Why Does My Cat Follow Me Everywhere? · The Wildest

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Why Does My Cat Follow Me Everywhere?

Yes, they are right behind you.

by Ruby Leslie, CPDT-FF
Updated January 5, 2024
Cat grabbing onto ledge of table and looking to the left
Sergey Zaykov / Shutterstock

Ever wonder why your cat follows you everywhere? Have that feeling you’re being watched? Wake to a furry figure towering over you? Do you have a mini-voyeur outside your shower or a judgmental little supervisor staring you down on every work call? Of course you do, if you have a cat.

Maybe you’ve always wanted a cat, you finally adopted one, and now you’re realizing just how much alone time you don’t have anymore. Yes, your cat is a stalker, and the call is coming from inside the house. But it’s just your cat being your cat.

Why does my cat follow me everywhere?

If your cat is following you around, it is important to try to understand why they are doing it. Once you know the reason, you can take steps to address it. If you are concerned about your cat’s behavior, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. They can help you determine the cause of your cat’s behavior and recommend ways to address it.

So, why is my cat following me?

Cats aren’t creeps — well, they sort of are, but not in a nefarious way — they’re simply misunderstood. Cats shadow us for a number of logical cat reasons: to get attention, register a complaint about an unacceptably full litter box, because they love us, or because they’re hungry. Your cat may be living the cushy life at home, but inside beats the heart and lingering ancestral memory of a hunter, out in the wild sneaking up to pounce on prey, aka dinner. In real life, your cat recognizes you as the main food source, which explains why you’re the lucky recipient of your cat’s stealth attention. And they have no issue sending word that the service at their most frequented restaurant is slower than they’d like.

They’re hungry.

Here’s another note on understanding your hungry cat, who likely follows you around nonstop, rubbing against your legs and talking at you with a determined, high-pitched meow. Cats’ natural dining rhythm is five small meals throughout the day, but instead, cats follow our feeding schedules, which are behaviorally and psychologically unnatural for cats. This is the reason why some cats have even trained their humans to wake up earlier to feed them by biting their toes in bed or sitting on top of them and meowing in their faces. They’re frustrated by not having their innate meal patterns met and not shy about popping up anywhere, anytime to let you know.

They want your attention.

If you don’t have a hungry cat, and your cat is still lurking around or checking up on you constantly, your cat is likely trying to get your attention. Hey, “aloof” cats get lonely, too. Because they’re super clever and persistent creatures, they will resort to multiple creative tricks beyond the classic stalk mode, including:

  • Pawing at you

  • Knocking things off tables, couches, or counters

  • Stealing or playing with objects (including ones you are presently using!)

  • Meowing

  • Jumping up to be at your level

  • Inhibited bites (typically a nibble, not a full-on bite)

They might be sick or in pain.

If your cat shows an increase in attention-seeking behaviors or any sudden changes in their typical behavior, you should first take your cat to the veterinarian, because it could be an indicator of an underlying medical condition. Your cat could be following you around more than usual, seeking reassurance and comfort from pain. The hard part with attention-seeking behaviors is that any interaction we have with our cats — positive (like trying to reassure them with petting) or negative (such as reprimanding) — will only reinforce the behavior, as with all attention. Even a glance in your cat’s direction will reinforce and keep the stalking coming. So, what to do?

Will following behavior change as a cat ages?

Yes — a kitten’s behavior will definitely differ from a senior cat: As cats age, they may exhibit behaviors, such as forgetting where their litter box is, becoming less active, and even acting more aggressive. There is actually something called “feline cognitive dysfunction” (FCD), which can develop as your cat gets older. It affects 50 percent of cats between 11 and 15 and that percentage increases as they get older. Having FCD can affect your cat’s memory, awareness of objects, and ability to learn new things, so it can cause sleeping and mood issues.

How do I stop my cat from stalking me?

Provide appropriate outlets for that behavior.

Give your cat enrichment alternatives like puzzle feeders, toys, or catnip.

Walk away.

You are the source of your cat’s attention. Walk away and reward your cat when they’re calmer. If you can’t walk away because you have a Velcro cat, then provide them with training alternatives, like a fun game.

Make sure you have enough scratching posts.

Environmental enrichment should be a combination of vertical (cat trees) and horizontal posts (cat hammocks), crinkly blankets, and places for your cat to hide.

Check your cat’s litter boxes.

Your cat might want you to know that their full litter boxes aren’t passing inspection. 

Check your cat’s water.

Maybe the water spilled or is empty. Or they’re having problems accessing it (due to another cat or dog guarding it).

Schedule daily play time.

Once a day, book some fun time with your cat with interactive toys and cat wands. Embrace your inner cat parent. Cats are addicted to habit and feel more secure and confident with a consistent routine. To help your cat decrease attention-seeking behaviors, combine the security of a schedule with positive reinforcement training and playtime.

It’s a common myth that cats are independent, standoffish characters — any cat person will call nonsense on that claim. In fact, cats think of us as part of their family group, which is why they rub around our legs, greet us when we come back home, lick us, and stay by our side when we’re having a bad day.

So, yes, your cat is a stalker, but the most charming kind. Relax and enjoy your little creeper (but keep the food coming, just to be safe).

FAQs (People Also Ask):

Is it normal for cats to follow their parents everywhere?

It’s fairly common for cats to follow their humans around, because they’re hungry, want your attention, or might not feel well. Or they could be imprinting on you.

Is following behavior exclusive to indoor cats?

Indoor cats will likely follow you more simply by virtue of not roaming around outside! Generally, being outdoors gives a cat more control over their actions.

Can I encourage my cat to follow me more often?

If your cat isn’t following you around, they may simply want some alone time. If you want to entice them, use a gentle tone of voice, carry treats and respect their body cues.

References:

ruby leslie

Ruby Leslie, CPDT-FF

Ruby Leslie is a certified positive reinforcement force-free trainer and Dogly Training Advocate. She has consulted, worked with, and volunteered at animal shelters across the world including China, Thailand, the UK, and Canada where she now resides with her cats.

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