Many pet owners are very aware of their cat’s schedule and behavior. Cats are creatures of habit and like to establish some form of routine in their day to day business.
They know when it is time to eat, poo, sleep, piss and play.
Almost like clockwork.
But what if you have recently noticed that your cat has been behaving rather out of sorts lately? It has been more clingy all of a sudden which isn’t quite like your cat’s normal behavior.
What could be the possible explanations for such an abrupt change in your cat?
Why Is My Cat So Attached To Me Lately?
Cats are innately aloof and independent creatures. Kittens are weaned off their mother’s milk after a few months and are expected to start hunting for their own food.
Furthermore, cats aren’t pack animals like dogs or wolves hence they spend most of their lives as solitary animals.
So to have an overly affectionate cat all of a sudden can be rather confusing for pet parents.
Don’t get me wrong, I for one love a clingy cat.
But if clingy behavior isn’t part of my cat’s repertoire, then something might not be right with the cat.
Obvious Signs That You Have A Clingy Cat
Here are some behavioral symptoms that your needy cat might be exhibiting:
- Following you all over the house
- Wanting to lie on top of you all the time
- Meowing or yowling loudly for your attention
- Not using its litter box properly
- Waking you up at night when you’re sleeping
It’s easy to just brush off this needy behavior as a phase but let’s discuss the potential problems that your cat could be facing.
Taken Too Early From Its Litter
If you have recently adopted a new kitten, the poor little cat might be overly affectionate as it was taken away from its mother too soon.
Kittens younger than 12 weeks old should not be separated from their littermates and mother. This is a very important phase of its life as the most developed in its personality and body occurs during this period.
Young cats learn a lot of cat stuff from their mothers. This includes social interactions and learning how to use the litter box properly.
Kittens will also learn how to play, hunt and socialize through daily interactions with their siblings.
The lack of such behavioral conditioning can cause your cat to be insecure and fearful when brought to a new environment.
This can cause your little furry friend to display rather needy behavior when it should be curious and playful instead.
Lack Of Attention
Many pet parents seem to think that cats don’t need attention and can be left alone for long periods of time.
This isn’t true at all.
Cats still require adequate attention from their owners even with their innate independent streak. A good benchmark would be about 30 minutes of quality interaction with your cat daily.
This can be in the form of grooming, playtime, training or even taking a nap together.
If you have been ignoring your kitty due to work or other personal commitments, don’t be surprised when your cat develops separation anxiety and starts being a ‘suddenly clingy’ kitty.
Your Cat Is Bored
Yes, I understand that our feline friends sleep up to 20 hours a day. But that doesn’t mean that they should not be mentally and physically stimulated during their waking hours.
Chances are there will be times when you aren’t around when your kitty is awake. What you can do as a good substitute is to get a few interesting and interactive toys for your cat.
If your cat is motivated by food, get a toy that requires your chonky cat to interact with it before it dispenses cat treats.
If your cat is one that loves jumping up on high ledges like Bengals and Siberians, get a tall cat tree that your cat can climb and scratch when it’s awake. Some cat owners even install an elevated obstacle course for their cats.
How awesome is that!
The goal here is to make your cat’s environment an exciting one that can keep it busy. Otherwise, your kitty can start to develop separation anxiety out of boredom and depend solely on you for its entertainment.
Change In Environment
Cats are not the most adaptable of creatures and can take some time for them to adjust to changes. If you have recently shifted to a new house, your cat’s clingy behavior could be due to this.
Cats mark their territory and surroundings with their scent by rubbing their faces or peeing on walls and objects. Being in an environment that has its scent calms them down. Your new home won’t have any of that thus your cat won’t be feeling very comfortable.
An addition of a new pet or family member can only throw your cat off its balance so to speak. There will be new smells to get used to as well as getting to know the new pet or person.
All of these changes can make your cat feel insecure and exhibit attention-seeking behavior towards you.
You Are Pregnant
If you have recently found out that you are pregnant, it could be causing your cat to be more clingy with you. It has been said that some cats tend to get clingy with their pregnant owners.
Cats have very sensitive hearing and smell which allows them to pick up changes in your body chemistry and the heartbeat of your feteus.
Older Cat Suddenly Being Clingy
As we age, our senses tend to become duller and not as sensitive as before compared to our younger years.
Cats depend mostly on their senses to move around and hunt. Older cats might experience cognitive dysfunction due to poorer eyesight or hearing which can affect their balance and coordination.
This can cause senior cats to feel fearful and insecure thus having a heavier dependence on us to be their guide.
A young cat that is born with congenital defects that affect its senses can also become an overly clingy cat towards you.
A Pregnant Cat
If your cat is expecting, there is a high chance that she will display signs of neediness towards you. Pregnant cats tend to be more affectionate and clingy due to the hormonal changes that’s making them more loving and motherly.
Furthermore, pregnancy is also a rather stressful period for them thus they are turning to you for emotional support.
During such times, it would be best for the cat owner to be more accepting of the cat’s behavior and give it all the love and support that the queen needs.
Your Cat Might Be Sick
When a cat is sick, it usually goes into hiding and prefers to avoid you. However, not all cats behave the same way and yours might actually prefer more attention from you due to an underlying medical problem.
When you notice your furkid starting to get more needy and clingy with you, it would be good to give it a proper physical check to make sure there are no visible injuries on its body or paws.
What Is Considered Normal Feline ‘Neediness’?
Given that most cats only need a good 30 mins of your time daily, it won’t be hard to tell if your cat isn’t its usual self.
There are a couple of times in the day when you can expect your cat to be more affectionate or clingy. This usually happens in the morning when it’s hungry, when you’re back from work from missing you the whole day and when your cat knows it is playtime.
Make sure to give your cat your undivided attention during these periods to develop and maintain a strong bond.
What Cat Breeds Require More Attention?
All cat breeds demand a certain level of daily attention from its owner. However, they are some cat breeds that are widely known in the cat community to be very needy.
This cat came to be popular after appearing in the movie ‘Austin Powers’ as the pet of the villain, Dr Evil.
It is hard to not notice that cat because it is bald.
Yes, the cat comes with no cat fur at all. This means that a Sphynx is unable to regulate its body temperature and will always be seeking out its owner for warmth.
The Siamese cat is a popular breed that is almost dog-like. They like following their owners around and engaging in long heartfelt conversations.
Siamese cats need constant attention and don’t like being left alone at home for hours. Some pet owners might find such neediness too much to bear.
The Siamese is definitely not the breed for you if you prefer more independent cats.
Ragdolls are like the pandas of cat breeds. They are super relaxed and love to spend the day just hanging out with their owners.
This breed gets its name from going limp when you carry it.
These feline companions are highly dependent on their owners and require quite a lot of attention and affection.
Can You Train Your Cat To Be Less Clingy?
It is possible but it can be a very challenging process.
Firstly, you will need to ascertain what is causing your cat to be so clingy. If it is due to reasons like separation anxiety or boredom then using toys or spending more time with your cat will reduce such behaviors.
However, if your cat’s sudden neediness stems from your cat being pregnant or old, then why should you want to change that when your cat needs you more than ever now.
Training should be considered if your cat’s clinginess is caused purely by behavioral factors and it’s causing damage to your belongings like unwanted scratching or pooping/peeing on your bed or sofa.
On the other hand, if your cat is suddenly not affectionate anymore that can be problematic too.
The best way to train the cat is to be firm and assertive when it starts displaying more than usual neediness. You can firmly tell your cat ‘no’ or carry it to its play area. This is called redirection whereby you are redirecting your cat’s attention away from the bad and to the desired outcome.
Remember to give your cat praises and some treats if it does what you want. Positive reinforcements work so much better than scolding your cat.
Having a cat at home is more than just having a furry ornament (or a furless one if you have a Sphynx). They are part of your family and need a good amount of quality time and commitment from you.
If you are exploring the idea of getting a cat, make sure to get a breed that suits your personal schedule.