Post # 1
Hi all! I have a very sweet cat, but he’s becoming extremely needy for attention and affection. He’s always been a bit this way but it’s getting worse. To be clear, I completely understand why he might be anxious and needy right now. Last year I moved across the country with him and my other cat, and he had to say goodbye to my roommate’s 2 other cats who he grew up with as well as taking a long scary trip in a scary car, into a new scary home and meeting a new scary dog. It was rough for him and I tried to make the transition as easy and calm as possible. During this year he has gotten used to the home and the dog and is generally calm and happy. However, a few months ago I got married and went on a 3 week honeymoon. We had a family friend staying in our home for a large portion of that time, and he did get used to her and would cuddle and sleep with her. A month later we spent Christmas with my family, which was another week trip and the same family friend stayed over.
Since that time however, he’s become even more needy. I spend the majority of time at home. When I wake up, he needs to lay down on top of me or right next to me as I drink my coffee. That’s fine, but when I am trying to work, he now needs to be laying on the desk in my arms and refuses to be anywhere else. He’s normally quite skittish and gentle but in this instance he will barrel through anything and force himself in my arms. If I get up for any reason he follows me and meows, or stands by me waiting. I’ve tried creating alternate spaces for him but he’s not having it. In the evening he lays next to me or on me and gets tons of cuddles. When I go to bed he lays down next to me with his head on the pillow and stays all night.
It’s getting to the point that I’ve been delaying any trips or lengthy times out of the house because I feel like he is too anxious. However, due to a death in the family I have to leave for close to another week. We are having a relative stay over (my cats know this family member as she has stayed over pretty often).
I just feel so guilty and am not sure what to do. I’ve tried a mild antidepressant during the move, but the process of getting him to take any medication is extremely stressful for him. I’ve tried Feliway. He gets along with the other cat and is never alone, and gets a lot of snuggles and attention in general. He’s been to the vet and is perfectly healthy, eats and drinks well, everything seems good. Any advice bees?
Post # 2
- Wedding: June 2019 - Turkey
Ah bee, I haven’t got much of an advice but often times cats tend to tense up because of territory issues, does he have spaces to hang out in the house to keep him busy? Like a cat house or sth like that?
He’s just adorable though.
Post # 3
This might not help much but can you get a couple of your old, less used t-shirts, wear the heck out of them for a while before you leave and put them in your baby’s favorite spots or in his bed? I think having your scent might calm him a little.
Post # 5
Following because I have the same issue 🙁 My poor baby is absolutely neurotic.
Post # 5
Hmm I think my big long comment got deleted. Dang! To make it a bit shorter: I have a SUPER sweet but needy drama queen cat. My main advice was to not be afraid to say “no” when you don’t want to hold him as mine will push to try to get her way and try to get on my lap constantly. You obviously are already giving him plenty of attention, so this isn’t a case of being ignored. Mine will keep trying to get on my lap repeatedly (or be by my head when I sleep – which I can’t stand) and I have to be firm about saying no. What I do is I put a nice cozy blanket next to me (you could put one on a chair or something when you’re at the desk) and move him on to it when you don’t want to hold him. Pet/praise him when he is on it to encourage him to be there instead. Keep moving him there and doing it until he stops trying to get onto you (as many times at it takes). It will probably take a while and be prepared to do it basically every time, but he will get it eventually or get annoyed and go pout.
As far as other things… I would just try to make sure there are other things they would really enjoy around. Do you have a cat climbing/scratching tree? My cat really loves sitting on top of hers and obviously scratching on it. Maybe a new toy he would like? I also just got mine a cat tunnel off Amazon that she uses just occasionally but since you have two cats they may enjoy playing in it together. Maybe play with him with a string toy/laser/whatever every evening (and/or morning) for even a few minutes to try see if some extra exercise helps him feel less anxious? Unfortunately, he’s probably always going to hate when you leave town but maybe after a few months of you being mostly there will ease his anxiety a bit.
Post # 6
Is he still eating okay? Unless there are health issues (which it sounds like there arent), I would honestly go on your trip and continue to live your life. You clearly make sure your kitty is well cared for when you are away so that’s the main thing.
I get it – I have a similar situation with my cat. In the space of one month, our other cat died and we had a baby. It was a LOT and my cat turned into a maniac for like 6 months. She was always eating fine during that time, but she just became SO clingy and crazy…meowing nonstop, harrassing the baby, following me EVERYWHERE, including jumping in front of my feet every time I went down the stairs while holding our newborn. Ughh. But life went on…and she eventually settled down. So I would give the cat more time to adjust, but I also wouldn’t put off trips or anything since there are no actual medical issues.
Post # 7
This is all really great advice. To answer some of the questions, he does eat just fine and his weight has been pretty stable. Surprisingly, he doesn’t like to play very much! Our other cat goes mad for toys and she’s constantly trying to fetch or carrying around some stuffed animal or other. This kitty likes playing for a moment or two and then he suddenly gets scared of the toy and runs away. It’s…weird, but he’s pretty much always been one to prefer cuddling to playing. We do have a cat tree that our other cat loves, it has several levels, a little house, and a basket. He is almost NEVER on it though. If he is downstairs, he is always either laying on me, my husband, or laying on the couch next to us. We just installed two window shelves in different rooms so hopefully he likes that. If he isn’t with me, then he is upstairs under the bed or hiding in a closet.
I think that the idea of leaving some of my clothes is good one, and also being consistent with retraining him to not be on me when I’m trying to work. I admit I haven’t been good about that because I’ve felt so guilty for leaving him.
Post # 8
Maybe try designating “pet areas”? Like, you will give him the attention he wants, where you are willing to do it and when you are willing to do it. And try to ignor and redirect the behavior when you are busy. Also, specific play time daily? I’ve noticed that my cats have routines and respond to some cues I didn’t even try to establish. For example, around 7 am, my cats will sit next to the door where they get fed. But they won’t linger around the kit jen because we never feed them there. The youngest one has had a harder time getting used to personal space and me being busy, so I try to be as firm as possible whit my “no”.
I’m guessing that the family friend would give that immediate gratification all the time, since it was a limited amount of time they spent together, but I don’t know…
These are my three terrors. They are worth it though.
Post # 9
I am going to disagree with you. Your cat is not perfectly healthy. Your cat has anxiety which is a very real condition. Constant stress and distress is not healthy. Your vet should be doing more to assist you.
One of our cats has anxiety due to mistreatment in his early life. He is on medication to treat his anxiety and it helps.
Another one of our cats has thyroid issues and acts very much the same way you descibe your cat as acting when his levels are off.
Have you thought about getting an animal behaviourist in? It really helped with our anxious cat.
Post # 10
Have you asked your Vet about a low dose CBD oil, You could put that in some wet cat food and see if it helps. https://www.honestpaws.com/products/cbd-oil-for-cats
Vet’s in my area recommend it but it probably depends on where you are.
Post # 11
My cat’s vet suggested zylkene, which is an over the counter supplement. It’s used to help manage situational stress/anxiety. The vet said to just open the pill up and sprinkle it on her food.
Post # 12
- Wedding: February 2020 - Windermere, Cumbria
I would recommend a pheromone spray! It worked wonders for my kitty’s separation anxiety.
Post # 13
My cat is a lot like this…we leave her for any reason, and when we come back, she’s super clingy. Same as yours, she’ll butt her way into my lap, throw herself against the bathroom door to come in, etc.
It may be reinforcing bad behavior, but we have found that if we give in, she bounces back to normal pretty quickly. Yes, it’s annoying, but I justify it as she’s unable to speak, clearly has some anxiety, and needs reassurance. Every time we leave and come back, her “clingy time” is less and less. Beyond that, it can take normal and healthy cats a long time to adjust to big changes, so if he’s eating well and your vet isn’t concerned, I’d just give it some more time. When we got our puppy, the cat spent over 6 months refusing to get on the floor. The puppy never did anything to her, but she was scared and mad and held a grudge. Then, it’s like a switch flipped, and she was totally normal.
Also, OMG your kitty is so sweet. I’ve heard that orange boy cats are the dumbest, sweetest, and most loving of cats. We’re looking to get a kitten and I have my heart set on an orange boy cat.
Post # 14
strawberrysakura : I wonder if some of these tips would help: https://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/separation-anxiety-in-cats/
I do also recommend talking to your vet and consulting an animal behaviorist if possible.
Post # 15
Oh, bee, I’m so sorry. Our sweet cat started getting massive anxiety once LO was born and started peeing in the hallway to his nursery. We brought her to the vet and he cleared her of any physical issues and gave us some tips that he suggested we try out before getting meds for her. I won’t go into the pee-related ones since it sounds like you don’t have to deal with that (lucky duck!), but for her anxiety, his main suggestions were Feliway, CBD treats, and more cuddles. None if it worked for her, unfortunately, so we’re planning on starting her on some anti-anxiety meds soon. I hope you find something that works!