To most cat owners, the mutual affection or ‘love bond’ between them and their kitty inspires a lot of delight, excitement, or contentment.
It is a pure thrill when you are playing or snuggling together as well as petting, grooming, giving snacks, or holding your cute kitty. To reciprocate your affection your kitty will often head butt you, purr, knead, give you slow blinks, tummy ups, love bites, bring you gifts, or twitch her tail.
However, sometimes, for one or the other reason, your kitty may be too demanding, clingy, or needy. This can be draining, annoying, or irritating especially when you have other daily chores to do.
Furthermore, it can ruin the good bond between you and your cat making you want to try ways to avoid her.
Signs of a clingy cat
A clingy or kitten cat is one that wants to be petted and held almost all the time, doesn’t want to be alone and cries a lot when she does not get the attention she needs.
Furthermore, such a kitty will often lick or groom its owner and he or she may also groom themselves excessively.
Unlike demanding cats, clingy ones usually, they manipulate you not by demanding what they want but being insecure and showing some weird behaviors.
The clinginess is more of a behavioral problem and not an emotional state since the latter often makes a cat to be needy. However, most needy cats tend to be clingy, but not all of them.
Some of the other things that may indicate clinginess include the following:
- Your cat staring at you all the time
- He or she will want to jump on you, be under your feet, rub you or want to have a physical contact all the time.
- She puts herself over anything else you are doing like jumping onto a table where you may have been reading and sitting on your book or a laptop you are using. She just won’t leave you alone.
- Refusing to eat normally when you are not around
- Following you everywhere including to your bed or bathroom. Be careful not to kick or step on her in such a case.
- When alone, yowls, scratches and or shows other destructive behavior.
- Defecating or urinating outside their litter boxes especially if its due to separation or anxiety.
- Hiding from strangers or being on your legs when someone is with you.
Why is my cat so clingy all over a sudden?
Cats, especially when they are in a group tend to be among the most independent pets. However, if you notice some of the signs of being clingy or needy, it means something is a miss.
You need to carefully investigate why this behavior has cropped up. This will help you come up with ways to manage it. Some of the reasons why cats become clingy include:
Your fluffy friend is used to seeing you around. However, after you return from a long vacation, she may begin running around you, meowing all the time, jumping onto you and so forth.
2. A conditioned response
If when your feline pal meows, you go an extra mile and give her attention or treats even when you were on something else. This can reinforce the needy and clingy behavior.
3. A new environment
When moved to a new place especially with new people, these pets will tend to be clingy to their owners. Encourage and give him or her time to adjust. All will soon be well again.
4. You have one of the affectionate or clingy cat breeds
When buying a cat, you need to know that different breeds have different behavior and temperaments. Some need more attention, affection, are cuddlier, etc., than others.
For instance, some of the most affectionate cat breeds which may be mistaken for being clingy include the following:
- Scottish Fold or Straight
- Oriental Shorthair or Siamese
- Kurilian Bobtail
However, there is not enough evidence these breeds tend to be clingier. They are only more affectionate. Sensitivity, temperament, and tolerance may be affected by upbringing and environment.
5. Separation and anxiety
If you notice a new cat with this behavior, it may be due to separation from their mother while they were too young.
It could also be due to separation or death of long term friend and so on that resulted in some sort of emotional trauma, depression, and insecurity that may make them be both reactive and clingy.
Weaning too early and removing them from their littermates while still too young can be another cause.
Depression increases illness chances and it must be managed as soon as it is noticed.
6. Is cat suddenly clingy? She may be unwell
Sometimes, when unwell, some cats become clingy all over a sudden. Pain, injury, illness, or any other problems may make a feline that always hides to want to stick around your legs, meow, or get your attention.
7. Feeling insecure
Being new, seeing a new person, animal, as well as a new odor or a noisy environment including thunderstorms, may frighten your feline friend and make them nervous. This will make her want to come close to you for protection and affirmation and thus appear to be clingy.
8. Other causes
Some may show these signs when nearing to give birth, has been adopted from a shelter or a change in their normal routine.
Older cats suddenly clingy
As these pets age, their vision and hearing ability deteriorates. This often makes them want to be close to their owner as they may not be able to see or hear so well to know what is going on around them.
Also, in early stages of cognitive dysfunction, elderly or geriatric cats have been noted to show clingy behaviors.
However, this does not happen to all old felines. Some may be less interactive, want to be alone and less friendly.
How to deal with clingy felines
Besides being obnoxious, this behavior can be detrimental since things like face-pawing may hurt your eyes, erode the love and affectionate mutual bond. Some kitties may not eat which is unhealthy.
As you look into the various ways to deal with clingy cats, you looking at some of the things you do that may be reinforcing this behavior and understand that this pet doesn’t know you got your own personal stuffy to do.
Things such as letting them jump on you without your permission, giving them what they want (treats, food, rubs), allowing them to go wherever they want and stopping what you were doing to give them attention my encourage this behavior.
They will find it as a kind of reward for their behavior. This will only serve to worsen things because felines are very smart, and they will soon know that whenever they show some ‘clingy’ behaviors they are rewarded.
Here are some advisable ways to deal with this behavioral problem:
1. Reinforce positive behavior
When your cat is showing clingy behaviors, distract her or him or her by stomping down your foot or clapping lightly, talking softly, giving an alternative place to jump to and so on.
If you are taking a shower and your kitty begins scratching your bathroom door, ignore her until you are done showering before you can give her attention.
Only reward your kitty when it has stopped the meowing, jumping on you, following you, scratching, or any other undesirable behavior.
Also, be patient even if your kitty annoys you so much. Never punish them or make them feel more insecure as this may worsen things. Don’t push them away, yell, lock them, and so on.
2. Break boredom
Enrich their lives with a variety of toys, things to explore such as cardboard boxes, scratching posts, cat videos, and be giving them small meals several times a day.
Also, a comfy cat bed, another cat, calming pheromone sprays, catnip, may help enrich, comfort and calm this pet.
3. Be consistent
Showing some consistent response can help reinforce positive behavior and help your kitty leave behind those needy-clingy behaviors.
4. Indulge them while still young
If you have kittens, make them independent, feel safe, secure and loved while still young. Encourage them to interact and be close to you to avoid them feeling needy when they grow.
5. Medical checkup
Consider a medical checkup if your cat so clingy all of a sudden. She could be in pain, have an injury, or some diseases and conditions. Your veterinary will conduct a proper diagnosis and determine whether these behavioral problems are as a result of an underlying medical condition.
A little history on your kitty such as when you adopted her (age), when the behavior began, among other questions may be helpful to your vet.
6. See an animal behavior therapist
Clinginess isn’t a behavior anyone will want to entertain. However, you need to understand that just like people tend to talk more than others some cats may meow often.
If cannot tolerate some behaviors and all the ways you have tried did not yield any fruits, consider talking to your cat behaviorist or behavior therapist to help deal with the various causes including anxiety.