My Cat Is Too Needy. Advice Please

My cat is too needy, What can I do? This is a fictional re-modelling of a real “cat behavior problem” which probably occurs in many homes.  What does a “needy cat” mean and why do people need help to stop a needy cat being needy?  Also what might cause a cat to be needy?

Needy Cat

Needy Cat. Note, this is just an illustration. Photo by creatingkoan

Scenario

This cat lived in a home with a couple, man and women, for a number of years. The cat behaved normally until one of them left because the relationship broke up. Since then the cat has been “needy”.

Needy Cat Signs

The signs of this fictional needy cat are: she…

  • Rubs herself against me all the time. She does it a lot more than usual and for longer.
  • Rubs against my face while I am asleep.
  • Yowls outside a closed interior door; for example when I am in the bathroom.
  • Sleeps on my pillow and on my head.
  • Constantly stares at me.
  • Won’t play with a toy. Just wants to be with me.
  • She hates other animals so it is impossible to get another cat as a companion.
  • She stays in my room.
  • She is frightened of most things.

OK, a person lives with a cat that likes to be with her all the time making demands on her. This starts to irritate the cat’s owner. The cat’s owner starts to ignore her cat. She starts to think about relinquishing her cat. Solutions need to be found.


Advice

Question

What is the big deal? This cat is very connected with the remaining person. Why doesn’t the person accept it and like it? That would be the simple answer. It seems that in this instance it takes two to tango. Is this a case of a cat that is needy or a person who doesn’t really want to keep a cat unless the cat is just there adorning the house?

Although that question is probably valid and fair, the assessment does not resolve the problem. It does, however, highlight a major issue regarding keeping a domestic cat – expectations. If what we expect and accept is different to what we get there will be problems and the cat will be the one to suffer.

Medical

Is this a case of a cat who formed a close relationship with the person who left before the relationship broke up? Is this cat stressed and has she become anxious because of the loss of the person who left?

Let’s decide that it is a case of cat anxiety. Perhaps it is separation anxiety. If this is what is happening shouldn’t the person who remains be sensitive and supportive towards the cat rather than become upset herself?

Feliway

Feliway is a man made synthetic version of the scent produced by the glands on the side of a cat’s face; a pheromone. I actually wonder about this product because it is generic (general) and I thought each cat produces his own particular scent. That is the whole point of cat scent isn’t it. Perhaps not. Feliway is designed to “stop unwanted cat behavior”. It deals with cat stress. It comes to mind in this case.

Feliway is meant to create a sense of security and reassurance in the evironment for the cat. The cat becomes less stressed and in doing so will be less needy and clingy. That is the theory.

The general conclusion is either (a) that this needy cat is not needy at all and the problem is with the cat caretaker or (b) the cat is needy due to anxiety and needs to be calmed down. Feliway might do this. Otherwise:

  1. accept it or
  2. see the vet

In accepting this cat’s behavior the remaining person should do the opposite to what she might feel like doing, namely, spend more time with her cat. She should do everything to reassure her cat and eventually the cat will become attuned to the loss of a human companion that perhaps meant more to her than the person who remains.


Comments

My Cat Is Too Needy. Advice Please — 8 Comments

  1. A cat will not be needy if you play with it for a while regularly. You can always get a cat to play even if at first it doesnt seem possible. Its instinct and it always kicks in if you do the right things. This will solve all problems of health and psychology for the cat. If the cat is alone all day however even if you play alot when you are home its going to be very hard for the cat during the day so you must get another cat and do all the right things to ensure they get along. Again, play will help them to get along. Playing together will solve most problems although it might take time. First of all however – you must accept the problem and agree to work towards making it better. With that attitude and a few games and toys you can work wonders.

  2. Hi Michael,

    I agree with Marc – cat toys and quality time including play time.

    Furthermore, what was it about the other person that the cat might miss so badly aside from losing one of two parents. Perhaps the person with the cat could try some of that as well.

    The two people should discuss it for the sake of the cat. Maybe the person who left can figure out what the cat misses so much about that person.

    If possible, the person who left might come over a couple times a week to spend some time with the cat provided the two people can tolerate each other.

    If the cat is young enough, a second or even two more cats might help.

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

    • Hi Liz, good advice. I particularly like the “cat contact” or “cat access” idea. In other words the leaving partner visits occasionally to ease the problem. This is similar to the way divorcing parents deal with their children when they split up only the kids go and visit Dad rather than Dad coming to the home. Anyway a nice thought that crossed my mind after I wrote the post.

      Please you agree with Marc. Play time is the answer. That requires a bit of commitment from the caretaker and I wonder whether she is committed enough.

      • Hi Michael,

        You said, “…I wonder whether she is committed enough.”

        That was another thing about the post that worried me. It doesn’t seem like she is into being a cat parent. That’s a problem, what to do if that’s the case?

        It’s not good if the person who has the cat now starts neglecting the cat from this point on. That sort of person shouldn’t have a cat.

        One possibility is that the other person could come back and take the cat.

        =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

    • I agree – maybe even 2 more so the first doesn’t have to have the pressure constantly of a new cat. 2 new kittens will look after themselves and play with eachother and the first/orig cat can choose to join in or not.

  3. This poor needy cat is afraid her other person will vanish too, therefore she is making sure he knows how much she loves and needs him. Yowling when shut away from him, staring at him, sleeping on his pillow, rubbing more against him, she is marking him as her property, telling him not to go away too as she loves and needs him.
    He needs to be very patient and spend as much time as possible with the cat, leave unwashed an item of clothing he has worn, for her to lie on when he has to go out, so that she still feels close to him.
    Time and patience and lots of tlc will help the cat adjust and she will realise eventually that he isn’t going to desert her too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

To upload a photo (1) place the photo on the desktop of your computer (2) write your comment (3) click on the "browse" button below the comment area (4) select the photo (5) click on the "post comment" button (6) wait and it will appear if you are a regular. It failed? Please click this. Thanks.