We can all agree that receiving affection from our cats is rarely a bad thing. However, if your cat is suddenly affectionate, you may be a bit suspicious as to why your cat suddenly won’t leave your side.
Any little change in our cat’s behavior can signal an underlying cause, so there may be some reason for your suspicion.
Luckily, cats are rarely extra-affectionate for a bad reason. Usually, hormones or aging are to blame. Cats change their behaviors as they age, just like us. Therefore, it is sometimes considered rather normal for cats to become affectionate over time. However, stress and illnesses can cause affection, too.
To help you figure out the cause behind your cat’s affection, we’ve listed some of the most common causes for increased affection below.
How Much Affection is Too Much?
There is no amount of affection that is too much. It all depends on your cat. Some cats are very affectionate, while others are not. Your cat’s overall friendliness and demeanor will play a large role in this. However, their energy level can also affect their affection level. If your cat is typically running around and doesn’t sit still for long, then they probably won’t have much time to be affectionate.
Therefore, you should take a look at your cat’s current affection level against their usual level of affection. If your cat only shows you a little bit of attention, you may want to be suspicious if they suddenly won’t leave you alone.
No matter how much attention your cat typically shows you, here are some reasons their affection level may increase:
The 4 Reasons a Cat is Suddenly Affectionate
Older cats tend to become more affectionate for a few different reasons. Firstly, they often slow down and stop being as active. Therefore, they may simply have more time to cuddle and follow you around the house.
Cats can also lose some independence as they age. This isn’t true for all cats. However, dementia can affect older cats and may limit their ability to be independent. Therefore, your cat may feel more stressed when left alone or feel a need to be closer to you.
Furthermore, older cats may have limited eyesight and hearing. Therefore, they may not be able to locate you from across the house as they could in their youth. To prevent getting separated, they may need to stick closer to you, which can make it seem like they’re a bit clingy.
With that said, several health conditions can lead to clinginess. Older cats are prone to some of these problems so we do recommend visiting the vet if your cat is suddenly clingy.
Just like humans, cats have many different hormones that fluctuate. While both males and females will experience changes in their hormones, females tend to have more ups and downs than males. For instance, female cats often get more affectionate and clingier when they go into heat, which signals that they are ready to breed.
There are several other signs that your cat is in heat, as well. Many cats will become more vocal and begin rubbing their face on everything—a way to mark that they’re “open for business” to passing males.
If your cat is in heat, you should prevent her from interacting with male cats. Of course, don’t let her outside. Males may also try to get in the house, as they can smell an in-heat female from very far away.
Pregnancy can also make females more affectionate. Once again, hormonal changes are to blame for this sudden change. Usually, cats will stay affectionate throughout their pregnancy—and sometimes even afterward. However, hormones and their effect on our cats vary, so there is no way to know for sure.
3. Anxiety & Stress
Anxiety can have varying effects on our cats. Some cats simply want to hide and never be seen again. However, other cats can become extremely clingy. Sometimes, cats view us as their “security blanket”. Therefore, as a way to deal with stress, they may simply refuse to leave our side.
Cats can become stressed for an array of different reasons. Very minor changes that we hardly notice can affect our cats in major ways. For instance, if your neighbor adopts a new outside cat, your completely indoor cat may become stressed, especially if they can see the cat commonly through a window.
Small changes in schedules, furniture rearranging, new animals, weather changes, and loud sounds can all stress out our cats. If you start getting home 30 minutes later than normal, your cat will notice and may display behavioral changes.
Of course, larger events like bringing home a baby or moving can also have an effect on our cat. However, how much stress a particular event will bring varies from cat to cat.
Usually, you simply have to wait out these changes. If your cat is experiencing major stress, you can treat them with supplements or medication if your vet feels it is necessary. If you know a particular event stresses your cat out, you may be able to medicate beforehand to prevent serious stress from occurring. Pheromone diffusers, calming supplements, and similar over-the-counter treatments are also available.
Typically, an ill cat does not become more affectionate. Instead, a cat’s usual instinct when sick or in pain is to hide. In the wild, a sick cat was a prime target for predators. Therefore, they evolved to be very good at hiding their symptoms. Often, this involves hiding and staying out of others’ way.
However, there are some conditions that may lead to your cat becoming needy or affectionate. For instance, dementia and other brain-related illnesses may cause clinginess. Your cat may be unable to find their way around the house, so they may simply follow you around.
Eye-affecting diseases can also affect your cat’s clinginess. If your cat can’t see things as well, they may cling to you for some comfort and security.
Cats can become clingy for many different reasons but usually, these reasons are benign. Your cat may experience hormonal differences if they are not spayed or neutered. These can lead to shifts in behavior temporarily, including increased affection. Females are more prone to this than males, as they experience more hormonal fluctuations.
Older cats may also become more affectionate. They may have minor dementia or eye problems, which can lead to increased clinginess. Furthermore, these cats are less active, so they tend to have more time to cuddle.
Stressed and injured cats may become clingy, as well, though this isn’t very common. Usually, these cats experience the opposite. However, certain cats respond to stress differently and may become clingy instead of hiding.
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