When you hear that someone’s needy in a relationship, it never sounds promising, right? But what if you have a needy cat? Is that cute, or extremely annoying? I’ll let you decide.
Luckily, I never had problems with clinginess in cats for too long. When Nora first came into my life, yes, she was a needy fluff. But, you can’t actually blame a cat that has to adapt, can you?
She was following me around the apartment, and for a week or so, she was sleeping next to me. When I was working from home, it was natural that she sits on my lap, and sometimes interrupts my meetings.
After some time, my little girl got used to her new environment and started living her own life. She still brushes my legs occasionally when she’s hungry or meows sadly at me when she wants to play.
However, there are pet owners reporting how their cats are extremely needy. They require constant attention and won’t settle for less. But, why is that happening? Is it healthy? How much affection is too much? We’ll try to answer these questions together, buckle up!
What is a Velcro cat?
First things first, you have to know that a needy cat is also known as a velcro cat. This simply describes her need to give you LOTS of love. She’ll also follow you around, you’ll stumble upon her a couple of times more than necessary.
This type of cat will meow excessively when you’re about to leave the house and she’ll lay on your laptop and force you to take breaks. She may also need you by her side when she’s eating and she’ll share your bed with you.
However, this clinginess may be healthy as well as unhealthy. That’s why there are two distinctive velcro cats: needy cats and demanding cats. Can you already guess the difference?
A demanding cat is simply being rude. She’ll loudly vocalize her needs, wake you up in the morning on purpose, interrupt you while you’re doing something, and even force you to pick her up with her weird behavior.
These fluffs are pretty stubborn, so if you let her control your life, she’ll know how to use that advantage over you. But needy cats aren’t that bad, are they?
What are the signs of a needy cat?
Before you jump to conclusions and put a “needy” tag on your friendly feline, I’ll let you know how to actually figure out if your cat deserves that adjective.
If your fluff is trying to get your attention when she’s hungry and she clearly enjoys spending time on her own, she’s not needy. On the other hand, if she’s constantly following you around the house (even to the bathroom), licking you all the time, or kneading you very often, she deserves the tag.
The feline that eats on her own, plays by herself, and sleeps alone in her cozy bed isn’t needy. But, the fluff that’s regularly staring at you, interrupts you while you’re working, jumps on your lap out of nowhere, and wants you to watch her while she’s eating is definitely a sign of unhealthy attachment.
So, shortly said, if you’re not able to pee, sleep, or eat on your own – yes, you have a needy cat. I’m not sure if I should congratulate you or not. However, I’m sure that you’ll be able to deal with her clinginess properly.
Why is your cat needy?
Since we’ve figured out what it means to have a needy cat, we have to go through all the reasons why she’s behaving this way. Reasons vary from simple boredom to one when you’re expecting (if you’re a woman reading this). There are also some underlying health issues that she may have.
Without further ado, let’s check all these reasons out.
1. She’s bored
I think this reason is the first one that crossed your mind too. When your fluff has nothing else to do and no one else to bother, of course, she’ll annoy you. If you have a kitten, he or she will require more attention and entertainment than an adult cat.
So, if your cat doesn’t have enough stimulation to use her energy, she’ll become needy. Boredom can turn on a “destructive cat” mode as well. So, you can be happy that she didn’t start destroying your furniture, scratching, or biting you and other household members.
2. She’s insecure
Another thing that we share with our felines is that we’re sometimes insecure too. In those moments, we need nothing more than the assurance that we’re good enough. So, it’s the same with your fluff.
Your cat will be a needy one if you just adopted her to your home. Or some of the things in your routine changed. Or you lost a family member that was spending a lot of time with her. She may also feel lost after your kids go to school, and they’ve spent their whole holiday playing with her.
She clearly isn’t comfortable being by herself and probably doesn’t know how to play on her own. Also, if you leave her alone for long hours during the day, she may feel insecure and even develop separation anxiety.
3. She’s trying to comfort you
Are you feeling a little bit under the weather? Your cat can sense that and she’s not being needy because she’s egoistic. Au contraire; she wants to make you feel better. She’s well aware of your emotions and that her presence will cheer you up. So, she’ll snuggle and have a daytime nap with you if that will “fix you”.
Keep in mind then, if you’re going through a bad period in your life, your fluff will share some extra love with you, simply to comfort you.
4. She’s spoiled
There’s nothing weird about this, pets can be spoiled too. If your cat is needy, it may be because you were giving her everything she wanted while she was growing up. Toys, scratching posts, undivided attention – you name it.
Failing to set up boundaries when she’s a kitten may result in having a clingy cat when she grows up. So, try not to let her manipulate you and deny her some things that she’s asking for.
5. She’s anxious or stressed
Everybody knows by now that felines are pretty sensitive creatures. Even the smallest change can affect their mental health and behavior. If your cat’s under a lot of stress or she has anxiety, she’ll definitely be needy and she’ll insist to be in your company.
Perhaps a loud noise scared her like a thunderstorm or door slamming, and your hug is her safe place. It’s also possible that she’s afraid of new people and pets, or that there’s something in the current environment that doesn’t make her feel comfortable.
6. She’s going through hormonal changes
Your cat can become needy out of a sudden if she’s going through some hormonal changes. Maybe she’s expecting, or she’s in heat? Both of these conditions will make her crave your attention and she may turn on the “needy cat mode”.
7. She has separation anxiety
One of the serious reasons why you have a needy cat is separation anxiety. If your fluff has been separated from her family too early, or she was abandoned before by her owner, she may be struggling with this problem.
If she has separation anxiety, your cat will despise spending time alone. She’ll constantly be in your lap, follow you around the house and even sleep with you. When you’re out of the house, she may defecate outside of her litter box, destroy your furniture, or overgroom herself to the point of creating bald patches.
8. She has some health issues
Unfortunately, underlying health issues may be listed here as well. I know you wouldn’t like to read that something severe may be the reason why your cat is needy. Sadly, it can be. There are a couple of things, so we’ll slowly go through all of them.
Cerebellar hypoplasia (or shortly CH) is a neurological condition that a needy cat may have. This illness makes your fluff an extraordinary attention seeker and a first-class cuddler. You’ll notice that she has balance issues as well and her coordination may be messed up a bit too.
Dementia will also make your cat more clingy. If your fluff is getting old, that may be a reason why she’ll rather curl up in your lap, than run after toys.
Hyperthyroidism, poisoning, anemia, high blood pressure, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or some cognitive dysfunctions may also greatly affect her behavior. Of course, she’ll show some other physical and mental changes as well, so you won’t have to think twice before calling your vet.
Honestly, it’s better to make an appointment and rule out health problems if you’re struggling with a needy cat. If she’s not sick, your vet may advise you to talk with a cat behaviorist. They may help you get rid of the clinginess.
9. She needs more attention
The only natural reason why your cat suddenly became needy is that she actually needs more attention. Perhaps, you were playing with her daily and you had a bedtime routine before, but something messed it up.
Whether we’re talking about your job, a new family member, or a new fluff in the hood, your cat’s not satisfied with the amount of love you’re giving her. So, if you can’t figure out that something’s off, she’s going to show you.
10. It’s in her DNA
Some of these beautiful felines have clingy purrsonality and they’re proudly showing it off. In fact, they’re well-known for this trait. These cats constantly want to be around their owner, spend a lot of quality time with them, and even follow them around! I think you saw this one coming, didn’t you?
Breeds like Siamese, Burmese, Persian, or Abyssinian are simply needy cats. There’s no need to worry about any other possible problem from the list when it’s in their DNA. So, don’t complain if you have one of these, simply enjoy the love they’re giving you.
11. Her female pet owner is pregnant
Okay, this one may sound a bit strange, but some cats can actually sense this. If her pet parent is pregnant, a cat may become overly affectionate to the point where she comes off as needy.
It’s still pretty mysterious how some felines know that their hooman is expecting. But, don’t be surprised if she decides to get closer to your baby bump and cuddle. You’ve probably heard that some cats can get aggressive and even attack pregnant women, but in your case, that’s clearly not true.
12. You have one too many pets
I understand that you love animals, but do you really need to have a lot of pets? If you have a needy cat and she started annoying you (together with all other problems, of course), a multiple-pet household may be the problem.
When you have more pets, your feline probably doesn’t feel safe or comfortable. In that case, she’s asking for your affection to calm down a bit. Basically, she’s seeking her hiding place, away from all the mess that’s happening.
If you plan on having multiple cats, you have to keep in mind that each one of them needs to have her own litter box, food bowl, and a place where she can run away from everybody. As soon as you fulfill her basic needs, she’s going to feel secure and she won’t follow you around as much.
How can you reduce clinginess in cats?
As you could see, there are different reasons why you may be dealing with a needy cat. She’s either bored, anxious, or under stress, or she may have some underlying health issues. Some of the reasons were surprising, others expected.
But, is there a way to reduce clinginess in cats? Of course! In fact, there are a couple of solutions for her needy behavior depending on the possible problem that may be causing this. So, let’s go through them.
1. Figure out why she’s clingy
First and foremost, you have to figure out why your cat is behaving a certain way. Is it a new plant pot that you’ve bought the main reason why your cat is stressed? Could it be that she doesn’t like to eat alone, so that’s the reason why she wants you to watch her while she’s eating?
As soon as you figure out what the cause of her clinginess is, it will be easier for you to solve the issue at hand. Sometimes, it’s not going to be easy, or obvious at a first glance, but be a detective and conduct your own investigation.
2. Visit the vet
The best move that you could do is to take your needy cat to the vet. You’ll be calmer once you rule out the possible health issues and he may give you some advice on what to do next.
If your fluff’s behavior changed all of a sudden, and you’re sure that nothing happened that could cause her stress or anxiety, he could tell you to visit the cat’s behaviorist. That specialist may help you decode her behavior and you’ll know if she’s just being mean, or if something else is wrong.
3. Give her more attention, but under your conditions
Simple but effective, wouldn’t you agree? If your cat needs more attention, give her more of it. However, make sure you set some boundaries and teach her proper behavior. For example, close your bathroom door when you’re going to use it, so she knows that she’s not welcome inside.
Also, move her from your lap when she hops in uninvited, but put her next to you on the sofa and pet her. This way, you’ll teach her that she may get the affection, but that she shouldn’t interrupt you in your daily tasks (especially if you work from home).
4. Buy her more toys
Somewhere at the beginning of the article, I told you that a needy cat is a bored cat. That’s why she needs more toys to keep her attention. Try to get her as many various toys as possible and spend some time playing with her.
However, make sure that she knows how to use them and make her spend some time playing alone. This way your feline will become more independent and you’ll also work on her self-esteem.
You can also get her some toys that contain catnip or simply spray her toys with a catnip spray. They will keep her entertained and help her relax as well. The catnip will give her that much-needed kitty-high in stressful situations.
Scratchers, special feeders, or water fountains may work wonders as well! When she has a lot of entertainment, she may forget about needing your attention. And I guarantee you, you’ll have one happy fluff!
5. Train her
Train her – as simple as that! You’re the only one who can teach her basic catiquette. That is if she didn’t spend enough time with older cats when she was a kitten. Please, take things slowly, because even minor changes affect your feline.
When she’s asking for your attention, meowing loudly, or restlessly chasing your ankles, try to distract her somehow. Cats don’t like loud noises, so she’ll definitely stop whatever she was doing to figure out what’s happening. Just make sure you don’t scare her, okay?
Also, don’t make a scene when you’re leaving home and tell her goodbye for a few minutes. Of course, you’ll miss her, but don’t get all mushy and kiss her a zillion times before closing that door behind you. She’ll think it’s a big deal and she’ll surely behave that way. Especially if she already has problems with separation.
6. Stick to the status quo
As you probably know by now, cats are creatures of habit, and they stick to their routines. Even if it may be a bit boring or overwhelming at some point, the status quo is the best solution. Don’t change anything; playtime, bedtime, feeding routine, her litter box place – nothing.
If you taught her by now that after lunch she’s getting cuddles and most probably a daytime nap, keep it up. I know that you don’t always have enough spare time, but the queen of your home (and heart!) needs to have it her way.
7. Reward her for a good behavior
There are cat breeds that are easily trainable, but most of them can do a trick or two and follow some ground rules. So, why wouldn’t you discourage unacceptable behavior and reward her for a good?
Teach her that destructive behavior is not going to grab your attention and that there is a proper place and time when she can get cuddles. This is going to be hard at first, especially if you’re dealing with a needy cat, but I’m sure you can do it.
However, if you decide that you need some professional help, you can always ask a cat behaviorist for some advice.
8. Adopt another fluff
This is surely not a decision you make overnight, but adopting a new fluff may actually help your current cat to be less needy. If she has to stay alone for most of the day while you’re at work or running errands, having another feline around to keep her company may be helpful.
Your furbaby won’t crave your attention as much and she surely won’t jump to you as soon as you enter your apartment. And who knows, maybe they become besties and start sleeping together.
Your furry tagalong may sometimes be annoying, but I’m sure you appreciate her affection a bit more after reading some of the reasons above. I know that an extremely needy cat is probably not the fluff of your dreams, but there are different ways you can change that.
Of course, the bond between the two of you should be strong, but you need to set up some boundaries. It’s not going to be easy, especially if you’re a first-time pet owner, so I wish you good luck!