Tell someone that you have a clingy cat and they might look at you in disbelief. Truth be told, there are clingy cats out there but most cats are known for their independent nature and treasure their ‘me’ time.
But what if your aloof companion has suddenly become a lot more affectionate and clingy?
Sudden clinginess in cats can be attributed to factors such as changes in their environment, health issues, or emotional needs. Understanding and addressing these underlying causes can help your cat regain its balance and provide the support it needs during this clingy phase.
In this comprehensive guide, we will unravel the secrets behind your cat’s sudden need for closeness and what you should be doing about it.
Obvious Signs That You Have A Clingy Cat
Every cat owner will have their own definition of what being clingy is.
But you should be able to tell the difference between a cat that just wants such affection compared to a clingy feline.
Here are some notable clingy behaviors to look out for:
- 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.
Your Cat Has Not Been Properly Weaned
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 development 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.
You Cat Wants More 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.
For cats that love 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 indoor 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.
Your Cat Is Anxious
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 their 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 toward you.
Your Cat Has PTSD
Just like humans, cats can also experience PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.
This can be caused by:
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Involved in accidents
- Experiencing natural disasters
If you adopted your cat without much knowledge about its past, it might have a history of trauma.
It may exhibit clingy behavior as a way of seeking comfort and security.
Seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist experienced in treating feline PTSD can also be beneficial in helping your cat overcome its trauma.
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 fetus.
Your cat’s curiosity about the happenings in your belly is making it a lot more clingy to you now.
No one has a guard cat at home but cats can also be protective of their owners.
Your cat is following you around the house and keeping a watchful eye on your well-being and guarding the unborn baby.
Your Cat Is Getting Older
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 acute senses to move around and hunt.
Older cats (10 years and above) 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.
Your Cat Is Pregnant
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 are making them more loving and motherly.
Pregnancy is also a rather stressful period for cats 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.
Not all cats behave the same way and yours might actually prefer more attention from you due to an underlying medical problem.
A young cat that has special needs can also exhibit a certain degree of clingy behavior.
But kittens are very adaptable and can learn to live with their disabilities.
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.
Your Cat Is Feeling Cold
Cats have a higher resting body temperature than us which means that cats need more heat to stay warm.
If you are currently experiencing a cold spell in your area, your cat has started becoming more clingy with you to try and keep warm.
You can help your car stay warm and toasty by:
- Turning up the heat at home
- Giving your cat more blankets to snuggle in
- Get an electric heated cat bed
It is important to ensure that your cat stays warm when it is cold to prevent it from feeling too cold and suffering from hypothermia.
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.
If your cat’s sudden clinginess is due to pregnancy or old age, it’s important to embrace and accommodate their increased need for attention and support during this time.
Instead of trying to change or discourage its behavior, recognize that your cat needs you more than ever and be there for them with love and care.
Training should be considered if your cat’s clinginess is caused by behavioral factors and it’s affecting your cat’s well being
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 lots of praise and some treats if it does what you want.
Positive reinforcements work so much better than scolding your cat.
Iggy Thorne, also known as ‘Iggy the Explorer,’ is a seasoned writer with a flair for adventure and a deep love for animals.
Not only does he craft captivating stories often set in the great outdoors, but he’s also a dedicated pet owner who has owned and fostered both dogs and cats.
His expertise in animal care extends to volunteering at local shelters, making him a credible voice in pet ownership.
With a unique blend of humor and adventure, Iggy’s writing is as engaging as it is informative.