Does your cat act like your shadow, following you around wherever you go? While it might be endearing most of the time, it could become concerning at a point. Your cat might follow you everywhere because they're hungry, bored, anxious, or sick, among other reasons. Use other clues to figure out why they keep trailing you and how you can curb your feline stalker.
Why Does My Cat Always Follow Me Everywhere?
If your cat is always on your heels, they probably want to communicate how they're feeling. There are eight common reasons cats follow their humans around.
1. They Want Attention
Often, your cat will follow you everywhere if they want attention. Maybe they want a pet, a treat, or just acknowledgment. Cats suffering from separation anxiety can become overly clingy when you've been gone for a while, or they anticipate you'll leave.
2. They're Hungry
Do you find your feline friend on your heels anytime mealtime is approaching? They might be hungry and waiting for you to fill their bowl. Along with tailing you, a cat might also meow, rub up against your legs, or paw at you to express their hunger.
3. They're Bored
Doing the same thing day in and day out can leave cats bored. If you're not giving your pet enough mental or physical enrichment, they might be following you around out of boredom. Make sure you're playing with your little one daily and keeping them engaged with fun activities.
4. They're Anxious
During times of high anxiety, a cat may stick by your side because you provide them with comfort. This might happen during isolated events, such as a thunderstorm or when a houseguest is staying in your home, or they might feel stressed continuously. This might also be the case with a newly adopted cat in a new environment.
Cat stress is real. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to spot stress and help your cat calm down.
5. They're Curious
Cats are curious creatures who often feel like they have to be involved in everything you do. Sometimes, your cat might follow you out of curiosity. They want to know what you're up to or where you're going.
6. They're Seeking Safety
Cats in multi-pet households may follow you around because they want security. If a housemate is picking on your follower cat or likes to chase them, they may want to stay close. You are their protector, and the others won't bully them when you're around.
7. They're Not Feeling Well
A sick kitty might become particularly clingy if they don't feel well. Cats are known for hiding illnesses; it's a survival instinct they adopted in the wild. Therefore, you might not notice any obvious signs aside from following you everywhere. An exam by your veterinarian and blood work or other diagnostics can reveal any hidden diseases.
8. They Love You
Cats become deeply bonded to their owners, so acting as your shadow might be your cat's way of telling you, "I love you." Other signs of trust include sleeping on you and "slow blinking."
A "slow blink" from a cat is essentially a feline smile and is a behavior you can use to bond with your cat.
Cat Breeds Known to Be Clingy
Some cat breeds are known for following their owners around more than others. This is often because they develop very strong bonds with their people and are generally very active and friendly breeds. These include:
Every cat is an individual, so even members of these breeds may not display clingy behavior. On the other end of the spectrum, some breeds, like the Persian, British Shorthair, and Norwegian Forest Cat, are more independent and may not follow you around as much. This doesn't mean they don't love you deeply, but they might just be a little lazier or more aloof.
How to Tell Why Your Cat Is Following You
Figuring out why your cat is following you everywhere can take some detective work. Keep an eye on when your cat follows you around. Is it at the same time every day? Is it right before mealtime or right before bedtime? Is it whenever your new puppy comes upstairs? This can give you insight into what might trigger this behavior.
Also, monitor your cat's body language for additional clues. If they appear skittish, they might be anxious and seek safety from you. Scratching or other destructive behaviors might point to boredom and a lack of enrichment in your cat's life. A trip to your vet is always a good first step to rule out any physical problems that could make your cat suddenly clingy.
Why Does My Cat Follow Me Into the Bathroom?
If your cat follows you to the bathroom, you're not alone. Many cat owners report this behavior, and the reasons behind it can vary. Because you close the door to the bathroom, your cat might feel excluded and use their paw as a way to signal for you to let them in. Your cat might be trying to micro-manage you, or may just not want to be excluded when you want alone time.
Another theory is that your cat is guarding you while you're doing your business. Relieving yourself puts you in a vulnerable position and one where you might be at risk of danger (in the wild, that is). Following you to the bathroom might be your cat's way of saying, "Don't worry, I'll protect you."
Get Some Alone Time Away From Your Clingy Cat
Yes, you love your cat, but sometimes, it's just too much. And that's OK. Your cat doesn't need to be with you 24/7. You can have your own space and still provide for all of their needs. If the situation is reversed, be sure your cat will take their private time seriously.
- Set boundaries. Even if your cat is needy, don't let them into the bathroom with you, or close your bedroom door. They will get over it.
- Don't give in. If your cat is persistent, they might meow at you non-stop. If you break down and let them follow you everywhere, you're reinforcing their behavior.
- Address the root cause. Figure out why your cat is always latched onto you, and resolve the issue. If they're hungry and it's feeding time, feed them. If they're bored, toss a cat toy their way.
- Stick to a routine. All pets - but cats especially - do very well with regular daily patterns. If your daily routine is inconsistent, this might be why your cat is so clingy in the first place.
- Tire them out. Give your kitty a good romp with some stimulating play activities and training. Once they're tuckered out, they'll probably just want to curl up for a nap.
- Don't reward the behavior. If you're OK with being followed, it's fine to give them pets and love when they shadow you. If you need space, however, don't reward your stalker cat when they're on your tail.
- Try a pheromone product. Some cats love to jump up onto keyboards or countertops to stay close. You can use a product like PetSafe SSScat to keep them away from off-limits areas.
Just remember, don't punish your cat for following you around. At best, it's a minor nuisance, and you risk damaging your bond if you upset them. Never spray your cat with water or hiss at them to get them to leave you alone. It probably won't work anyway, and they might just resent you for it.
Figuring Out Feline Following Behavior
You'll need to do some digging to figure out why exactly they won't leave your heels, but reviewing the eight common reasons behind this action can help you find the cause. Once you have an idea of what your cat is thinking, you can provide them with what they need or train them out of this behavior. Just know, your cat isn't trying to irritate you, and most likely loves you a lot. They have needs, too, and your attention is at the top of their list.