Learn the reasons behind a cat being exceedingly clingy, what you can do to help abate this behavior, and things to consider when potentially embracing a clingy cat.
Do you have a Velcro cat?
Clingy cats are commonly called Velcro cats because they stick to owners like a Velcro. Whether this is positive will depend on different factors, including your perspective and the reason why your cat is clingy. To some cat owners, a cat that exhibits "dog-like" behaviors such as following the owner around at home, running to welcome them when they get back or being extra caring is considered clingy when compared to cats who are a lot more independent and aloof. However, some cats can be clingy to an unhealthy level. How can you determine this? Some examples are as follows:
Your cat is too clingy if:
- If it follows you throughout the house from room to room. If you find that your cat is a constant tripping danger, this is a sign of an unhealthy amount of clinginess.
- It meows incessantly to get your attention when you leave an area or close the door.
- It clutches on walls and doors to get your attention when you leave or close the door.
- It sulks or hides when you're preparing to leave or rubs against your legs to keep you from leaving.
- It is timid and sticks close to you when site visitors come home.
- They will not eat or drink unless you are with them.
Not to be confused with a demanding cat, a clingy cat is emotionally clingy because they do not have the confidence to be independent. On the other hand, a demanding cat will do anything to get your attention (meowing loudly, intentionally causing trouble, jumping on you, etc.) so they can get what they want. Simply put, a demanding cat gets what they want when they want it.
Why Are Some Cats Clingy?
Some cats are naturally clingy, with some pedigree cats like the Siamese and Abyssinian being known for having clingy personalities. But sometimes, excessive clinginess can indicate that something is up with your kitty; for that reason, it is essential to know what might be causing the clingy behavior. One or more of the following reasons might be behind your cat clinginess:
Your feline may be clingy simply because they are not getting enough mental and physical stimulation. An under-stimulated cat might consider doing bad behavior or clinginess as a way of telling you that they are bored. Remember, a healthy cat is a happy one. Playing with your cat and giving them interactive toys to help keep them happy and stimulated can help in these situations.
Premature Weaning and Separation Or Early Trauma
Kittens usually start moving from their mother's milk to eating solid food around eight weeks of age. However, adopting a kitten as soon as they're weaned can forestall them from learning crucial social skills from their siblings and mother that can help them feel more secure and be independent as adults. Kittens can also create separation anxiety from being weaned prematurely or extracted from their mothers and littermates before they are prepared.
Additionally, if your cat experienced a distressing experience early in life, this could hugely affect their behavior. Abandonment, as well as early or abrupt separation from the mother or littermates, can trigger anxiety in cats, making it difficult for them to be confident. A rescue from a violent home may also exhibit similar behavior.
Cats are very routine-oriented creatures, and any change in their regimens or environment can make them feel insecure and send them seeking you for confidence. Significant adjustments like relocating to a new home, the addition or loss of one more pet or family member, or children returning to college after a long absence can be enough to make your cat need the confidence of continuous attention.
Freshly rescued felines might likewise need a great deal of confidence that they're wanted and welcome in their new home.
Wanting to Offer Comfort
Felines are susceptible to the human state of mind and emotions. Maybe your cat detects that you're going through a tough time and intends to be there to comfort you and make sure you're alright.
Pregnancy In the Family
Some cats have an exceptional ability to sense when a female is pregnant and may become clingy throughout the maternity. Exactly how a cat can know that a baby is on the way is not known, but if you're anticipating, don't be surprised if your cat wishes to snuggle up to your infant bump!
New Household Members
Felines feel risk-free when their days go as anticipated, with routines and familiar faces. Presenting a brand-new relative to the family can throw your cat off, whether a human or pet. Such a modification can be complex for felines and will take a long time to adjust to the changing atmosphere.
There can be many root causes of stress and anxiety or anxiety-causing clingy habits. You might discover that your cat holds on to you or hides by your side when they feel scared or anxious. It might occur during thunderstorms, when unfamiliar individuals are about, or when pets/people who scare your cat are near. It can even be environment-related if the environment is unpleasant or strange. In any one of these instances, your cat may be looking to you for security in the face of insecurity. Keep in mind that when clingy behavior occurs, you can determine if a sure thing, individual, or pet is creating the actions.
Underlying Health Issues
Dementia in senior felines can also show various other illnesses. A neurological condition called cerebellar hypoplasia (CH) makes cats remarkably snuggly and attention-seeking. It's typically accompanied by balance issues and the absence of control.
While it can be wonderful to have a highly affectionate pet, some feline owners find that extremely clingy and needy behaviors can be disruptive. If this is the case, you'll need steps to help your feline be less clingy and a lot more independent. Generally, whenever your cat has a sudden change in behavior or routine, it's a great idea to consult your vet. Moreover, if your previously aloof cat has unexpectedly started presenting signs of clinginess, pay attention to other symptoms that can suggest health issues. A great vet can identify the issue or point you towards a Feline Behaviorist if your cat needs one.
How to Un-cling the Clingy Cat?
If your kitty's clinginess ends up being an issue, follow these steps to help them become more independent:
Know the reason. While it could be apparent, you might need to do some detective work. Keep in mind cats are very sensitive to changes that something as relatively minor as getting a new couch or rearranging the furniture can potentially cause distress.
Consult your vet. Schedule a check-up with your vet if you think health concerns could be behind the clinginess. They can also assist in finding out whether separation anxiety resulting from early weaning is the reason and help you find ways to treat it.
Establish borders and enforce them firmly. Shut the bathroom door behind you, do not succumb to every need for attention, and make your lap offered on your terms, not your cat's.
Make time for play. Supply toys to entertain your cat when you're doing something or away from home. Place a perch on a busy window so your cat can watch for birds and people. If this isn't possible, you can look online for videos for cats, which can help keep your feline entertained while you get other things done.
Consider adopting one more feline. While some cats thrive on being the only pet in the house, clingy cats can gain from having one more kitten around to keep them grounded. This works best for felines who become clingy after losing another pet in the home.
Adopting a Potentially Clingy Cat
If you're thinking about taking on a cat, take your time picking the appropriate one. Meticulously research any breed you're thinking about getting so you'll know what to expect. Be honest in your evaluation whether you have the time and energy for high maintenance and possibly clingy cat. If adopting from a shelter, pay several visits to the cat you're considering to see how they act around you as they get more acquainted with you. It can take a while for a cat's real personality to shine, so the more you can learn about a cat before bringing them home, the better. When embracing a kitten, ask the shelter team to keep the litter with their mom until three months old to give them time to be entirely weaned and socialized by their original cat family.
It's nice when your cat is affectionate and wants to be around you; however, so much of a good thing is also a problem. Taking steps to help your cat's excessive clinginess can help both of you to be happier and might even help your cat to be mentally healthier in the process.