I have experienced both bonds- my heart kitty that I've always been tightly attached to, and her to me, from the moment we met (my Nefertiti); and the bond that took a while to grow from both sides (my miss Mona).
Nefertiti was brought to me by a friend (I'd never had a cat before). She was under a year old, and had been found on the side of the road and then dumped at a wildlife rehabilitation center because she was "deformed" (she's a little knock-knee'd in the back
). She is my constant companion (she's laying on my lap between me and the computer this very moment). She's with me when I'm sick, sits in the window to say goodbye to me when I leave in the morning, meets me meowing at the door when I come home at night, sleeps with me under the covers, purrs and kneads me constantly, etc. My life would be no where near as full as it is without her here- she's been with me for two and a half years.
Mona has been with me for almost a year and a half. She is now a bit over five years old. She's technically not my cat yet- I foster her for a no-kill rescue. I HATED Mona when I started fostering her. Seriously. She was mean, destructive, anti-social, etc. She hated me because I had to catch her every day to treat her chin for feline acne. She wanted nothing to do with me, nothing to do with any other animal, nothing to do with anyone. She had no "manners" when it came to living in a house. It took six months for her to semi-settle in to life at my house and begin seeking out affection. It took eight months for her to begin sleeping in bed with me and Nefertiti, and laying in my lap. It was a whole year before I started seeing the real cat within Mona- the playful, happy, relaxed, affectionate, social cat that was just waiting for the right person to bring it out of her. Just within the last few weeks she (the cat that the rescue labeled as "Must Not Live With Other Cats") began playing with my cat and my mother's cat. Who knows how much further out of her own shell she'll come in the next months/years.
No one was willing to invest as much time and energy into her as I did. The rescue had no one else willing to foster her. She'll be adopted by me in the coming months so that she never has to be shuffled around from foster to foster or back to the shelter again.
I will say that my bond with her is not as strong as the one I have with Nefertiti. That may change though as time goes by.
Be the Bringer of Good Things for your cat, with treats, yummy canned foods, and the best and most fun toys that they enjoy. That helps form a bond. With Mona, I found letting her come to me when she decided she wanted affection was the most effective way to make us closer. The more she realized I wasn't going to force anything on her, the more she wanted to come to me for affection and lovings.
(And of course there's my new "permanent foster" Aiden, who I think anyone would love the instant they met him- you can't not love him!!)