It can be very confusing to know what’s going on with a cat. They may act like they despise you only to rub against your calves a minute later. They might chatter at you incessantly only to ignore you moments later. What’s an owner to do?
Their elusive personality traits can clue an owner into subtle health issues. For example, a normally quiet or aloof cat that starts to vocalize might be trying to say something important. A suddenly clingy cat might also need immediate help.
An understanding of your cat’s behavior helps with their essential needs. Knowing how they might react to certain stimuli can lead you to reducing or eliminating it altogether. Being able to deliver exactly what they like and need builds their trust and facilitates a closer human-feline relationship.
Getting to the Bottom Of It
Between self-grooming, sleeping, eating, and playing, cats may appear perfectly comfortable with solitude. This independent nature can come off as aloof or low-maintenance, but they do benefit from daily interactions with their owners (and vice-versa).
Some pet cats are definitely more involved with their owners than others, and enjoy “talking” with them and following them from room to room. If they ever become ill or injured, it is this break in the routine that can signal red flags. In other words, an uncharacteristically quiet cat may be suffering in silence.
Ruling Things Out
It is critical to have your cat examined whenever they start to behave differently. A suddenly clingy cat might have an underlying health condition that should be ruled out before addressing their behavior. If something is causing your cat’s behavior to change, we can begin to diagnose the possible problem and begin treatment.
Once your cat has a clean bill of health, we can pivot toward their behavior. Understanding the reasons behind clingy cat behaviors may take some time, and includes a closer look at any of the following:
- Recent changes to their housing situation or dynamic
- New animal or person in the house
- Fear or anxiety related to changes in and around the home, such as construction
- Food or shelter insecurity
- Boredom and lack of environmental enrichment
To help a clingy cat become more confident, independent and trusting, it’s important to create and maintain strategies.
Help a Clingy Cat
The following ideas can address problematic behaviors:
- Arrange your cat’s environment in a way that brings them as close to you as possible. This could mean scooting their bed or cat tree close to the bed or desk. Once they demonstrate that they feel more secure, you can slowly start to add some space between you (if needed).
- Try to ignore unwanted behaviors and only reward the behaviors you want to see more of.
- Invest in some interesting toys that wear your cat out. A tired cat is a happier one.
- Question whether your clingy cat has separation anxiety. Helping them with environmental distractions or company can combat feelings of loneliness or isolation.
If you have additional questions or concerns about feline health and behavior, please give us a call at (704) 523-2996. Your friends at Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center are always here for you.