Why Is My Cat So Clingy? | Pets Best

Cats have a reputation for being independent. But some cats are actually quite the opposite—they’re affectionate, following you from room to room and wanting to cuddle at every chance they get. A clingy cat can be very cute!

But sometimes, clinginess becomes unhealthy and might even be a sign of an underlying issue, especially if the behavior is new. Underlying problems like separation anxiety or illness can sometimes manifest as clinginess. Discovering exactly why a cat is so clingy requires a little detective work and some help from your veterinarian.

Cats can be clingy for emotional or physical reasons

How can you tell the difference between a cat who wants to cuddle and a cat who is too clingy? A cat may be too clingy if he acts extra upset when you’re not around, refuses to eat or meows excessively.If your cat has a sudden personality change—such as always being independent and suddenly becoming clingy—see a veterinarian, as this can be a subtle sign that something is wrong.2

There are many reasons why cats may become clingy and demanding, ranging from separation anxiety to health issues, changes in the environment and more. Here’s a look at the top reasons why this may happen and what you can do about each of them.

Separation anxiety can cause clinginess

Separation anxiety in cats often leads to clingy behavior.1 You may notice other signs of destructive behavior while you’re gone, like excessive meowing, destroying things in the home, excessive grooming or peeing or pooping outside the litter box. And once you get home, your cat may be extra attached to you.

Even a previously independent cat may develop separation anxiety if your schedule changes and you start being away from home more often.A cat separated from her littermates too early might also have anxiety issues.

Here are some tips for managing separation anxiety in cats:3

  • Enrich her environment by hiding treats for your cat to hunt while you’re gone or leaving her in puzzle feeders.
  • Set out interactive toys.
  • Make the window entertaining. Set up a bird feeder outside a window or put a comfy window perch at a prime viewing spot.
  • Change up your cues when leaving (such as gathering your keys earlier). Make a quiet departure so it’s not a big deal.
  • Leave a radio on for background noise or leave on a TV channel designed for cats.
  • Try a calming diffuser made especially for cats.
  • Train your kitty with short departures that gradually get longer.
  • Talk to a professional. Your veterinarian may recommend anxiety medication.4 A pet therapist could even help.
  • Give your kitty plenty of playtime when you’re home, which can help build confidence.

Changes in the environment can cause clinginess

Just as a change in your work schedule might trigger separation anxiety, any change in the environment—big or small—can trigger clinginess.1 This is because cats find security in reliability. Changing that might be why your cat is obsessed with you.

To manage this, try to think about anything that has recently changed, such as:

  • A feeding schedule that’s not consistent or a missed mealtime.1
  • A guest at home or a new pet.1
  • Changing weather.1
  • Construction or something else unpredictable outside.2

Creating predictable routines can help, such as using an automated feeder that dispenses food at the same time every day.1 Set up traditions, like having playtime every day when you get home or snuggling when you first wake up. Try to keep these routines even if other big things are changing, so your cat still has things to rely on.

Aging or health issues can lead to clingy behavior

A cat who suddenly becomes clingy at night or during the day might be trying to tell you that he’s sick or feeling vulnerable.1 He knows you’ll take care of him, so he’s seeking your help. Watch for other signs of sickness, like vomiting; diarrhea; increased thirst; change in appetite or weight; lack of energy; not using the litter box; wheezing; eye, nose or ear discharge; excess meowing; trouble jumping; overgrooming; bad breath; or personality changes.5

If your cat’s getting older, your senior cat may become extra clingy.4 An aging cat who feels more vulnerable may start relying on you more. As her senses decline and she isn’t seeing or hearing as well, she may turn to you for help in understanding her world. Try doing activities to strengthen your bond, like gentle playtime or keeping her cat bed close to your bed.

If you ever suspect illness, it’s time to visit the veterinarian.

Boredom can cause attention-seeking behavior

If you’re wondering why your cat is being so clingy and vocal, it might be because he’s bored. Cats are smart and they need mental stimulation to keep them on their toes. If they’re bored, they might start demanding attention from you.2

Finding ways to help your cat entertain herself, whether you’re away or working from home, can help. Here are some ideas:

  • Have more playtime together. Try to tire him out when you play.2
  • Provide cat trees, cat tunnels and scratching posts.4
  • Look for interactive toys to help kitty entertain herself.Fish toys that flop when your cat paws at them might be fun, and toys with catnip are great. Switch out the toys periodically.
  • Try clicker training—it’s another great activity that’s mentally stimulating and challenging for your feline.7
  • Set up a cat tree or cat bed near a window where birds visit frequently.6


Cats may pick up on their owners’ feelings

Clinginess may even result from your cat picking up on your own feelings. Cats may pick up on when their owners are sick or upset and try to comfort them.8 This is especially likely with female cats whose “mother” instincts may kick in, but it can happen with any empathetic kitty.

Watch out for negative reinforcement

Giving cats attention when they’re doing something wrong—such as responding when they meow excessively—may inadvertently reinforce the behavior.6

When your cat behaves in a way you don’t want, like meowing excessively, simply ignore the behavior.2 Instead, give her treats and praise when she’s being good and quiet.4

Are certain cats more likely to be clingy than others?

Certain cats are more likely to be clingy and affectionate than others. For example, some veterinarians believe that male cats tend to be more affectionate overall.Of course, there are exceptions. Female cats can become extra clingy when they’re in heat or pregnant.And individual personalities play a big role, too.

Certain breeds are also more likely to be clingy. Ragdolls and Tonkinese, for example, were bred to be affectionate. Other affectionate breeds include the Maine Coon, Scottish Fold, Siamese, Persian, Bombay, Birman and American Shorthair. Sphynx don’t have hair, so they’ll be cuddling up to you for extra warmth.9

But you can find cuddly kitties in other breeds. If you’re adopting an older cat, ask the rescue or shelter about the cat’s personality.

The bottom line

While an affectionate cat can be a blessing, if a cat suddenly becomes too clingy, it might be a sign of another issue. Providing mentally stimulating entertainment, along with a stable routine and lots of bonding time, can help. Of course, visit your veterinarian if you notice any sudden personality changes.

From Pets Best

Pets Best insurance can help you prepare for any unexpected illness that might crop up and cause your cat to become extra clingy. Pets Best policy holders can also speak to a veterinary expert anytime through a 24/7 Pet Helpline if they have questions about their cat’s behavior.


1. Bundy, Brooke. (2023, January 19). Cat Suddenly Clingy? Here’s 7 Possible Reasons Why. PetKeen. https://petkeen.com/cat-suddenly-clingy-why/

2. (2022, February 3). Understanding Feline Behavior: A Clingy Cat Could Need More Than Your Attention. Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center. https://www.longanimal.com/blog/understanding-feline-behavior-a-clingy-cat-could-need-more-than-your-attention/

3. Sirois, Krista A. (2020, June 8). Can Cats Have Separation Anxiety? PetMD. https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/behavioral/can-cats-have-separation-anxiety

4. Taylor, Lauren. (2021, October 28). Why Is My Cat So Clingy? The Dodo. https://www.thedodo.com/dodowell/why-does-my-cat-follow-me-everywhere

5. Stregowski, Jenna. (2022, February 4). 18 Signs That Your Cat Is Sick. The Spruce Pets. https://www.thesprucepets.com/signs-your-cat-is-sick-4165142

6. Reimers, Rita and Rising, Hunter. (2022, November 17). How to Fix Clinginess in Cats. wikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Fix-Clinginess-in-Cats

7. (2021, September 20). The Cat-Human Bond. Cornell CatWatch. https://www.catwatchnewsletter.com/behavior/the-cat-human-bond/

8. (2022, April 4). How to Spot the Personality Differences Between Male and Female Cats. Viera East Veterinary Center. https://www.vieravet.com/services/cats/blog/how-spot-personality-differences-between-male-and-female-cats

9. Murphy, Lauren. (2022, September 21). 10 Cat Breeds That Are the Most Affectionate. The Spruce Pets. https://www.thesprucepets.com/affectionate-cat-breeds-4846595

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