An adoring and attentive cat is what every owner wants. But, while you want your cat to love you and enjoy your company, too much attention can become a little overwhelming. A cat that has suddenly become clingy when it was previously independent can leave you puzzled and searching for an explanation.
Although it is common for cats to seek isolation during times of pain and sickness, some felines become affectionate when they are unwell. Always be mindful when sudden affection comes from a senior cat or an adult cat with health concerns. There could be a genuine reason for their behavior.
- 1 What Are the Signs of a Clingy Cat?
- 2 What Causes a Cat to Be Affectionate All of a Sudden?
What Are the Signs of a Clingy Cat?
Noted below are the primary signs of a needy and clingy cat:
- Unable to walk around your house without seeing your cat’s shadow.
- Your cat is grabbing on to your clothes and not releasing.
- Personal space (bed, sofa, desk, restroom, etc.) has been invaded.
- Refuses to allow you to move.
- Your cat wants constant attention.
While it is easy to assume that a clingy cat is a byproduct of being spoiled as a kitten, that is not always the case. Clingy behavior can occur due to fear and anxiety. If you are not the original owner, a previous issue or living experience from their past could be the reason for the problem.
Anxiety is a genuine concern for cats. Associative memory can make it hard for some cats to forget certain parts of their past. If they associate certain objects or behaviors as something negative, they make latch on to you as a source of relief and comfort.
What Causes a Cat to Be Affectionate All of a Sudden?
Cats can be affectionate. Just like most domestic pets, cats (although they tend to be independent) have the desire to show love and be loved by their owner.
If you are relaxing on the sofa and your cat wants to jump up to be by your side, the chances are that your cat wants to spend time with you and would like a petting session.
Cats are often affectionate when they feel like they are being ignored. Has your cat run out of food or water? A brush against your leg followed by frequent purring could be a means of communication. Your cat may follow you around the house and cry until you get the hint.
Sudden demands for affection often coincide with environmental changes. They can be weather related, home related, etc. This can cause otherwise independent cats to have a constant need for your love and affection as a means of support.
Some environmental factors that can change your cat’s behavior include…
- Cold weather
- Smoke alarm goes off
- New furniture or moving furniture
- Strangers in the home
- New family addition
- New pet, such as a kitten
If your otherwise quiet feline suddenly craves for your attention, make a mental note of the change and when it started to happen.
Affection vs. Anxiety
If your cat has an anxiety disorder, an increased amount of affection can make matters worse.
The more affection they crave (and receive), the more anxious they become when it is taken away for a time. Hours and days of separation can cause social distress and result in frequent meowing, destructive behavior, clawing furniture, and urinating on clothing.
If your cat creates problems whenever you are at work or out socially, you can get assistance from an animal behaviorist. Anti-anxiety medication and therapy can be beneficial.
Cats that are spoiled find it more difficult to cope when left alone. And cats that have never known separation or have pre-existing anxious tendencies may not be capable of handling isolation.
Is Sudden Affection in Cats a Sign of Illness?
Although affection is not traditionally a sign of illness, it can be in cats that are typically aloof and do not care for petting sessions, tummy rubs, and general attention. The term “Velcro kitty” is often used to describe a cat who was once distant but now wants constant affection.
Monitor other aspects of your cat’s behavior. If the only thing that has changed is the desire for additional affection, there is a chance that illness is not the culprit. Isolation (such as hiding in dark places) and physical symptoms, such as lethargy, are the common traits of illness.
Are Pregnant Cats More Affectionate?
PetCareRX stated that a cat’s personality might begin to change during the final four weeks of pregnancy. One of the changes involves how a cat interacts with others.
In the weeks before birth (4-5 weeks), a cat may become more affectionate, even more demanding. A pregnant cat may follow you around the house and insist on eating when as soon as she feels hungry. Eating for more than just herself, her desire for regular food becomes far more urgent.
While affection and clingy behavior increases, her relationship with other animals may diminish. She may even become hostile to other household pets when a strong relationship previously existed.
Pregnant cats are known for becoming more affectionate to humans. It is believed that a pregnant cat could see you as the one who must provide enhanced comfort, shelter, and food.
What to Do When Your Cat is Suddenly Affectionate
If your cat suddenly wants your attention, you should give them the attention they crave. This is crucial if you have been able to identify the cause of your cat’s behavioral changes, such as a loud noise scared it. A bit of reassurance will make your cat feel a lot better.
Has your cat has suddenly become uncharacteristically affectionate, and the issue has not gone away? If there is no clear reason for this behavioral change, then you should consult your vet for a routine examination. This will also give you a chance to discuss potential reasons for the problem.
How to Stop Needy Behavior in Cats
One of the best ways to stop the needy behavior is through tough love. Whether your cat’s needy attitude is due to being spoiled as a kitten or prior experiences before you became the owner, changing your cat’s behavior can be a test in patience, but it typically yields positive results.
Chewy.com suggests foot stomping. As soon as your cat makes a move to jump in your lap or seek affection, you should stomp your foot one time. As soon as your cat hesitates, you should reward this good behavior with a pet on the head. The objective is to teach your cat, not to frighten it. This is why affection should be given (by you) once they respond to your foot stomp.
Another way to change the behavior of a needy cat is the art of distraction. If your cat clings to you while you walk, redirect your cat’s path with a toy.
Reward your cat for doing good without your assistance. If you spot your cat doing the right thing without being told, give them a treat. The more you reward your cat for its new behavior, the more your cat will have a natural desire to continue with that behavior. Once your cat equates being good with being calm, they will likely start to become less needy.