Why is my Cat so Clingy? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Why is my Cat so Clingy?

I have multiple cats. There are five in total. Four are mine and one is my Dad's. the youngest cat I have is a six month old kitten named Tommy. He and Charlie(my first cat)are probably my favorites. There's a couple of problems with Tommy :

1. He's very skittish. I'm the only person that can pick him up and that he doesn't run away from. He seems to fear/hate everyone else in our house. He likes the cats though. We think this could be since most of his kitten life was spent being repeatedly chased out of our neighbors yard. I'll explain more later.

2. To me,he is super CLINGY! It's a little endearing but also annoying. He nips whenever one of the other cats tries to cuddle with me(except Charlie...he's kinda the alpha cat). He seems to NEED to be touching me in some way at every moment! He also hates when my attention is on something else and always tries to get in the way! I thought he would grow out of his clingy stage as he got older but instead as more time goes by he seems to get even more clingy! Why?

Okay. So Tommy spent the first two months of his life in our neighbors back yard. Bob isn't cruel or a cat hater. He was just worried that since he does a lot of metal work they might get hurt or that they may spread disease to our dog. I managed to catch him but his sibling escaped and we theorize that it was eaten by a coyote. We thought another cat we caught,Batsy,was his mother but it turned out she was his sister from an earlier litter. He was very wild when we first caught him. The day before we were going to put him down I had an idea to pet him with a plastic hand until he was calm enough that I could hold him. We socialized him a lot but when he turned four months old he became very skittish of everyone and super clingy to me. My question is,why is he so clingy?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Update: He's recently begun to refuse to eat his food unless I'm in the room with him. Mornings usually have us sitting in the laundry room eating breakfast together XD. It must be quite funny to see a half asleep teenager sitting on the ground eating cereal next to the cat.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 06:55 AM
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ah, first off.....I'm glad you saved this little kitten from the dangers of living outside and becoming either feral or a meal.

2nd, if one of my four cats didn't eat at meal time, we would wonder what was up. Just because they are ALWAYS there waiting or on us in bed to wake us up. They choose who is to go in next to wake up a sleepy human, we know this. so, for us that would be some kind of signal if they didn't eat. If it happened we would wait and see and look for other symptoms. Now, if you want to sit and eat with Tommy, well, ok, but I would leave him in a room with his food and see how long it is before he eats...isolate him maybe....perhaps there is something medically wrong. Make sure he is drinking water too. You are now the doctor. Keep a log in case it is something a vet will need to look into.

Tommy has had something of a not normal life so far and that might be why he is exhibiting particular behaviors? He is still young but might be one of those cats who only trusts one person and will run and hide when strangers are around. Did your neighbor chase him away for safety reasons? Throw things his way? Or just shoo him? All of his previous events could be what motivates him now. Perhaps, the clinginess is a direct result of always wanting to be loved and not getting it till you came along? Who knows what lives in the mine of animals around us?

I think with time, this will lessen. I wish my new rescue, Annie, would get more clingy...She is standoffish yet, tho at times she will come and lay by me but that isn't the norm. She even wants to leave the room or a couch when I come in the room and this is strange because other than a ride to the vet etc, I haven't done anything to her. Doesn't she KNOW I brought her in from the cold winter? Of course not.... Marble does, and she just jumped up into my lap and will lay on it while I type. But they are two individuals and I must realize that. And do.

Annie will eat at her bowl when I put food in it. And I can pick he up but she won't stay for brushing or petting like the other three will. I just accept it and know eventually she will be more receptive to my lap. She has done the face rubbings but it is on her terms, not mine. females......never can figure them out.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 11:15 AM
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Your little boy is in a crucial socialization period, and if you want to see big differences now is the time to, gently, push his boundaries.

It's quite normal for a cat or kitten who was feral or semi feral to bond most closely to one person and be very afraid of others. They require more time and effort to build trust, and random guests and busy family members just might not have the time, patience, or instinctive body language needed right off the bat.

There's a ton of things you can do though, the simplest and quickest would be for your other family members to each make a point of feeding him - preferably wet food. Wet is better, as far as health for the cat goes, but also it's smellier and therefore more appetizing to the cat. You want him to learn that good things come from people other than you.

Your family members should make a point of spending some time with him, TBH if I were dealing with him I'd put him into one room of the house for the majority of the time to make this socialization much easier on everyone. Your family members could then go into the room and sit with him when they want some quiet time; reading the paper, or a book, watching a tv show, ect. Something where there attention won't be on him and where they'll be sitting mostly still. When they go in they should bring something yummy, like wet food or a bunch of treats. At this stage he needs to get delicious things for simple tolerating their presence. They should NOT try to pet him until he comes to them.

As far as being clingy to you...IMO this is fairly normal, but all four of my cats are quite attached to me. My BF says they orbit me, lol. Whenever I'm home there's always at least two, and generally 3 or all 4, cats within about 10 feet of me. I see nothing wrong with clingy kitties, but you will need to teach him to share.

Make a point of petting him as well as other cats, if he chases the other cat off then immediately stop giving him any attention. Soon he'll learn that only polite kitties get cuddles.

As far as him wanting to 'help' you with everything...good luck! Lol. My boys still have to do everything with me and they're 5! When they were kittens I actually had to put them away in order to get any cleaning done. Now they've settled a bit, but mostly it's constant and calm repetitions of the same thing. "Muffin, out of the fridge. Doran, off the counter. Muffin, you can't climb in the oven. Muffin, get out of the cupboard." Ect. Muffin always wants to go into anything that's open, any door that opens he wants to go through. Doran...loves flour. I literally can't leave my flour container out for a split second uncovered or I'll turn around to find a very happy flour-monster and a HUGE mess. Silly boy.

They have become less insistent about being right next to me...but that could just as easily be me getting used to it and them just being a bit older, TBH. Just calmly reinforce what you want, over, and over, and over, and over. lol. Good luck!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 03:29 PM
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Ohhhh gizmo is clingy....but I love it . She used to have to be touching me too...but not so much anymore. She is also a big talker I never had a cat like her. I adore her to bits!!!! Marshall is the complete opposite...he's more of a loner but does come to me for some pizza making sessions on my lap. He's not as talkitative..and really he only talks when he wanta food. Adore this lil boy!!! He's soooo sweet!! So I have nice mix
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 03:32 PM
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Maybe separation anxieties? That's all I can think of
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your suggestions! I think I'll try to get Dad to start feeding him. However my older sister has decided that his shyness is personal and pretty much gets happy scaring him which really doesn't help at all.

He eats half of his food then whines at the door. If I let him out then the other kitties crowd his bowl and eat his leftovers,if I'm in there with him then he eats all of his food with no complaint so I thought it'd be better. He gets plenty of water...so many nights I'll wake up to discover that instead of walking to the other side of my room to the water dish my lazy kitten would rather reach over to the nightstand next to my bed and drink MY water -.-

I think my neighbor just yelled and shooed them,he'd never throw things at them. He just didn't want them spreading disease to our animals. He knew I was feeding Batsy(she almost a year old now!)so he never tried to chase her away. Now both are indoor cats but Tommy's brother disappeared. My dad said he likes to think it was hit by a car or eaten rather than think it may have gotten lost and starved to death,he said no animal deserves that.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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(I'm grumpily typing this right now because the Internet abandoned me when I hit the reply button so I have to type this all again-.-)

First,my Dad and sis are unwilling to take turns feeding him,any other suggestions?

Now onto some things I've noticed. First: a very endearing habit he's picked up is whenever he's scared he runs up to me,stands on his hind leg,wraps his front paws around my leg and buries his face into said leg. It's the most darling thing I've seen! Second: I've noticed he's only comfortable in certain rooms in the house. He's most comfortable in my room where he sleeps at night and,according to my dad,sits in there waiting for me to come home from school. He seems comfortable(to a lesser extent)in the back room where he gets fed. However,he's only comfortable when I'm in there with him. If someone else happens to be in there(even if I'm still in the back room)he gets very nervous and skittish. He seems uncomfortable just around the house in general though. Running and hissing(even at me but he'll let me approach him all the same)from everything and always hiding somewhere. It's a very open house so I was thinking he might feel vulnerable. Why though,he's never had a bad experience in our house? How can I make him feel safer around the house?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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(Sorry here I am again,sorry for all the questions)

I was wondering if I should start feeding Tommy in my room with Batsy(the cat he's the most comfortable with)or if I should continue feeding him in the back room? This is where the cats usually eat

Beau and Charlie:the living room
Batsy:my room
Mollyad's room
Tommy:back room
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