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Too Clingy? Suggestions To Help Make Your CH Cat Less Dependent

March 19, 2013

While we all love devoted kitties, sometimes their desire to be close to us can be too much.

Photo courtesy Craig C.

If you’ve determined your cat is definitely clingy (and not demanding – that’s another post!), don’t worry. There are a few things you can try to help your cat become more independent.

The overarching idea here is that you want to build your cat’s confidence in his own abilities, in how he feels about your home, and how he feels about other members of your family.

By helping him feel more comfortable and confident in all of these three areas, he’ll hopefully blossom a bit and lessen his clingy tendencies.

Encourage your cat to become more independent. This can range from allowing him to climb up/jump down from a bed or couch to letting him try climbing your carpeted stairs. By allowing your cat to do more things on his own (safely, of course! Or at least with supervision), he may become more confident and rely less on you.

Similarly, if you don’t have one, establish a stable daily routine in your household. By waking up, serving your cat’s meals, and going to sleep around the same time each day, your cat will become more confident and less nervous about when daily activities will occur.

If you can, consider leaving some dry food out during the day. This way your cat can eat when he wants to, so he’s not so dependent on you for every feeding. (This tip can apply to both clingy and demanding cats!)

Consider adopting a friend for him. Some cats cling to us and won’t leave us alone for the simple reason that they’re lonely. While your cat has obviously bonded with you, he may benefit from socializing and bonding with another cat. Visit your local shelter and meet the cats there; the shelter staff will be able to tell you if they have a good buddy for your kitty. If you’re interested in adopting another CH cat, you can find adoptable CH cats here.

If you think your cat is lonely only while you’re out, consider leaving a radio on (think a talk radio station). This may help him feel more comfortable until you return.

Photo courtesy TheGiantVermin.

Provide some mental stimulation. It may sound silly, but give your cat a hobby. For example, consider purchasing a bird feeder and posting it outside of a window your cat can see out of. This will help by encouraging him to do something he enjoys. By finding joy in one independent activity, he may learn to find joy in being independent in other ways, too.

Even if a bird feeder isn’t an option, a window can provide countless hours of entertainment. Also consider providing some new toys for your cat. But don’t worry – they don’t need to be expensive. Here’s a list of fun free cat toys.

Schedule out daily playtime. Carve out a few minutes in your day to play with your cat. Playing not only provides a chance for exercise, but it can also help build her confidence. It can build her interest in her own toys, which she may start playing with on her own.

Provide a security blanket. Sometimes our cat simply needs a safe place of his own. That may mean a safety blanket, that may mean a sweatshirt that smells of you. You may want to put the blanket or shirt in your cat’s bed, or in a box. That way, your cat has a safe, comfortable place to retreat to whenever he pleases.

Build relationships with others. Your cat may be clingy because he sees you as the safe one, the provider. If this is the case, spend time building your cat’s relationships with others in your household. This may mean your husband takes over feeding them. Perhaps your daughter can be the one playing with your cat daily. This will increase your cat’s trust in others, and allow her to feel more comfortable around the rest of your family.

Since your cat may have insecurity issues, you may want to try these tips slowly and one by one in your household. Making too many changes at once may be even more intimidating and have an opposite effect. But, by being patient and changing your habits and interactions with your cat, you may be able to see some progress!

Do you have a clingy cat? How have you tried to build her confidence and make her more independent? Please share in the comments!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Brittany Maus permalink
    December 21, 2013 12:29 am

    I got my Charles from a shelter when he was 6 months old. 🙂 He will be 8 years old in April. I work from home now but he has always been clingy. But hes def. 🙂 and I like that he is clingy. Hes very lovable and can sometimes be independant. Hes very quiet. Rarely does he ever meow and I leashed trained him. Hes wonderful hes clean and he is never around other people but yet a big crowd could come in the house and he would great everyone. He loves people. 🙂 you have some wonderful things on here and its nice to be able to learn new things.

    • December 26, 2013 2:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Brittany! Charles sounds like a special cat!

  2. Michelle permalink
    June 11, 2014 8:44 pm

    My cat doesn’t have CH (that I know of) but this and the one before are super helpful articles! I can’t tell if my cat is clingy or demanding, but the clingy ideas seem to fit… new home, new space, nobody else but me (and a 16 month old toddler who gets a little too excited when she sees a furry animal) She did have a hard life before my cousin rescued her, but then my cousin couldn’t keep her, so I took her. I am going to get her a feline friend, I just have to wait for the kitty to be neutered before his foster mama will let him go!

  3. paige odebralski permalink
    April 2, 2015 1:04 am

    All of these tips that you have given are very good the only thing is almost all of them stand in my house my kitten when I found him on the side of the road June of 2014 he was so tiny I guessed him to be about two months old which would mean he’s almost a year now. He’s the biggest mommas boy I’ve even met but not only with me but with my mother as well and sometimes guests we have. There’s 2 other cats in the house along with a small dog they all get along just fine and play all day. The cats are fed twice a day and have dry food out all day long I don’t feed them my mother does. Also my bedroom is open 24/7 to where my kitten can come in and sleep on my bed. I’m worried he will never break this habit always being in my face purring and what not I love it but its annoying sometimes. He also has this special pillow well it was mine till he took over it. Its fuzzy and he will suck on the fuzziness and kneed it like he was trying to get milk from his mother it’s so cute. If you have any hints as in what I should do or if it’s best to just leave it alone it would be greatly appreciated thank you.

  4. April 23, 2015 2:40 pm

    My cat is five I got him from a shelter 4 months ago.I have had several cats. This cat is so needy at times it is annoying. You pet him he puts his tail in your face he nudges you with his head .It gos on all day long when friends come he does it to them as well.Help!!!

    • Chrismarie permalink
      December 4, 2015 9:54 am

      The head nudge is called bunting. It means he loves you with all he has! Be kind, he’s probably just grateful

  5. Donna vescelus permalink
    August 23, 2015 2:55 am

    It’s like ur actually talking about my natty, very interesting and helpful, I love ur writing please don’t ever stop

  6. December 24, 2015 2:12 pm

    Not sure how to recognize cat depression or just some more needed daily play time, difficult to notice the difference with my Orange female tabby cat. She has been little more clingy than usual, not long ago she was bouncing all over and sometimes mess with other cats. I think there needs to be more tips to manage this on line. Does anyone know of a good animal book or behaviorist for cat?

  7. Lynda Grice permalink
    February 14, 2017 6:21 pm

    My cat is 17 years old. I’ve had him since he was rescued from a hole under a building in the winter months 17 years ago by my son-in-law. The vet we took him to so he could be checked out estimated he was around 6weeks old, either had been abandoned there by someone or wandered away from his mother and litter mates and somehow endeded up under the building for shelter. I ended up keeping the kitten altho I had a 5 year old female Maine Coon whwas a very gentle laid back cat. The kitten and my adult cat (Missy)bonded very well. Sammie, the kitty was an indoor cat and so was Missy. I think Sammie thought Missy was his mother! He frequently slept wrapped around her in her bed. Sadly Missy became I’ll and died two years ago. I talked to our vet because Sammie began to walk around the house meowing all the time and exploring the closets and weird places. The vet said he was grieving for Missy. Then Sammie started to be very clingy to me and I get no rest. He follows me around the house constantly. I can’t even go to the bathroom or take a bath in private. He sleeps on my bed with me and will meow at me and go towards my bedroom, demanding that he’s ready for me to go to bed because he’s ready for me to get in under the covers so he can cuddle with me in the warm room. He also still does the kneading thing a lot…against my arm or back!!!

    I need help! Sammie is driving me crazy. I always leave TV on and lights in living room and bedroom when I have to be gone…like to the store or visit friends!

    • CHRISTINE BURLO permalink
      January 9, 2018 6:47 am

      Hi my cat Snowy, he is going to be 18 years old in April, i have had him since he was a kitten and lived with his mother all this time. Unfortunately his mother died last october she was 19 years old and he seems to be missing her terribly and is doing all the things you have mentioned. He has become very very clingy to all of us ( my husband , daughter and myself) – unfortunately he has to stay alone during the day as we are all at work but when we get home he literally clings himself to one of us round our necks and won;t let go ! – i am really worried about him as his meows are very distressful and he seems so miserable all the time now he was such a happy cat before his mum died 😦

  8. February 24, 2017 1:46 pm

    My cat will not let me put him down. He wants to be up in my arms, or if I’m sitting down he has to be on my lap. He also does the exact same thing with my husband. To me it seems like he’s scared otherwise. He is definitely not lonley I have two others who are his brother and sister and I am here all day he has his own bed and more than enough toys. I really believe that it’s a mental problem. Like, paranoia. And when I get tired of holding him which I do a lot so does my husband, carrying him around with us bcuz no matter what the reason for this behavior is he still feels like he feels and it breaks my heart to see the way he looks when I demand for him to stay down off of me, a lot of the time he’ll jump right back on me when I put him down. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know what you think. Thank you.

  9. November 11, 2017 5:35 am

    I’ve got a ch cat who needs to bond with me more if you have any suggestions I would really apreciate it her name is jasmine she’s such a sweet cat but she’s more donned with mom then she is with me how can I get her rebonded with me

  10. Samantha B. permalink
    April 9, 2018 4:54 pm

    So clingy that if I’m standing just so I can have some space, she reaches out to paw me. In early 2015 my brother rescued the cat from a living situation whete a friend’s roommate’s cat beat her up. She was an only cat living with an elderly dog (whom she glared at. He ignored her, & passed in April 2015. She hung with my brother, so I didn’t see much of the clingy then. But he met & married a lovely woman who had 2 cats & a dog. We moved to a larger house in April 2017, one cat left & we adopted a Bengal cat who had been ditched in the neighborhood. This clingy cat is driving me crazy! I don’t like clingy anything. My late, great wolfdog ranged from indifferent to understated, fine by me. This cat now is a fixture. She’s on my bed all day ( except for food & brief excursions outside), & all night. I once petted her for as long as she wanted. It was 35 minutes! Then 15 minutes later she’s head-butting me for attention. I’ve texted the wrong thing, made nail polish smears because she starts pawing at me. I move to another corner of the bed, she follows me. She wakes me up for affection. I startle awake. If there’s a fire or an intruder, I can cope. Not so much for trivial teasons. I yell, get a brief reprieve, then she does it again. I try to close the door to the rest of the house, making the apartment catless. She hides until I close the door, even though I never picked her up and put her into the rest of the house. I can’t even make the bed with her around. Yes, she has outdoor access with someone always there to let her back in. There’s free feeding dry food. She quits playing after a minute (she never played until she saw the Bengal play). We have a house full of windows, including 2 in front of a feeder. Any suggestions? She doesn’t want anything to do with the other cats.

  11. Jerri Cady permalink
    July 27, 2018 9:00 am

    My kitten came to me two weeks ago and already he has this problem where he can only sleep if he’s laying on my chest, above my head, or right next to me. Although this makes me feel good because I was going to register him as a companion cat because I suffer from bipolar disorder, PTSD, and major depressive disorder. It wasn’t until just recently he started licking blankets, my clothes, and yesterday he was licking a plastic freeze pop wrapper I was eating from. He also seems like he has ocd because he cleans himself 6 times a day. I thought some of his behaviors where odd. I play with him a lot all day, he plays peek a boo with my boyfriend, he has a game on my cell phone that have fish on it that he has to catch, and I’ve even put him on a leash to go outside. We never go very far, just around the house so he can get some fresh air. He jumps up on the couch and bed with the help of a child’s stool. I even leave him alone, I have to put him in the bathroom with his food, toys, and bed when I leave the house because he’s went potty on my couch 3 times. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong here. Every time he falls asleep on my chest and say I have to get up and go to the bathroom and I move him to the pillows or the couch, he will get up and follow me into the bathroom and start crying. He’s almost 11 weeks old now and he stayed with his mother until he was 8 weeks. Should I be concerned or is this just a phase that he will eventually break out of? Please help. Sincerely j.cady

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