Have you been noticing your cat being more attached to you than usual? The possibility is your cat might be turning clingy. When comparing cats and dogs, the former is generally deemed an independent, low-maintenance pet with little to no tendency to cling to its owner. Despite their distant nature, cats are loving animals. However, highly affectionate cats can sometimes be overwhelming for the owner. The first step is to recognize whether your cat is being affectionate, clingy, or demanding.
Is Your Cat Actually Clingy?
You must determine whether your cat is clingy or not correctly. Keep in mind that some breeds of cats, such as the Siamese, Phynx, Persian, etc., are well known for being clingy. If you observe your kitty developing the following habits, it might be a cause for concern:
- Tends to rub against you, scratches or kneads you frequently.
- Demands to be petted frequently.
- Keep following you around everywhere you go.
- Gives exaggerated reactions like meowing loudly or scratching around if it is not allowed to follow you.
- Sits on objects you are using.
- Refuses to eat or drink if you are not around it.
- Stops you from leaving the house.
- Stay glued to your legs and feet, especially when you have guests around.
A clingy cat is very different from a demanding cat. The former is emotionally needy and fears independence, while the latter manipulates to grab your attention by causing trouble.
Reasons Behind Your Cat’s Clingy Behavior
There are several reasons behind your cat’s clingy nature, such as:
– New Environment Or Family Members
Cats are routine-oriented animals. They expect their day to go about as planned without uncertainties or adventures. If you have relocated, renovated, or introduced another family member (pet or human), it can likely disrupt your pet’s routine.
Sometimes, even small changes such as moving the cat’s litter box may trigger changes in them. Luckily, this case is the easiest to recognize and manage. Make sure not to change your cat’s environment too often for it to remain comfortable.
Cats require physical and mental stimulation. They need to exercise and have interactive toys to keep in touch with their hunting behavior and stay occupied. If your cat has been lazing all day at home and instantly becomes lively when you arrive, it is probably because it was bored all day and hopes to play with you. You might see this as clingy behavior, but it is natural.
– Insecurity and Nervousness
Your cat sees you as their haven. If there have been any changes in its environment, it causes your cat to become insecure or nervous. These changes could be physical objects around the house or your kids going to school after a long vacation. Such changes can cause the cat to turn to you to seek familiar comfort.
– Lack of Confidence
A cat is independent and introverted due to the confidence it has. This allows it to stay alone for long periods and entertain itself. If you find your cat trying too hard to remain by your side, lack of confidence might be the cause.
– Anxiety or Stress
There can be many factors that can trigger anxiety or stress in your cat. These triggers may include rainfall, thunderstorms, loud noises, encountering new people or animals that scare them. Such things can make your cat anxious or stressed, and as a result, it tries to cling to you. If such moments happen infrequently, you can recognize the triggering factor by isolating the events.
If your cat experienced a traumatic event in early life, it can leave an emotional scar and cause it to cling to you for safety and comfort. The cat may have been abandoned by or separated from its mother or siblings, inducing separation anxiety or other emotional issues in it.
A cat’s detachment from its mother also causes it to stop weaning early and develop anxiety or separation issues. It is also possible that the cat previously belonged to an abusive household, causing it to become scared and cling to you a lot.
A cat’s changing behavior may be a sign of some underlying illness. If you notice something wrong, whether physical or behavioral, taking your cat to the vet is a good idea. Your vet will diagnose the underlying cause and suggest appropriate treatments to make your cat healthy and happy again.
Is it normal for my cat to be clingy?
It is normal for your cat to be clingy if it is just being affectionate. If the cat goes about its regular routine, it is just affectionate. This affectionate behavior may be a consequence of hormonal changes, lack of attention, or aging.
However, if your cat seems to be exhibiting unusual activities (hiding in the closet, defecating/urinating outside its litter box, changes in sleep pattern or appetite), leading it to be unusually attached to you, there may be something wrong. Determine the cause and consult a vet immediately in this case.
What should I do to make my cat less clingy?
To make your cat less clingy, there are several measures you can take:
- Take your cat to the vet for a possible diagnosis of an existing illness.
- Set boundaries between you and your cat by rewarding it for good behavior with affection. It will cause your cat to tone down its clingy habits.
- If you have already spent significant time with your cat, and it is still clinging, distance yourself from your pet.
- Get interactive feline toys to encourage independent behavior. Ensure that it spends time alone with these toys.
- Make sure you gradually distance yourself from your cat to make the process less stressful. You need to be kind and patient.
How much will it cost me to get my cat treated for separation anxiety?
The total cost for treating separation anxiety depends on the duration and the medicines needed for the treatment. If your vet diagnoses your cat with separation anxiety, they may direct you to a cat therapist. Such a professional will cost you around $500, give or take.
Cats can exhibit clingy behavior in a variety of ways for different reasons. However, it is in your cat’s best interest to get it checked by a veterinarian to rule out any possible underlying medical or behavioral cause. We hope this article assists you in recognizing whether your cat is clingy or demanding attention.
Hi, Dr. Louise Cosgrove from Queensland, Australia. A veterinarian for 10+ years. I and my husband Jason Gray running a veterinary business at eevs.com.au. decided to create a blog about cats. I wanted to create a – what you can call a cat-o-pedia for people who don’t have a veterinary partner and often need to rely on the internet for quick and useful information about cats.