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?
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
My cats doing the same exact thing!
I think change is what makes them act that way. Something changed in their routine..
Hopefully a vet or someone will answer with some advice! Because I contemplate whether I can handle this anymore or not..
There are No Kill shelters all over the country, check your area for one and get their advice. I’m in a similar situation and am almost to the point of resheltering one of the cats. It’s a bad situation for everyone. Good luck, I hope it all works out.
Hey! My cat possibly has separation anxiety and is probably bored. We’ve tried things like new toys and even pet towers. Also we try to play with him during the day. He use to use the bathroom just fine but now he pooping outside of it and never does it inside but he pees inside the litterbox. We can’t just leave it there when he does it so if he is getting attention that way it’s kind of hard to stop. It’s usually 3 to 4 feet away from the litterbox as well but at times has been 7 to 8. We tried shaving around his back area, new litter, the box is kept clean, and we’ve caught him a few times and tried to stir him back to the litterbox and he does just fine then. He is also declawed which may play a part and we have to him to the vet and no medical issues and they honestly have no idea. At night when we shut the door he constantly claws at it and it’s really annoying. We close the door because they want to come and play and make a bunch of racket in our room at night like they don’t have the whole house to do it. When they’re not making noise he’s constantly jumping in and out the bed walking on us stuff. We don’t know what to do. It’s getting to the point where we don’t like cats anymore which is crazy because me and my gf both grew up with cats. I’ve personally had 6 or 7 in my lifetime and she’s had more due to her mom being a vet. We’ve both never experienced this before and our cats have always been more independent, never clingy or the bathroom thing or even the sleep thing. Her mom is a vet and doesn’t know what to do either. She knows how annoying this can be but says this is what we signed up for. I didn’t sign up for this, I’m actually moving out because of the cats but I’m not going to tell my gf because I don’t want her to feel like she has to pick and choose. I want to help them but don’t know how and we can’t just get rid of them because there such regular cats they’ll probably be out down at some point from someone not wanting to adopt them. I just mentally can’t take it anymore. I know from the outside looking in it’s probably minor or not as annoying but when you want to sleep or your stepping in dookey at night it really gets you upset. Thanks for any comments and advice.