We have observed this effect in ourselves, mainly with our own cats because they actively seek us out and mew a lot to us.
Yesterday, we went for a short walk. At a street corner, we heard a little bell -- turns out there was a little cat taking a walk as well. She had a bell on her collar, so she belonged somewhere. I stood still, called "kitty!" and the cat came to me. I petted her a bit, she pussed around me, purring. And then we went on, but the cat followed us to the edge of her territory, still purring.
I think it's my animal magnetism. Or maybe I need to shower more often.