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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 where cats demonstrate their love for you. 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 your cat becomes 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 whether your cat is suffering from separation anxiety is by setting up a camera. See what you can learn while away from home. You may also be able to pick up some clues that they're unhappy at home alone; Things like 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. When indoor cats don’t get much interaction or playtime, they’re bound to have leftover energy for paying extra attention to you! We have a big DIY enrichement article full of ideas to create a more mentally stimulating environment for your cat. If you have the time, you could also play some simple games during the day and/or invest in a few interactive toys or cat puzzles.

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 you’re trying to sleep, it could be your cat’s way of saying it’s time for breakfast! Another possible explanation is that your cat missed you while you were sleeping, and is now ready to start another exciting day together with its loving owner!

…while I’m eating?

Again, the most simple explanation is that your cat is hungry! But even when that is not the case, such behavior could still 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 an underlying medical reason. If you suspect that is the case, it is 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 a cat active and entertained will definitely help with separation anxiety. Once you have ruled all of these out and your clingy cat is still not improving, it’s time to speak to your veterinarian or a behaviorist.

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