Fatter dividend checks have a funny way of making income investors smile. They're also a great indication that you have bought into a strong stock. After all, would an uncertain company be willing to declare even larger distributions to its shareholders? That's why higher yields have a funny way of drawing attention. Truth be told, the attention is often well-earned.

Let's take a closer look at four of the companies that moved their payouts higher this past week.

Kraft Foods (NYSE:KFT) is giving its shareholders a bigger slice of the cheese: Next month's dividend will go from $0.205 a share to $0.23 a share. There was a time when the only way to buy into the shelf-steady foodstuffs maker was through tobacco juggernaut Altria (NYSE:MO), but you can now buy Kraft without worrying about tobacco litigation. Altria's still looking to unload the rest of its stake in the food giant.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD) also beefed up its yield. Shareowners can now expect their quarterly dividends to climb from $0.40 per share to a heartier $0.42. The dividend hike shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Earlier this year, TD agreed to sell its TD Waterhouse discount brokerage business to Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD). Consolidation in the brokerage industry has been fierce, and the move frees TD to focus on its flagship banking business.

LSI Industries (NASDAQ:LYTS) is another generous hiker. True to its ticker-symbol phonetics, LSI makes light fixtures. The company brightened shareholders' day by raising its dividend from a dime to a full $0.12 per share and announcing a one-time $0.10-per-share distribution. LSI had plenty of leeway in making the move, with its fiscal fourth-quarter profits more than tripling. The company has increased its payout 13 times since initiating a dividend policy in 1989.

Westlake Chemical's (NYSE:WLK) dividend hike may not seem like much. Going from $0.02125 to $0.0275 per share may seem like splitting fractions of a penny. However, it's actually a nearly 30% quarterly distribution hike for the petrochemicals and PVC specialist. Earlier this month, the company delivered bottom-line growth of 41%, with revenues rising by a hearty 29%.

Subscribers to our Income Investor newsletter can appreciate companies that are sending more and more money to their investors. Analyst Mathew Emmert has often singled out companies that are committed to growing their distributions.

Want to see what Mathew's liking these days? Go ahead and give his newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.