Despite being known for their independence, cats will often follow their owners around the house.
Although endearing, this behavior tends to run counter to the belief that cats are solitary, aloof creatures.
So why does your cat follow you everywhere and what can you do about it?
Here are some of the most common causes with potential solutions.
Love and Affection
As mentioned, cats have a bit of a reputation for being remote and aloof.
While it’s true that they often just want to be left the hell alone, there are times when a well-adjusted cat will want to express affection with their owners.
They have various way of articulating this, whether through body language or vocalization.
Following you about indicates that you and your cat have a strong bond.
Indeed, cats become very attached to their keepers, considering them part of their social group.
So try not to stress about being shadowed everywhere you go. If you suspect that your pursuer is trying to show affection, reciprocate! And take it as a compliment.
Boredom is another possible reason for your cat following you around. Cats need mental and physical stimulation to stay alert and healthy.
Hunters by nature, they really benefit from environmental enrichment.
If follows then that when felines don’t get enough stimulation, boredom is going to set in.
Thus, stalking you allows your cat to observe and interact with his surroundings while also providing entertainment.
Keep in mind that if your cat is left alone for long periods, he’s probably going to crave company and may be very under-stimulated.
Under-stimulation also manifests itself in excessive grooming, destructive behavior and constant meowing.
To prevent boredom and the negative behavior that comes with it, ensure that your kitty has enough things in the environment to keep him busy.
Interactive toys and scratching posts can help, as can things like cat tunnels, puzzle feeders and climbing structures.
Also remember to take some time out to play with your cat.
Hunger is another possible reason why your cat may be following you around.
This manifests itself in different ways such as scratching at food bowls as well as constantly meowing and rubbing against you.
Cats certainly aren’t dumb so if you’re the primary food provider, your pet will seek you out when he wants his chow.
This is particularly true if you’ve put in place a strict feeding schedule. Your cat will know when to expect his next meal.
If his bowl is empty or it’s feeding time, the most obvious solution is to feed your cat.
However, sometimes cats beg for food or treats, even when they’re not hungry.
This might be because he’s gone off his food. So it could be time to change his diet if you see that his bowl is full.
Should you be satisfied that your cat is sufficiently nourished, try to distract him with a toy, or maybe even a puzzle feeder.
Keep in mind too, that scheduled meals can go a long way in eliminating begging behavior.
Attention-seeking behavior can arise when a cat doesn’t receive a consistent level of stimulation.
In a home without adequate environmental enrichment, the owner often becomes the main source of interest for a cat.
Other attention-seeking antics include weaving in and out of your legs, jumping onto surfaces, biting and excessive vocalizing.
When you cat exhibits these behaviors, don’t give him any attention. This method is known as ‘extinction‘.
Once the cat realises that he won’t be rewarded with attention or any sort of interaction, the attention-seeking behavior usually ceases.
One possible reason for your cat’s constant companionship is separation anxiety.
Cats are social creatures and they can become attached to their owners just as dogs do.
If your cat is used to having you around all the time, they may become anxious or stressed when you’re not around.
This can lead to him haunting your every step, simply because he wants to be close to you.
Kittens that are taken away from their mothers too early (premature weaning) may develop the problem.
This is because they did not learn how to be independent from their mother and littermates.
In addition, certain breeds such as Siamese, Abyssinians and Persians tend to be very, very clingy.
Therefore they’re more susceptible to separation anxiety.
If you have own a clingy breed, it’s more likely that they will follow you around. So try to accept it has a breed-specific trait.
Alternatively, try to get your cat accustomed to being alone for short periods, gradually increasing the duration you’re away over time.
Also be sure to provide positive reinforcement when they’re calm such as treats and affection.
Unfortunately, modification methods like this probably won’t work with clingy breeds.
A desire to feel safe and secure can sometimes cause cats to follow their owners, who they may view as their protector.
This is especially common in cats that have been rescued or adopted from shelters.
In many cases, they’ve endured traumatic experiences and feel the need for constant protection.
They may also feel uncomfortable about something imperceptible.
Try to provide reassurance and put your cat at ease by creating secure spaces with lots of hiding places.
Make sure their food, water, and litter box are easily accessible too.
Show your cat affection when he wants it, but also give him space when he wants to be left alone.
How to React to Your Cat Following You Everywhere
If your cat is following you around, it is important to react in a positive way.
Provide plenty of attention and affection as long as he’s not misbehaving in other ways.
To enrich the cat’s home environment, include plenty of toys and distractions such as a scratching post and climbing structure.
Also ensure that he’s got access a window that’s unobstructed by window dressings.
Observing the outdoors provides plenty of stimulation and distraction for cats.
Be assured that clingy behaviour such as owner-stalking, is a very common behavior among cats.
And as we’ve seen, it can be attributed to a variety of reasons.
Here’s a summary of why your cat may follow you everywhere.
- Seeking Love and Affection
- Bored with Diet
- Type of Breed
- Separation Anxiety
Understanding these reasons can help cat owners provide the right kind of care and attention.
Remember to react positively and constructively. Try not to get frustrated and be patient.
Watch your cat’s behavior and try different strategies until you find one that works.
If you’re concerned that your cat’s clinginess is caused by distress, talk to a vet or an animal behaviorist.