Has your cat been attached to your hip lately, and you don’t know why? You shouldn’t ignore your kitty’s behavior. If you’ve been asking yourself – why is my cat so clingy – your cat may be trying to communicate something important to you. And, we have 5 reasons to explain what that may be.
Let’s Get Down To It – Why Is My Cat So Clingy?
Yes, cats have anxiety too. Although cats are known for their independence, they still do suffer from separation anxiety. This anxiety could stem from a few things.
Cats that were abandoned at young ages often struggle with separation anxiety. There are also various breeds that are extra social and feel very connected to their humans. This leaves them feeling way more lonely when their families are away for a longer period of time. This could be just a day of work or a weekend vacation.
If you do spend hours away from home often, separation anxiety may be the reason for your cat’s consistent clinginess, especially if this need for attention happens every time you come home.
A clingy cat can be a sign of stress. This stress is usually environmentally-driven. As we know, our cats are little hunters with keen survival skills. They are always hyperaware of their environment. So, when there is a change, cats get stressed. Oftentimes, the response is to get close to their human companions.
This stress can be induced by a variety of factors. The noise and vibrations of intense storms are known to stress cats out. The presence of new family members, both two-legged and four-legged, is another common stressor for cats. The foreign nature of a new person triggers a threat-response in cats, causing them to find comfort and safety by your side.
A sudden increase in clinginess from your cat may suggest that it is experiencing physical discomfort. As your cat’s human, it will look for you to comfort them through the pain they are experiencing.
Clinginess typically isn’t the only sign of cat illness. Your cat may also display other symptoms. Lethargy (extreme tiredness,) excessive vocalizations, or lack of appetite are some of the most common symptoms of pain and illness in cats. If you believe that your cat may have an underlying illness, you should make an appointment with your vet right away.
Not every cat is fond of new people in their homes. Another person in the household, especially if this is a permanent addition to the household, can leave a cat very confused. They don’t exactly know why the person is there, and may even wonder if this newbie is a threat. Since you are your cat’s main companion and protector, your cat will seek refuge with you, until your cat feels comfortable enough with the new person to go back to its usual routine.
If your cat is getting older, do not be surprised to see your cat become clingy. Older cats are less active, meaning they have less energy to play with toys or go on outdoor adventures. This, along with the physical pain that comes with aging, makes cats a little more clingy and affectionate.
How to Engage with My Clingy Cat
Of course, this all depends on the cause of your cat’s clinginess. Generally speaking, a clingy cat often results from some sort of stress and anxiety. There are key ways to help your cat stay comfortable and manage your cat’s clinginess.
First, don’t be cold. Your cat is looking for comfort. The best thing to do is to provide your cat with scratches, rubs, and cuddles it needs. But, don’t spoil your cat. Remember, you want to help your cat feel safe enough to be back to its regular routine.
To revitalize your cat’s independence and confidence, you should slowly give your cat a little distance. Show your cat ways to find comfort without you. You can provide toys to play with. Don’t be shy to even play a game with them, one that isn’t too over-stimulating. It can be as simple as playing with string, showing your cat that it can catch the string all on its own.
If your cat is dealing with physical pain, this would not be an option. It is always best to see your veterinarian so that you can identify the issue as fast as possible.
Finally, remember that your cat needs time to feel themselves again. If clinginess seems to be an issue, your cat returning to its full, confident self will not be an overnight fix. It will take time and patience. Cats just want to feel safe, just like us!