Cats go through so many stages, and their behavior patterns tend to change. So it’s important to pay attention to their moods and actions to find out if there’s anything wrong. Most cats have a strong independent streak and need some alone time. Some might even find too much petting annoying. Some pet owners may be surprised when they’ve got a clingy cat, especially when a cat is suddenly clingy when that’s not its normal self.
Clingy vs. demanding cats
On the other hand, some cats are very demanding. They always butt in when you’re busy on your computer or your phone. They nap on your keyboard and scratch their heads on your hardcover book. If you’ve got a Level 1 clinger, here are some things to look for and what you can do about it.
A clingy cat is an insecure cat. She might cry when they need something, eat only under your watch, and lack confidence. but demanding cats are always assertive. You have to feed them when they want, touch them when they want.
We’ve listed a few reasons why your cat may suddenly become clingy. If you realized that a cat who used to be formerly aloof is now growing too attached to you and suddenly requires more attention it’s important to note down these reasons.
Nervousness: Some cats, especially kittens, are tentative and feel defenseless. They might look to you for safety, so it’s essential to assure them and make them feel protected. You can do little things to make them feel safe, like petting them when they jerk in reaction to strange noises, or patting them when you walk past.
Issues Concerning Health: Health issues are most often the problem if your cat who’s usually independent starts needing you to pet it, groom it, and carry it to its food bowl. If your cat suddenly gives up running around and wants to stay in your lap, you should take it to the vet.
New to the Household: Cats who are still adjusting to a new environment might cling to their caregiver. Eventually, they’ll use their paws and learn to roam around on their own.
Rescued Pets: Cats that were rescued might have had a very rough upbringing. They might be fearful or have issues with trusting people. Out of gratitude, they might want to cling to you or just for security till they adapt entirely to living with you.
Threatened by Newcomers: Your cat might want to be territorial and make sure it still has your attention at the appearance of a new pet or human. It might cling to you warn the new pet off, or out of fear especially if it’s threatened by the new pet (maybe bigger pets like dogs). You’ll need to multitask in making sure none of your pets feel neglected while seeing that the new pet adjusts smoothly to its new environment, you also need to assure your cat that you still love them and they’re not being replaced.
Old cat is suddenly clingy
If your senior cat is clingy all of a sudden it could mean her purr-sonality has changed with age. It could also mean separation anxiety, as older cats (and people) can suffer geriatric anxiety. Give your elderly kitty extra love, a warm sleeping spot, and comfort.
If you consider the clinginess bothersome and you’re sure it’s not a health issue here’s a few things to do:
Play with the cat to tire him out. A tired cat will feel that nice post-workout endorphins, which have a comforting, mood-boosting effect.
Reward good behavior with treats. When your cat is not so clingy, praise her and treat her.
Get another cat for company. Your cat may be lonely and need a feline friend.
Make a playpen with interesting toys. Distractions are a good solution for clingy behavior.
Sleep near your cat. If you don’t sleep in the same bed or room with your cat already, let them sleep with you, as well as provide a cozy cat bed in the same room. If you sleep in the same bad and find the cat is too clingy when you’re asleep, you may find they will like the separate cat bed.
Cats don’t like change, not one bit, so be sure they’ve got a regular feeding time and can rely on a clean litter box, clean water, and your presence. Their clinginess may be a message to you that you need to be a better mom or dad.
When good pets break bad: unprovoked aggression in cats
Unprovoked aggression in cats can be a shock to a cat owner. A cat may suddenly bite you while you’re petting him, or turn on the other cats or pets in a household. She may swat, hiss, and growl. Perhaps she stares you down with big, gleaming eyes that threaten to melt you into the floor.
Cats can suddenly become aggressive for a variety of reasons. Here are 9 common reasons for unprovoked cat aggression and 9 things you can do about it.
Health-issue aggression: The first thing to do if your cat is suddenly aggressive is to make an appointment with a vet. Be sure the cat is in a carrier. Your newly angry cat may not want to get in, though. One way to pick up an aggressive cat is to go up behind it, hold the cat between your legs, and wrap it in a towel like a kitty burrito. Then gently place the into the carrier, letting the towel fall to the bottom of the carrier.
The vet may find that your cat is in pain. They may do a physical exam and find injuries. An X-ray may detect arthritis. The cause could also be illnesses and infections. Pain and discomfort can make humans angry, and cats are no different. Aggression is just extreme defensiveness. Declawing is a cause of aggression in cats, according to a study written about in ScienceDaily. It can lead to lasting pain and injuries in the cat. The cat may need pain management, which could calm its aggressive behavior.
Ask for a test for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases such as babesiosis. These common illnesses have been known to cause aggression in dogs and humans, and cause pain and discomfort. Lyme exists in all 50 states. Even indoor cats have some chance of getting a tick bite, since ticks can come in via outdoor pets or mice.
Your vet will come up with a reason for the sudden aggression and offer a treatment plan. It may include medications and behavior modification. If your angry cat just doesn’t want to take its meds, you can try the technique of standing behind the cat and holding the cat between your legs until you can get the cat to swallow the pill or liquid. Be sure to stroke the cat’s throat to get it to swallow.
Petting-based aggression: If your cat is not normally aggressive, but becomes ferocious when you’re petting her, be sure to pay close attention to her mood swings. Cats can suddenly get triggered. Maybe you’ve touched a sensitive area (if you suspect that’s the case, take her to a vet) or the petting is overstimulating her. Cats can be wired in a high-strung way.
If you see your cat’s tail twitch, her eyes look at your hand, or her ears flatten, pull your hand away. You can try giving a treat or other distraction to veer off the attack. Don’t make eye contact, as this can trigger aggressive behavior. But overall, it may be best to limit petting time. Just let her be.
Be sure nothing external is bothering your cat. Talk to her softly and don’t touch her unless she’s clearly in the mood.
Territorial aggression: If your cat is suddenly a hellfire when a new pet is introduced, think of it this way: what you think is his new best bud is an invader on his turf. He might be attacking or hissing out of fear. He will have to be sure that this new roommate is harmless.
Sometimes cats are suddenly aggressive toward their owner. They may not let you walk by without a swipe, or stare at you with a terrifying glare. They may see you as another cat who needs to be dominated. Don’t try to dominate back.
Maternal aggression: If your cat has kittens, then her Mama Grizzly will come out when any perceived threat to her precious brood comes near.
Inter-cat aggression: In a multicat household there can be issues of status and dominance. All cats should be spayed or neutered, as sex hormones trigger dominance behavior in both male and, less commonly, female, toward male cats. If your cat is fighting with other cats or pets, keep them physically separated.
A tiff often starts with staring. If you can step in and block the cats from seeing each other, that can head off the rumble. Use cardboard, baby gates, plastic, or any other convenient barrier that blocks their view and keeps them apart. Don’t put yourself between two “mad catters.” If you see them about to attack, you can make a loud noise to distract them.
If a cat gets aggressive toward another cat, dog, or other pet, you may need to start all over and slowly reintroduce them to end the feud.
Redirected aggression: A cat may be in predator mode from some external stimulus, such as a bunny outside the window or something indoors that’s frightening to them. They may transfer their fear onto you. You may just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Try to figure out what’s bothering them. If there’s a new odor or even a piece of furniture that scares them, remove it. Let your cat rest in a quiet place without a lot of bright light.
Play aggression: Similarly, your cat may be in “play” mode and swat at you as if you were a mouse to be batted around.
Fear-based aggression: Cats can have PTSD. If you have a rescue cat or one who has been through trauma, they can have flashbacks that suddenly make them aggressive. For instance, putting them into a cat carrier could cause a panic attack. Or they may interpret simple attempts to play with them as an aggressive move on your part. Don’t try to get them to do things they don’t want to do.
Catnip aggression (not a formal term): I don’t think this is common, but it happens. Some cats freak out from even a small exposure to catnip. They may even attack. It may be more common in cats who were rescued or have had other trauma. Obviously, if this happens, remove the catnip and keep it away forever. Your cat will go back to normal after having some quiet time.
How to calm an aggressive cat
Treats: Treats are great method of discouraging this type of behavior. You can try to ward off aggression with treats and other distractions such as toys or pointers. Reward your cat with positive reinforcement.
Aromatherapy: try a calming collar from a pet store. It smells like lavender and has cat pheromones that have a relaxing affect.
Medications: yes, there is such as thing as kitty Prozac and other drugs. This should be a last resort, but it can helps cats who are aggressive or neurotic and do things like tear their fur out. If the cat is in pain, it may need pain treatment and a remedy for the cause of the pain.
Rescue Remedy or Valerian: A drop of Bach Rescue Remedy can really calm your cat (and you! though you will need a bit more of it). It has helped with fearful cats. Be sure to consult your trusted vet about things like Rescue Remedy and other herbs such as valerian.
Time out: Turn down the lights and let the cat be alone in a place she feels safe and comfy and that’s near her food, water, litter box, toys, and treats. She may just need to chill.
A hiding place: if your cat can’t have a whole room to herself, give her a nice box with a pillow where she won’t be bothered. (“I vant to be alone!”)
Spay and neuter. Sex hormones get the best of us and your cat is no different, in fact, cats in heat or cats sniffing other cats’ hormones can be very aggressive.
Lots of play: a cat tired from playing will have less energy to be aggressive with.
A space of their own: if your cats aren’t getting along, keep them apart with their own food and water, litter box, and play areas.
Keep a journal of when your cat suddenly becomes aggressive
Write down all triggers, times, and dates of sudden aggression in your cat. Track changes to the cat’s moods, changes to the environment, your cat’s diet, introduction and behavior of people or other animals, sights, sounds, and smells, new objects, any new stimuli. Also keep track of things that were in your home but no longer there. Write down interactions, dates, and times of the day. Cats hate change. Even the smell of a new carpet might be scaring your cat. You can use an online calendar for this if you want.
Never punish a cat for aggression, even mildly; that will only make them more aggressive. Don’t use spray bottles or things you think “aren’t that bad.” Your cat can tell if you don’t like what they’re doing. But they’re not being aggressive to get at you, they’re acting that way because they can’t help it. Something is scaring or challenging them.
Remember, aggression is normal and healthy in certain situations and you should only try to “do” something about it if it’s out of control. You can’t necessarily keep a cat from biting you when you pet her, other than try to anticipate it so you pull your hand away–and keep a first-aid kit around. I’m not trying to be hopeless, just realistic. In the majority of cases, understanding goes a long way in solving the problem.
Cat Tail Language: Cats communicate with “telltail” signs! Animals talk with us and each other using a variety of body languages and sounds. Most people know that when a dog wags its tail it means happiness, but cats have their own “tail speak.” Learning it will help you understand what your little purr-son is telling you.
Cat tail language is involuntary. Cats can combine tail positions with other messages, such as putting their ears back, vocalizations, and poofing their fur. Tail motions can be good indicators of a cat’s mood. Tail language differs in dogs and cats. Even though dogs and cats might make the same movements, those movements don’t always mean the same thing.
In deciphering cat body language, it’s important to consider the context of the situation and the cat’s personality. For instance, a waving tail can have more than one meaning. If gentle, it can mean playfulness, but if it’s done emphatically, it can mean anger or aggression.
Below are a list of feline tail tells and their meanings:
CAT TAIL MEANING CHART (to come)
Tail Straight Up: This tail language usually denotes contentment and confidence and is territorial. It is also a sign that your cat is feeling extremely friendly and happy. Your cat will be accommodating to petting and cuddling while her tail is positioned this way. Mother cats also stick their tails up in there air when they want to be followed out by their kittens.
Tail Flicking When Cat Is Lying Down: Tail flicking can usually be interpreted as aggression in cats. They tend to flick their tails when they are focused on something or stalking their prey. Some cat behaviorists think the back-and-forth motion mesmerizes prey. A slow flick from side to side is an indication that they are feeling remote and would instead be left alone instead of being petted. And a fast swishing could mean irritation.
Tail Resting on the Ground: Cats do this when their environment is being threatened, and they’re trying to evaluate the threat. You might want to leave them alone till they consider the coast clear and resume their routine.
Tail Tucked Beneath Their Legs: This tail position can be assumed cats that are threatened or frightened. The crouch in an attempt to make themselves small and hideaway. You can pet your cat to reassure it of its safety.
Tail Hair Standing On End: Your cat might bristle its tail when on guard to defend itself against an attack. He might also bristle his tail if he’s startled or handled too roughly. It’s a defensive position, and it’s best to drop them before they resort to snarling and nipping. They also blow out their hair to make themselves look more significant than the threat
Tail Wagging: Unlike dogs when cats wag their tails, it’s usually not to express happiness but anger or irritation. But there are exceptions. Is your cat wagging the tip of her tail? A little wag or twitch at the end of an upright tail can also show that your cat is momentarily excited.
What about kittens? “Tail speak” is instinctual and you see it in kittens too. For instance, kitten tail wagging can mean the little dear is on the hunt!
Why does my cat hit me with her tail? It may mean your cat feels annoyed that you’re petting her and is just not in the mood. If you’re not petting the cat, the cat may be annoyed with something else and you just happen to be there. If your cat is wrapping her tail around you, that’s a sign of affection–a tail hug.
We hope these signs can help you in better understanding and interpreting the tail language of your cats.
Also, note that each pet is unique and special, so study your cat carefully to know what each tail movement means.