Clingy Cat: Is My Cat Too Needy?
Let’s face it, it is very uncommon to come home to a welcoming cat jumping and bouncing around for joy at the sight of you. That’s what dogs do (and we’re not judging them). Cats usually don’t seem to care until they’re hungry or want to pampered like the royalty they think they are. And once they’ve had enough, they leave. But what happens when this ‘bond’ between cat owners and their feline friends changes from measured independency to overly clingy or needy? It begins with a simple, affectionate human-feline relationship until you begin to notice that your cat is becoming a bit too demanding or even clingy all of a sudden. Most of the time, the change happens so subtly that you do not notice it early. So, at what point do you draw the line between an over affectionate cat, a demanding cat, an overly attached cat, and a clingy cat?
Why Is My Cat So Clingy?
Why is my cat becoming so clingy? You would be surprised how often this question is asked by cat owners, especially when one of the most endearing qualities cats have is the ability to be independent (of course, only when they need food). Whether your cat has been overly needy or clinging for a long time or you just noticed that change, this is an issue you need to address before it gets worse. You may be asking yourself if that is even possible – the situation getting worse. But let’s put it this way. A needy cat can be a little annoying. Sorry, a lot annoying sometimes. But that is usually not enough to get you too bothered. But a clingy cat may have a past of some health or behavioral problems that have not been addressed. The more this habit lingers on, the worse your cat’s health will get. Now, at this point, you should be bothered. So, if you’re reading this, then chances are that your cat (that usually didn’t care about your presence) is now showing up on your keyboard and demanding that you give it attention.
Clingy Or Just Being Friendly?
In order to better understand what the problem is, we need to do some troubleshooting to eliminate some possibilities. The first possibility is that your cat is just friendly. So, how do we eliminate this possibility? Here are a few things to look out for to be sure that your cat is clingy.
- Hunger strike: If your cat is only friendly, it will eat its food whether you are around or not. A clingy cat, on the other hand, will not touch its food until you are home.
- Touchy touchy: Is your cat constantly rubbing against you and jumping unto your tap the very second you settle down? Are you nodding? Then your cat is clingy.
- Creepy creepy: Does your cat stare constantly and creepily at you while you go about your business? It could be clingy.
- Attention seeker: Does your cat jump on top of basically any work you have doing? For example, does your cat suddenly place itself on your keyboard when you’re about to do some work, or settle down on a particular page you are reading? Clingy clingy.
- Second shadow: Does your cat follow you around the house like your second shadow? Is it so bad it scratches at your bathroom or bedroom door when it doesn’t see you for a few seconds? That’s clingy stuff.
Granted, a lot of friendly cats follow their owners around. And that is cute. But when it gets so bad that it looks like your cat is afraid to be by itself for even a second, then the alarm bells should go off.
Needy Or Just Demanding?
Let’s do some more troubleshooting. Sometimes, we are left confused as to whether our cats are just too demanding or plain needy. Understanding the difference between the two behaviors will help you know whether there is a cause for worry or not. Contrary to what most people think, a demanding cat is actually very independent. It is the typical “I am royalty” kind of cat, except it takes independence to a whole new level. On the other hand, a needy is gets very insecure when you are not around. As mentioned earlier, it meow and scratch at your bathroom or bedroom if you have been in there for too long. And, by too long, we are talking about a couple of seconds. Clingy cats are insecure cats. Thus, everything mentioned in the previous paragraph applies to them. But how about demanding cats? Here are a few things to help you know if your cat is just overly demanding.
- When it is awake, no one else sleeps. It will meow at you as soon as it wakes up in the morning to get you to wake up too and attend to it.
- It will yowl or become very vocal when it is hungry, and its food bowl is empty. In fact, it will sound exactly like it is chastising you vocally.
- When it completely disregards your instructions not to jump onto the furniture or meows constantly at you till you to play with it.
In short, a demanding cat is very independent until it needs something. It feels it has you at its beck and call, and will vocally chastise when you don’t attend to it promptly. A needy cat, on the contrary, is driven by insecurity to be beside you constantly.
Your Role In All This As A Reinforcer
Every cat owner loves their cat and wants the best for them. As a result, your natural instinct is to attend to it when it needs your attention. But when your cat is beginning to have insecurity issues and fears the thought of being alone, then you have to consider your role as a reinforcer. You are probably asking yourself how? Well, here are the right questions to ask yourself.
- Do you put your work aside to pet or stroke your cat when it sits on your keyboard to interrupt your work or your reading?
- Do you keep the door open behind you when you walk into a room in order to allow your cat to walk in with you?
- Do you quickly reach for treats when your cat meows for them?
- Do you give your cat the free will to jump onto your lap whenever it wants?
Contrary to what a lot of tv commercials will tell you, cats are very smart. And, when they realize that they have you wrapped around their paws, they’ll do anything to keep you there. And as long as you stay there, you are helping to reinforce their needy behavior. Cats, just like any other pet, should be taught how to obey instructions and earn their treats.
Older Cat Suddenly Clingy
A lot of the clingy and needy behaviors we have mentioned are mainly related to young cats. But sometimes older cats suddenly become clingy for various reasons. This should not cause much of an alarm as older cats become less and less independent as the days pass by. You will notice that your cat will begin to meow too often when it needs your attention for anything. This could be partly due to its lack of energy. Older cats become naturally less independent as they age. The difference here is that you will not find it following you too often around the house as it will prefer to sleep most of the time. However, if your senior cat suddenly becomes clingy and insecure to the extent that all the examples mentioned in our second paragraph begin to apply, then you need to remedy the situation. In the next paragraph, we will touch on some things you can do when you notice that your cat is becoming clingy and insecure.
What To Do With Sudden Cat Clinginess
Always remember that whenever a cat suddenly becomes overly attached or clingy, it could be a sign of an underlying problem. Here are a few things you should do.
- If your cat constantly rubs against you or interferes with your work, simply pick it up gently, and move it away from you or your work. Do not be harsh or nasty about it. Do this repeatedly until your cat is able to stay away for a couple of minutes then give it some treats to reward it.
- Do not open your door when your cat constantly scratches at it for attention. Ignore it until you have enough time to spend some time with it.
- Close the door gently behind you when you walk into another room to prevent your cat from following you.
- Ignore demanding cats until they are calm.
Repetition is the keyword here. You have to repeat each of the above options until you begin to notice some changes. It will take a lot of time and patience, but you will be doing it to help your feline buddy regain its confidence and independence.
In conclusion, you need to take charge of the situation. A clingy cat is a cat that is lacking in confidence and feeling insecure. If you do not try to remedy the situation, you will only be reinforcing its habit and making the situation worse. Do not be rash or harsh, as annoying as the situation may sometimes get. Instead, gently apply the remedies mentioned in this article repeatedly until your cat begins to rediscover its confidence. Take charge, but take a loving charge.