A lot of cats like their independence. Unlike dogs, these aloof furballs are praised for being low maintenance and taking care of themselves. Aside from mealtime, cats bathe, use the litter box and do pretty much everything else without the help of humans. It’s hard to imagine such proud felines acting clingy, which is why a suddenly clingy kitty can raise some suspicion.
If your cat has suddenly begun acting clingier than usual, you might be tempted to dismiss the behavior as bizarre and not give it a second thought. However, drastic changes in behavior one way or the other are not only strange—they’re usually cause for concern.
While a trip to the vet is necessary to make sure your furry friend is okay, here are some common reasons why your independent cat is suddenly following at your heels.
Chronic health problems
Cats are independent by nature, and this behavior usually extends to their health and wellbeing. Our feline friends will go to extreme lengths to hide their pain and handle the problem on their own. That’s why pet parents need to pay such close attention to detect an infected wound or a sore paw.
But, while many cats hide away when they feel sick or are injured, others might do the opposite. Becoming clingy might be their way of asking for help because they’re dealing with a serious health concern.
If your cat won’t stop following you around and is experiencing additional issues like weight loss, inappetence or anxiety, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong. It’s possible that your furry friend isn’t sure how to solve their problem, so they’re seeking comfort from you, their beloved owner. If anything, clinginess is a sign they trust you in times of need!
You won’t know for sure what’s wrong until a vet provides a diagnosis. However, clinginess is a common symptom in cats right before a seizure. Many diseases can trigger seizures in cats, so speak with your vet to get to the bottom of the issue.
Cognitive dysfunction or disability
As senior cats age, they’re more likely to become clingy. This could be a sign of cognitive dysfunction. Older cats may experience a range of symptoms, including loss of sight, hearing, balance and coordination. Essentially, cats with cognitive dysfunction are not as sharp as they used to be and get clingy because they rely on their owners’ senses for guidance.
Younger cats can be clingy for a similar reason. While cognitive dysfunction is most common in older cats, feline companions of all ages can suffer from hearing and vision impairments that make them feel unsteady in your home. Consider scheduling a consultation with the vet if your cat is clingy, walks hesitantly around the house or bumps into furniture.
New family members
Cats are creatures of habit, and they need a routine in order to feel safe. A regular feeding time, litter box cleaning and daily schedule help them feel at ease. But they also grow accustomed to your house and the people living in it.
New members of the household like a baby, grandparent or another furry friend can throw your kitty’s routine out of whack. If your household recently changed and your cat became clingy overnight, they might be suspicious of the strange new people in your home!
It can take time for your cat to adjust to these changes. Help them with the transition by limiting other changes to their routine. Keep up a consistent feeding regimen and give them lots of attention to let them know there’s no reason to be afraid.
New family members are stressful enough for cats, but lots of other things could stress your cat out, too. Clinginess could be a sign that your cat trusts you but not others. Pay close attention to your cat’s behavior when certain people or pets walk into the room. If they scurry in the presence of a regular visitor, you know there’s a problem.
Any number of other factors could contribute to a stressful environment. For example, cats don’t like thunder or fireworks any more than dogs do. The sheer number of guests that come over for the holidays might increase your cat’s anxiety and force them to stay by your side for protection. Try to see things from your cat’s perspective and determine what’s causing them trouble.
Sudden clinginess from independent cats might be a welcomed change of pace for you as the owner. However, keep your furry friend’s feelings in mind and realize that an underlying issue is likely to blame for the change. Whether it be emotional or physical, investigate the problems your cat is facing so they can return to their normal, happy and independent self.