, and there are ways in which you can tell. Experts say that not just kittens do this, but even older cats, too.
Here are signs your cat has imprinted on you…
Your kitty is your shadow
One of the easiest ways to tell that your cat has imprinted on you is if you hardly ever need to look for your cat—because they are typically wherever you are in your home. Cats that have imprinted on their humans will often choose to follow their humans from room to room. This isn't because your cat is needy or clingy and anxious, this is because you make them feel safe and protected so they enjoy being in your presence whenever you are home. Think of it as their way of saying I am happiest when you are near. Aww!
Your cat insists on occupying your lap
Cats are not a naturally trusting species the way that dogs are. While there are certain breeds of dogs out there that are known as lap dogs, cats are too individualistic by nature to label any specific breed as a lap cat. (Some may argue this, but there are always cats out there that are quick to defy their breed's characteristics.) With that being said, when a cat chooses to sit in your lap, this is the ultimate compliment. This means that they feel connected with you and that you help them to feel happy, safe, and centered. This sign that your cat has imprinted on you often makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside because who can resist a happily purring kitty resting peacefully on your lap?!
Your cat needs you—and they show this by kneading you
Cats that have imprinted on their humans will often knead them. For cats that were taken from their mother too soon, you will often see them kneading and even sucking on blankets simultaneously. This interesting behavior allows them to feel calm, and they will often exhibit it in your presence. And, at times, your cat might choose to do this to you. Kneading is a proven method that cats rely on to calm themselves, and it's something they also do when they are truly content. And, if they do this on you, it's because they've imprinted on you and you help them to achieve this ultimate state of bliss and relaxation.
Slow blink communication
Cats don't give wet, sloppy kisses like their canine counterparts—and we're grateful for that. Cats take a more subtle approach by granting us kitty kisses in the form of slow blinks. Scientific research has proven to us that slow blink communication with our cats is an effective way to communicate. It's believed that the action is a kind of "cat smile" and can be viewed as both a friendly greeting and an invitation. Cats typically slow blink at other cats, and now science is saying that imitating the behavior is a way for humans to essentially speak cat language. So, if your kitty likes to slow blink at you, slowly blink back and feel good about yourself knowing that your kitty has imprinted on you.
A cat that has imprinted on their human likes to check in on them
Your cat is your tiny little micromanager. And they will not be shy about being nosy on your whereabouts. A lot of times, when we go to the restroom or somewhere in our home away from our cat, our cats will make a conscious effort to seek us out. Cats that like to do little drop-ins on their owner exhibit this behavior because they want to know that you are okay and they feel the need to show you this by checking in on you. Cats that watch their humans sleep is a great example of a cat that has imprinted on their human. They do this because they know you are vulnerable when you are sleeping, and they feel the desire to keep you safe and offer you a sense of protection.
They insist on rubbing against you often
Cats are territorial by nature, and they are also quick to claim something as theirs if they feel strongly about it. This can be anything from their favorite spot to sleep to their favorite person in their home. Cats have scent glands located on various parts of their body, and they know this. They will rub their body onto objects or people that they want to claim as theirs, and they do this so that others (especially other cats in your home) know that you are theirs. Cats that have imprinted on their human love to rub on them, but sometimes things can get a little worrisome when they do this while walking between our legs. Just know that they aren't doing it because they are plotting your death and hoping to collect on your life insurance policy. It's just one of the cat methods used to connect with those things they care about—which is you!
Did you learn anything new and interesting about our feline friends? Share this article with another cat lover in your life so that they can learn something, too.