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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!

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10 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!

  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.

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