Clingy Cats

Clingy cats? Do they really exist? There is a fine difference between a cat who likes to be close to you and a cat who needs to be close to you.

Perhaps when people refer to their cat as clingy they are using the word in the same way they’d use it to describe the behaviour of a child. Is that a good idea? After all cats are different to people and I am not sure that once a cat is an adult they are capable of being clingy. Sometimes cats just like to be close to their human companion, which is a reflection of an excellent relationship.

Clingy child
Clingy child
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However, there may be an overlap between clingy behaviour in kids and cat behaviour that looks like human clingy behaviour.

Children can become clingy because of separation anxiety. It is the distress a child experiences when he/she is separated from her carer for a time. Perhaps the mother takes her child to a nursery or school social event and the child clings on not wanting to be separated.

Cats can suffer from separation anxiety. That seems to be fairly well established. When this happens the cat does not cling on to her human companion as she leaves but the anxiety is expressed in the home in forms of territorial marking such as spraying and sometimes defecating; markers to help the cat feel more secure at home.

Love cat style

The picture above shows one cat clinging onto another but this is temporary and two cats who are friends interacting with each other. This picture is not an example of clingy cat behaviour, in my opinion.

So what are we to make of the video? My opinion is that it is the behaviour of a cat enjoying interacting with and being close to her human companion. It is as simple as that. It is cat love if you want to use human terminology.

But for me, the word “clingy” does not usually apply to the domestic cat. However, there may be occasions when it might occur and there may be individual cats who, in their own way, do show signs of distress when their human leaves them for the day or longer. It may not be hanging on as children do. There may be some other more subtle signs. Do you know what they might be?

1 thought on “Clingy Cats”

  1. Loved the video, and my take is that the cat is mildly clingy, not wanting to release her human.

    I don’t think clinginess is necessarily a sign of stress/ anxiety. In my case, I think that I actually nurtured that behavior from kittenhood with a couple of my cats.

    I’ve carried (sort of) Damon since he was 6-7 weeks old. He’s an adult now and still clings to me for some hours every day. It doesn’t impede me at all because we have developed a way for me to be hands free sometimes. He clutches me around the neck and my shirt is pulled up and tied to create a sort of cradle that supports his bum.

    I leave it up to him to decide when he wants to stop clinging, which usually is centered around needing to use the litter or snoozing .


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