My Elderly Cat Has Become Obsessively Affectionate

This is an interesting example of what can happen to elderly cats. In this instance an 18-year-old male cat who was always affectionate become almost totally deaf and as a consequence he became even more affectionate; excessively so, according to his caretaker.

He would constantly rub his mouth against his human companion’s hands and face and those of strangers. If it wasn’t hands and face it was something that the person was holding, such as a computer or mug.

When pushed away, he came back and persisted. At night he’d do the same thing. His ‘owner’ considered him neurotic. He was certainly in need of something and that something was and is, in my opinion, reassurance because he is feeling slightly anxious due to his hearing loss which has distanced him from his usual interactions with his human guardian. Perhaps, he is suffering from a form of separation anxiety even though his is not physically separated.

There may also be a bit of dementia which can cause uncertainty and confusion. Dementia in cats can lead to howling at night.

It is strange but I am reminded of a friend I have – a human – who is 85-years-of-age. He has lost his hearing and also his speech through dementia. He feels isolated. He feels cut off because he can no longer interact as he did before and he is a particularly sociable person.

When experiencing this a person will be distressed and seek reassurance that he is still loved and needed. I am not saying a cat feels exactly the same but the basics are the same. The emotions are similar.

Rubbing the side of the mouth against a person’s hand or an object is scent exchange. It deposits scent from the facial glands of the cat to the object and the cat receives the person’s scent. It merges the two and in doing so brings the cat closer to the person as a family member.

Five different facial pheromones, which are discharged from the glands of the face, have been isolated.

The best way forward is to accept it as part of the role of cat caretaker while providing as much reassurance as possible. Feliway is an artificial pheromone. It is meant to calm cats.

There is a cat food, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calm , which is meant to calm cats. Music and chat can calm a cat. And there is a supplement called Zylkene which is also meant to calm a cat!

There’s more….! Green tea can also calm cats. Phew. There are things one can do to calm a cat. This may make this elderly gent of a cat less anxious and feeling reassured. The best way to calm a cat who needs reassurance is to give it to him in bucket loads.

  • Source: Cat-World – Cat Forums
  • The picture is of Michael’s cat Gabriel. He is neither geriatric nor in need of reassurance (only sometimes!)

6 thoughts on “My Elderly Cat Has Become Obsessively Affectionate”

  1. Gabriel’s beautiful Michael! Looks just like my past furkid, Maya.

    People don’t want to accept the act that cats and all animals have feelings and emotions just like we do. They grieve for their lost companions, whether human or animal, they become anxious or fearful, usually with good reason. Humans love it when they see a happy animal, but seeing one that’s obviously in emotional distress bothers them.

    That 18 year old cat has a problem that none of us want to face: he’s old! I wish his people would get over that and give him all the TLC he needs.

  2. The “truth” about Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calm; the ingredients and nutrient analysis. Anyone care to comment? The first 5 ingredients are most important. What is this “special formula”? I must be missing something….
    From the Royal Canin website:

    “CALM has been specially formulated to assist in the management of stress and anxiety in the feline patient.”

    Dry food
    Packaging size: 4 kg, 8 kg
    Feline Calm dry diet

    Key Features & Benefits

    Formulated with milk protein hydrolyzate and supplemental tryptophan and nicotinamide
    Create a calming effect
    S/O index
    Reduces the risk of struvite and calcium oxalate crystal and stone formation
    Patented skin barrier blend (B-vitamins and an amino acid)
    Reduces water loss and strengthens the barrier effect of the skin
    Combination of vitamin A, biotin, chelated zinc and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
    Promotes healthy skin and a luxurious coat
    Optimal blend of prebiotics, fermentable and non-fermentable fibres
    Supports a healthy mucosa
    Optimizes stool quality

    Feeding Guide
    Ingredients and Nutrient Analysis

    Chicken by product meal, corn, brewers rice, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal, wheat, natural flavors, powdered cellulose, dried plain beet pulp, chicken fat, fish oil, calcium sulfate, salt, potassium chloride, DL-methionine, vegetable oil, fructooligosaccharides, taurine, L-lysine, psyllium seed husk, choline chloride, vitamins [DL-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), inositol, niacin supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), D-calcium pantothenate, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin A acetate, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], dried hydrolyzed casein, L-tryptophan, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta L.), trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate] , L-carnitine, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid.

    Calorie Content
    Approximately 353 kcal/cup, 368.0 kcal/100 g (NRC 2006)
    Approximately 330 kcal/cup, 343.4 kcal/100 g (NRC 85)
    95 g/cup
    Analysis table Amount
    Crude Protein (g/1000 kcal) 97.8
    Crude Fat (g/1000 kcal) 29.9
    Crude Fibre (g/1000 kcal) 10.9
    Calcium (g/1000 kcal) 3.1
    Phosphorus (g/1000 kcal) 2.7
    EPA and DHA (g/1000 kcal) 0.8
    Minerals Amount
    Sodium (g/1000 kcal) 1.9
    Potassium (g/1000 kcal) 2.3

    Royal Canin Veterinary Exclusive
    – See more at here

  3. I don’t believe that this poor boy is neurotic nor demented.
    His world has changed. He’s elderly and deaf.
    He’s seeking comfort and solice from the only sources that he knows.
    I think that it is so important for his caretakers to comply with his needs and desires now.


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