Cats, like people, play favorites. They're not afraid to make their opinions known, and they're also not afraid to hurt feelings. One of the most common questions our vets get from cat owners, then, is some version of, "Why does my cat like my husband/wife/son/dentist more than she likes me?!" Cats choose their favorite person based on a variety of factors. Here's what to know.
CATS PLAY FAVORITES...BUT THEY STILL LOVE YOU
There's a pervasive myth out there that cats are somehow cold or uncaring animals. They're not. They're as capable as love and affection as anyone (looking at you, dogs!) but they generally don't wear their emotions on their proverbial sleeves. If you're not your cat's favorite, don't fret. It doesn't mean she doesn't love you - she still appreciates how well you take care of her and might even suffer from separation anxiety when you're not around.
HOW DO CATS PICK A FAVORITE PERSON?
Well, that's kind of a loaded question. How do you pick your favorite people? Is it who you think is the most fun to be around or the people who are nicest to you? Maybe it's people who challenge you or people who have great style? Cats' favoritism is just as unpredictable and individual. Your cat's favorite person might simply be the human who plays with her the most. It could be the human that feeds her most often, or it could be someone strong and stoic who puts off a "secure" vibe. Remember that deep down, cats are animals. They're attracted to people they know will keep them safe and well-cared for. At the end of the day, some cats choose favorites based on totally arbitrary criteria, like who has the best smell. Your cat might simply like women better than men, adults better than kids, or people who wear yellow better than those who wear black. Cats are one of life's great mysteries.
HOW CAN YOU BECOME YOUR CAT'S FAVORITE?
Honestly, it's not a worthwhile goal! As long as you and your cat enjoy being around one another, it's probably best to accept the fact that she's got a soft spot for someone else. Feline love is not a zero-sum game. What you shouldn't do is try to smother your cat with affection. Giving cats heaps of attention without their permission is a terrible idea. The more you dote on a cat, the more suspicious it's likely to become of you. Earn more of your cat's trust and patience over time by doling out treats, inviting (but not demanding!) her to play, and generally just being cool, man.
DOES MY CAT LOVE ME?
Yeah, probably! Every cat shows its affection differently. Some cats will make their feelings clear by snuggling on your lap or winding their way around your legs. Others might keep their distance, but be full of love nonetheless. If you're taking good care of your cat, you can rest assured she feels fondly for you. You should really only worry about your cat's "coldness" to you if it's something new. If she's suddenly started hiding when you come in the room, for example, or urinating outside of her litter box while giving you a steely-eyed stare, there might be something amiss. If your cat's not behaving like herself, it's a good idea to call your vet to make sure there's nothing wrong.