Everyone loves spending some time with their cat, but sometimes they don’t know when enough is enough. Despite their reputation as solitary animals, you can end up with a cat following you room to room like it’s your shadow. It is strange behavior, and it can be easy to wonder why.
You might think it is because you have not been spending enough time with your cat or that they’re lonely. However, there are a few reasons that cats do this. Like any other strange cat behavior, it can be explained in a few ways. There is also the possibility that your cat has just been in a strange mood!
Cats can enjoy cuddling with their owners just as much as dogs do. Although, they do tend to like some personal space, so you’re likely to have more time alone with a cat around than you would with a dog. This makes it a bit jarring when a cat decides to spend all of its time following you around.
There are some explanations for why your cat may have taken to doing this recently. However, if your cat has always done this behavior then it may be a hard habit to break. It could even be a sign of separation anxiety, which needs to be treated if you want your cat to get over this strange habit.
Because They Want Something
If your cat is following you from room to room for only a brief period of time, it is probably because they want your attention for something. A lot of pet owners might be reminded that it’s time for their friend’s dinner by them beginning to accompany you everywhere you go.
That is a gentle reminder from your cat that they expect this following to end in some food for them. Cats may be replicating this behavior because they want something from you. It could be that their litter needs changing, they need more or even something silly like needing your help to get a favorite toy out from under some furniture or hard to reach place.
This kind of nagging following can be irritating. However, if your cat is following you around expecting to be fed a lot more often then you should be, it could be a sign of a bigger problem. A cat with undiagnosed diabetes or one that has had a change in appetite can repeat this behavior more often. If you’re concerned that your cat is following you around more often mainly for food, then a trip to the vet might be beneficial.
As a Sign of Affection
A cat may be following you around the house because of sheer affection. They might just want to express their feelings for you and choose to do so by attaching themselves to you at the ankle. If this happens, it may just be because your cat is in a weirdly clingy mood. Hormones affect the way that animals act just as much as humans. This is nothing to worry about.
If your cat persists doing this as a sign of affection, it might only be because this is how they express their affection. It isn’t necessarily something to worry about, some owners quite like having their cat around at all times.
If your cat follows you around constantly because of affection, it isn’t always good news. Sometimes this can be a sign of separation anxiety in your cat. This is a problem that is caused by your pet being unprepared to cope in your absence. This condition isn’t particularly nice for our pets. It can lead them to act out and destroy things when alone. As well as not using their litter box when alone, they often destroy just about anything to hand out of anxiety. This makes owners less likely to leave them on their own. Separation anxiety isn’t limited to pets who are alone too much. Cats who have plenty of interaction and rarely get left on their own can become unhealthily attached, causing unnecessary problems when they are left unaccompanied.
Is Your Cat Following You Around Because of Separation Anxiety?
While most cats will be following their owners around because of something harmless, in some pets it can be a sign of separation anxiety. If you’re concerned about this, then it is worthwhile considering the other symptoms and assessing if your cat demonstrates any of them. Following you around may be a symptom of separation anxiety, but it isn’t the only or most prominent one. Most cats who are suffering from separation anxiety will demonstrate more of these symptoms than following their owners around:
- Excessive meowing or moaning
- Not using their litter box – Going wherever in the house, either when alone or just after you return.
- Excessive grooming
- Destroying Furniture
- Distress as You Leave – A Cat may become distressed as you begin to go about your normal routine for leaving.
- Overexcitement When You Return
These are clearer signs of separation anxiety in cats than just following you around. If your pet doesn’t demonstrate any of these destructive behaviors, then it is more likely that they are simply an affectionate pet. Being loving towards an owner isn’t always a sign of a problem.
How to Get Your Cat to Stop Following You Around
If your cat following you around is causing some problems, then you might wonder how you can get them to stop. While all pet owners enjoy spending time with their friends, it can become a bit of a hassle. Even pets should spend some time entertaining themselves. It doesn’t mean to try and get your cat to not follow you around at the heel. How to get them to stop following you around is going to depend on why they are following you around.
If They’re Following You Around Because They Want Something
If your cat is following you around because they want something, then there are a few ways you can cut down on this. The obvious one is to give them what they want. However, this isn’t always the best solution. If your cat is following you around until they are fed this can be a problem since you can’t feed your cat an endless amount in a day. You need to remain firm about when they eat. After a while of your not being rewarded for following you around, they should stop this behavior. This is particularly important if your cat has a weight problem.
The important thing is to not reward them for following you around. Wait until they leave you alone before beginning to feed them. This should teach them that pestering you won’t always get them what they want.
If Your Cat is Following You Around Because of Affection
This reason for a cat to be following you around is a little harder to do anything about. Usually, cats will grow out of this over-attachment. It might just be because they missed you that day. It is typically a brief phase of attachment for them and they may grow out of it. Other cats are just tuned to this type of expression. In this case, your cat might eventually start living more independently, but they will probably remain a very affectionate animal.
If Your Cat is Following You Around Because of Separation Anxiety
If separation anxiety is the reason for your cat following you around then this is a bit more serious than the other reasons. A good way to deal with separation anxiety is to help them have a better time when you’re not home. This includes giving them perches or space by a window to watch outside. You can ensure you’re providing stimulating toys for them to play with, and even toys that dispense food to give them some active play.
Leaving the TV or the radio on when you’re not home will also help a cat with separation anxiety. You should also ensure that they have a safe space to retreat to. Working on this while ensuring your cat is receiving plenty of playtime with you each day should help them get over their separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is a difficult problem for cats. If you’re struggling with it then you may have to tolerate your cat following you everywhere for a little while.
If Your Cat is Following You Around Because of Boredom
Indoor cats may be following you around just because they are bored. If this is the case, then the solution is easier. Ensure you’re providing them with enough ways to entertain themselves. You should get them some cat furniture or cat toys that they would like to play with. Walks or Catios could also help by giving them some different stimulation. Distracting your cat with a toy should get them to stop following you for a little while.
Should You Let Your Cat Follow You Everywhere?
As much as you like having your pet around, it may be a bit of a burden to have them constantly following you. You shouldn’t feel bad about trying to get them to spend a little more time on their own. It is healthy for a cat to have a life outside of you!
If your cat is following you out of boredom or because they want something, then addressing it should be quite easy. Things will be a bit harder if they’re following you because of separation anxiety. However, with a bit of work put in you can help your cat become more comfortable being alone.