You adopt a cat for your family, thinking that every family member will be able to bond with your new cat. But alas, your new cat only wants to spend time with your child and no one else. What is happening, and why is your cat doing this?
Cats will sometimes bond with only one person because they have difficulty trusting more than one person. That person might also have the right personality that your cat is drawn to, compared with other family members. Last, kittens bond faster to the one person who is around consistently.
Cats frequently bond with one person, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t like anyone else. Keep going to see how and why kittens attach to one person and if there is anything that can be done about it.
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Cats Have Difficulty Trusting People
Cats are empathic and pick up on people’s emotions, which might not always be a good thing for cats. For that reason, cats have a difficult time trusting people, and when they find someone they can respond to, they want to be only with that person. Kittens trust more easily and will latch on to a human quickly as compared with an adult rescue cat.
When a cat that’s had a rough life meets a gentle, patient, and loving person, the cat will eventually trust that person. They then feel that they don’t need to trust anyone else, regardless of how kind the other family members are.
Cats sometimes bond with only one person because it takes them so long to learn to trust others, and they give their love unconditionally to one person. They choose their person based on three factors: circumstances, the personality of the cat and the person, and the resources available.
Some Breeds Tend to Be One-Person Cats
One-person cats tend to be more prevalent among the Ocicats, Manx, Siamese, and the Turkish Angora breeds. While it’s not one specific trait that makes them that way, it does have more to do with the fact that these breeds thrive on specific one-on-one interaction with a person while ignoring all others. These breeds are not the only cats who will attach to one person, but they are more likely to develop that bond with one person.
Cats of all breeds have a high need for closeness and affection with one person. Because of that need, they have a large potential to have a deep bond with one or two people. But they can also give their gift of affection to other people.
Common domestic short-hair cats also attach themselves to one person when given the same set of circumstances. However, some breeds are more apt to bond completely with one person over other breeds. But all cat breeds can potentially bond with one person if they feel threatened or insecure with other people.
Early Bonding Helps Kitten Attach to Humans Better
Kittens are naturally trusting, and when they are rehomed before six months of age, they attach themselves easier to humans than if they were older. Regular handling and socialization of kittens can help cats learn how to trust humans more, helping a cat to bond with more humans over time.
A well-adjusted cat that bonds with all the family members will have received handling from various people while still being with its mother. Because a kitten views its mother as a security source, being handled by humans will not stress it out, and it will be used to trusting humans.
As soon as a kitten can leave its mother to go to its new home around 10-12 weeks of age, it will bond better with the entire family rather than just one person. Socialization is the key to creating a well-rounded cat who bonds with more than one person. Although, it isn’t necessarily a negative thing that cats bond with one person.
When a kitten is not socialized with many humans before leaving its mother, it will find that one person who means safety and security and will bond only with that one person. They won’t ignore the other family members, but they also won’t be “normal” around other people. They won’t be as chatty or playful until their person comes back home.
The Character and Personality of the Cat Matches That of the Human
While some cats love every family member equally due to the cat’s personality, most cats need to bond with one person. The personality of the cat usually matches the personality of the person they’ve bonded with. A cat with a calm personality will usually bond well with a human with a calm personality.
But an anxious cat will not bond well with an anxious human, as it will be too fearful of the human. Instead, a calm person will win over the anxious cat because of the gentleness and patience they need.
Cats sometimes need the opposite personality than what they are themselves. A cat might have come from a violent home or been a rescue cat. In this instance, the cat will bond to a fairly gentle and patient person. A high-energy cat will bond with someone who has a lot of time and energy to devote to a cat.
A woman once adopted a new kitten into her home where her three children lived along with an older cat. The kitten tried making friends with the older cat, but the cat wanted nothing to do with this young upstart. But the kitten was separated from her mama too early and was rather skittish. The woman’s son kept picking on the kitten, which made her scared.
So one day, while the kids were at school, the woman put the kitten in her large over-sized sweatshirt pocket, and the kitten fell asleep. They would walk around the house like that all the time, and the kitten bonded with the woman very quickly after that.
To this day, the cat and the woman are best friends. The cat and the woman have similar personalities and look out for each other.
Their Person Devotes a Lot of Time and Energy to the Relationship
One way to develop a close bond with your cat is to spend time with it from the beginning. Feed your cat, play with your cat, and clean the litter box. Cuddle with your cat when your cat is ready to do so.
When you spend time and energy into caring for your cat, that creates a level of safety and security for your cat. As it begins to trust you, your new cat will start trusting you and bonding with you. You might become your cat’s next best friend in the exclusion of all others. When you’re gone to work, your cat will be the one to cry for you or sit by the door until you return.
Cats will bond with only one person when they feel like they can trust that person. It doesn’t mean that other family members are left out of the cat’s affections or that other people can’t show the cat love. It just means that the cat will gravitate towards that one person.
Some cats love everyone in the family equally. These cats might be the “well-adjusted” cats that had a lot of socialization as kittens, were not separated from their moms too soon, and had a good and gentle start in life. They don’t need to cry for their favorite person because they feel secure with all family members.
- Petful: Why Some Cats Attach to Only One Person
- The Dog People: How Do Cats Choose Their Favorite Person?
- Cat Checkup: Playing Favorites: Why Do Cats Get Attached to One Person?
- The Way of Cats: One Person Cats
- Animal Wised: Why Do Cats Like One Person More Than Another?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.