This short post came to me while I was out buying the paper. 😉 Sometimes domestic cats are gently criticised for being too needy. What this means is that they are constantly approaching their owner, getting underfoot, demanding to be allowed onto their owner’s lap and generally instigating interactions all the time which might after a while irritate the owner because it prevents them getting on with their day-to-day chores.
I don’t think it’s a problem but I understand why some people might. The domestic cat can get underfoot sometimes and you can’t see them every time they do this so you’ve got to check. You don’t want to trip up over your cat or walk on your cat.
The irritation doesn’t come from the fact that you might trip up but that the fact that you might harm your cat and you just don’t want to do that accidentally.
But it’s been said over and over again or at least I have said it over and over again 🤢 that the consensus today is that the relationship between cat caregiver and domestic cat is one of surrogate feline mother to kitten from the cat’s perspective.
This is to be expected because the caregiver provides in every way for their adult cat and in doing this the relationship replicates the genuine feline mother to kitten nursing relationship.
And so, the adult cat sometimes slips into kitten behaviour and in doing this they are going to be apparently ‘needy’.
It depends on the individual cat how they respond to this “artificial” relationship. Some cats are more independent-minded. When allowed outside they revert to wild cat instincts and this helps to maintain their adult cat personality and perhaps loosens slightly the human-to-cat relationship which in turn prevents them from being so needy.
The bottom line from this is, I believe, that we, humans, created this relationship. We instigated cat domestication with the cat’s consent and I don’t think we can complain if our cat companion is “needy”. It’s to be expected sometimes depending on the individual cat.
Of course, there are other experience factors which can affect whether a cat is needy or not. For example, some kittens are weaned too early from their mother which predisposes them to wool sucking or sucking their owner’s ear or hand for example. That’s an example of neediness perhaps in the extreme. Once again it will be brought about by human behaviour.
What can be done to prevent a cat being needy? I don’t think you should do anything. I don’t think you should prevent it happening because that might upset your cat. It might loosen the bond between you and your cat companion.
I think the best way to deal with a needy cat is to ask yourself whether they are genuinely needy because this may be a perception issue from you. And secondly to learn to live with it and enjoy it.
I believe the solution is within the person by which I mean changing the person’s attitude rather than changing the cat’s behaviour. Just my thought on this. Each person will have their own.
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