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Why Is My Cat So Clingy? 5 Potential Reasons for This Behavior

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ, Veterinarian

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are often praised for being incredibly low maintenance pets. Besides feeding them their meals, cats practically do everything on their own, including bathing, going to the bathroom, and relaxing. Despite the normalcy of cats being independent, there are times when they can become overly needy.

In most cases, an overly clingy cat is a sign that something is wrong, but the exact issue will differ from cat to cat. This article will look at potential reasons why your cat is so clingy and some things you can do to reduce your cat’s clinginess. Let us get started.

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Cat Clinginess Explained

Cats certainly like their owners and become attached to humans. Nevertheless, cats are not particularly clingy in how dogs or other pets are. Whenever a cat becomes more clingy than usual, or their clinginess disrupts your everyday life, you may have an issue.

Cat clinginess is often explained due to a health problem, anxiety issue, or new situation in the household. All of these potential reasons can be reduced with attentive care and action.

cat sleeping on a woman's lap_Shutterstock_Alena Ozerova
Image Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock

Signs Your Cat Is Clingy

If you are a new cat owner, it can be challenging to know the difference between a typical cat and a clingy one. Here are some common signs of an overly clingy cat:

  • The cat follows you everywhere.
  • The cat meows loudly or scratches when they are not allowed to follow you.
  • The cat always rubs against you.
  • The cat sits on objects while you are using them.
  • The cat will not eat or drink without you being present.

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5 Reasons Why Your Cat Is So Clingy

Above, we mentioned the most common reasons for a cat’s clingy behavior. Let us look at the five most common reasons in more detail.

1. Separation Anxiety

cat rubs face on human leg
Image Credit: Milana, Shutterstock

A cat can become overly clingy because they have separation anxiety or some other issue relating to nervousness. Although cats do not tend to experience separation anxiety as severely as other pets, more sensitive cats can certainly have separation anxiety that manifests through clinginess.

The easiest way to prevent separation anxiety in cats is to pander to them when they are young. Cats that get separation anxiety tend to feel insecure or unsafe during their earlier days. To contact your cat frequently will do a lot to prevent this issue from coming up.

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2. Health Problems

cat rubbing face on man's leg
Image Credit: AlenaBalotnik, Shutterstock

Many cats will go to great lengths to hide that they are injured or sick in any way, but not all domesticated cats do this. In contrast, some cats will do the opposite. They will become clingy because they are looking for safety and help in you.

If your cat is clingy due to health problems, you will likely find other symptoms of the illness. Weight loss, lack of appetite, lethargy or seizures are all common side effects associated with health problems in cats. Look for these symptoms to see if the clinginess is caused by an issue in the cat’s health.

Old cats will especially become clingy as they start to experience cognitive dysfunction. Cognitive dysfunction is whenever the cat starts losing its sight, hearing, coordination, and other abilities. They become clingy for your guidance.

Not all clinginess is a sign of a negative health problem. Some female cats will become clingy when they first become pregnant. Regardless of whether you think a negative health problem or pregnancy causes the clinginess, take your cat to a veterinarian ASAP to get to the bottom of the issue.

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3. Stress

A man hand strokes a cat on a sore stomach
Image Credit: Zhuravlev Andrey, Shutterstock

Cats like sticking to your routines. If you have a change that causes stress in their home, they may become clingy to get back some of that normalcy. If a new visitor comes into the home, there is a storm outside, or fireworks going off, your cat may become clingy for your protection.

The easiest way to determine if stress is the cause of your cat’s clinginess is to pay attention to when they are clingy. If their clinginess is infrequent and random, it is likely because of a common stressful occurrence in your home.

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4. New Family Members

two aggressive cats
Image Credit: Pixabay

A more specific instance of a cat becoming clingy from stress is the introduction of a new family member. As we already mentioned, cats do not like to change their routines. Adding a new family member is a huge routine change that may cause your cat to feel stressed and less appreciated.

It is much easier to detect this as being the cause. Suppose your cat seemed to have a 180 change after introducing a new family member. In that case, they are likely clingier because they feel stressed or less appreciated because of the new family member.

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5. Boredom

bored domestic cat
Image Credit: IceEye, Pixabay

Even though clinginess can be a sign of some serious issues, it can also be a sign of boredom. Cats need a whole lot of mental stimulation. If they do not get it, they will force mental stimulation in whatever way possible. Boredom clinginess will often be in the form of constantly touching you or trying to play with you in some way.

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How to Reduce Your Cat’s Clinginess

Here are some ways to reduce your cat’s clinginess:

1. Give Them More Attention

a woman's hand petting a cat
Image Credit: Yerlin Matu, Unsplash

In many cases, simply giving your cat more regular attention will do the trick. This is especially true if your cat became clingy after a new addition to the family or boredom. Give them more attention and do so at the same time every day to get into a routine.

When you are giving them attention, try to incorporate mentally stimulating toys so that they are fully entertained and engaged. Laser pointers, feather wands, or moving

 

ys are a great way to give your cat attention while making them use their brains.

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2. Discourage Bad Behavior

mackerel tabby cat playing with roll of toilet paper
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Even though you should certainly give your cat more attention if they are clingy, you should not give in to every whim. If your cat is scratching or doing some other annoying and possibly dangerous behavior, discourage that behavior by completely ignoring them.

Ignoring the bad behavior tells your cat that it does not work. So, they will be less likely to do it. When you discourage bad behavior, do not punish the cat. Cats do not typically register punishment in the way that other animals do.

Instead, encourage them for the behavior you enjoy. Your cat will be more likely to do those behaviors and stop doing the ones you want to discourage.

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3. Take Them to A Vet

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Image Credit: Andrey_Kuzmin, Shutterstock

If you think that your cat’s clinginess is a result of some health change, take them to a veterinarian immediately. They may have some sort of disease or illness that needs to be treated. A female cat could also be pregnant.

If the veterinarian finds a health issue to be at the heart of the clinginess, make sure to treat the illness accordingly and be gentle with your cat. During the treatment, continue to give them a variety of attention and be gentle with them.

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4. Do not Make Leaving or Entering Your Home A Big Fuss

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Image credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

For clingy cats with separation anxiety, try not to make a big fuss whenever you are leaving or entering the home. If you shower them with attention before leaving, they may become clingier because they see it as a sign that you are leaving. In contrast, making a big deal when you come home makes your entrance overly stimulating, forcing them to be stressed when you leave.

Instead, try to quietly slip out of your house and arrive in a much lower-key manner. Doing so will help keep the cat consistent, regardless of whether you are staying or going.

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Conclusion

Cats can become clingy for many reasons. Separation anxiety, health problems, stress, a new family member, and boredom are some of the most common reasons for increased clinginess in a cat.

There are ways you can reduce your cat’s clinginess. The exact treatment will depend on the reason why your cat is clingy. No matter how you choose to reduce your cat’s clinginess, remember to be patient and understanding. Most of their world revolves around you. It makes sense that they can get a bit clingy from time to time.

Just be patient with your cat and show them love. Giving your fuzzy kitten a bit more attention than usual may go a long way.

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Featured Image Credit: Alek B, Pixabay