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My cat won’t leave me alone! (6 reasons for clingy behavior)

Sharing your home and your life with a cat is full of lovely, rewarding moments. You will get to enjoy plenty of cozy evenings with your cat curled up on your lap, cuddling by the fire. Some people even find themselves living with a cat who can be trusted to curl up at the bottom of the bed at night.

But for all the benefits associated with having a housemate of the feline variety, there are potential downsides too. Extremely clingy cats can soak up your time and energy, and may even start to destroy your furniture. So what might the reason be for such behavior?

Tip: Certain breeds are more clingy than others. Ragdolls and Abyssinians have a reputation for wanting to be in the spotlight all the time.

What are the reasons for clingy behavior?

Feeding time, evening snuggles, and playtime can all be precious bonding moments. But if your cat is following you around constantly and becomes vocal or distressed when you try to leave, there could be deeper issues at play. The most common reasons for clingy behavior are:

  • Health issues
  • Separation anxiety
  • Boredom

Health issues

If clingy behavior has only recently started, there’s a possibility that your cat has become needier because it’s feeling unwell. Just like us, cats often enjoy some TLC when they’re sick. They might find your presence reassuring, and it might even be their way of letting you know that they’re poorly.

Separation anxiety

A cat with separation anxiety will struggle whenever they are left alone. The root of this behavior usually lies in some form of past trauma. You might notice that they become particularly clingy when you’re about to leave the house. This type of cat can even be triggered just from you picking up your keys or putting your shoes on.

Tip: The easiest way to find out if your cat suffers from separation anxiety is by setting up a camera to find out how it behaves once you're away from home. You may also be able to pick up clues that they're unhappy at home alone, for example if you notice scratched furniture or urine and feces outside the litter box

Boredom

There’s always the potential that your cat is following you around and being clingy because they’re bored. If they don’t get much interaction, mental stimulation, and playtime, they’re bound to have leftover energy for paying extra attention to you!

Why does my cat follow me to the toilet?

If your cat follows you to the toilet, they might just be intrigued by where you’re going. Cats are naturally curious, so when you leave and shut the door, they’re bound to want to see where you’re going. Equally, if your cat loves your company, they might think that if they manage to break into the bathroom, they can enjoy your full attention!

“Please cuddle me!”

Why won’t my cat leave me alone…

… at night?

If your cat regularly craves your attention more at night, they might have separation anxiety, or they might be bored. Looking at how they behave when you leave the house and considering their lifestyle and activity levels will help you determine why.

…in the morning?

If your morning wake-up call is your cat meowing, purring, and rubbing against you while your try to sleep, they might be ready for breakfast! However, they might also have missed you while you were sleeping and be ready to start another exciting day!

…while I’m eating?

Again, this could be hunger! But even if your cat isn’t hungry, the behavior could be fueled by food. If you’re in the habit of occasionally offering tasty tidbits from your plate, your feline friend might be hanging around in anticipation!

So, how can I stop my cat from being so clingy?

If you’d rather have some alone time away from your cat, there are a few things you can try. Firstly, if their behavior has recently changed, there could be a medical reason, so it’s worth getting a vet’s perspective. Checking your furry friend’s routine to ensure they aren’t hungry and are getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation will help rule out other causes. Keeping them active and entertained can also help with separation anxiety. Still, you might need to speak to your veterinarian or a behaviorist if your clingy cat isn’t improving.

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