Clingy, anxious cat.

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Nattynoir
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Clingy, anxious cat.

Post by Nattynoir » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:24 am

Hi all,

We adopted our lovely senior cat a year and a half ago. We know very little of her history except that she had some trauma to her tummy, operations to correct this, she was found in the home of someone with dementia and her rescuers were unsure of if she belonged there and if she was being fed.
She took a long time to settle in and has always been a bit clingy and extremely vocal. She needs attention constantly. She also overgroomed initially but this improved along with her general neediness. Even still, my partner and I learned not to leave her alone for long periods and never overnight.
She’s had a really tough year. We decided to have a trusted family member take care of her in our home for three nights and this really shook her up. It took her a good while to settle back down and we’ve decided not to try this again. She has also had a wealth of health problems which have resulted in some very stressful vet visits, including her first ever night away from home.
I’ve had a 2 month career break and have noticed she is more clingy than ever. She follows me everywhere and cries when she can’t see me. She is eating less and has lost weight, and is also overgrooming a little again. She has always been rubbish at entertaining herself when alone and will just sit and stare at walls.
I’m really worried as i’m back at work full time next week. My partner comes home around lunch time but her bond to me has grown in a way it hasn’t to him. The vet felt she was stressed so no more vet visits for a while, and we have previously tried feliway and velerian with no luck.
I try to make her feel secure so have always indulged her, but I do let her meow a little if she simply wants me to follow her around the house.
What can I do to help her independence when I return to work?
Thank you so much!
Edit: I should also mention she is deaf, hence being very willing to let her know where we are in the house when she calls.

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Janey
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Re: Clingy, anxious cat.

Post by Janey » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:39 am

Hi and welcome. This is a difficult one, as you don’t know anything of her background. It could be that she misses her old owner, and was used to just being with him all day, as a lap cat. Some cats just do take a long time to settle e.g. I’ve adopted lots of old cats and one took a year before we finally saw his true personality, but a year and half is a very long time. Do you know if she likes other cats? I was wondering if another placid, old cat would be company for her when you are out, if you could afford one that is. Although I do work from home, we always used to have two old cats, so if one passed we adopted another and it’s always worked fine. They’ve never actually snuggled up together but if introduced in the right way it can work out well. Do you know how old your cat is?

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fjm
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Re: Clingy, anxious cat.

Post by fjm » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:04 am

I wonder if this is a case for anti-anxiety medication? I don't know if a home visit by your vet is feasible, but that might avoid the stress of a trip to the surgery. I also wonder about dementia - perhaps it would be worth reading up on the signs. How is her eyesight? If that is poor as well as her hearing, her clinginess is very understandable.

If she is in good physical health, and medication is contra-indicated or doesn't work, I would try weaning her from such total dependency on you. I had a young cat who had been hand reared and constantly craved and demanded human attention. In the end I came to the conclusion that she had never experienced the tough love a mother cat shows her kittens when the time has come for them to learn independence, and started limiting attention to a few minutes at a time, after which I put her gently but firmly on the floor. It took a few months, but she did improve and was much happier, although she was an anxious cat her whole life.

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Kay
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Re: Clingy, anxious cat.

Post by Kay » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:31 am

I agree with Janey that a companion cat could work - my third cat, Tosker, was very clingy once he lost his fear of me, and wouldn't leave me in peace day or night, but when I lost Trigger and it was just him and Tiffany, he switched a lot of his attention to her (much to her disgust), and now follows her around, and chirrups to her regularly, and only mithers me if I invite him for a fuss

Nattynoir
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Re: Clingy, anxious cat.

Post by Nattynoir » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:08 pm

Thank you for your replies.

We have tried a companion cat in the past. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good match and we were heartbroken to have to send her back (it was only a trial adoption luckily). We wouldn’t like to try again, plus we’be been through so much with Mina health wise, I don’t think we would cope with another. Great idea though.

She’s somewhere between 8 and 14 ish! Maybe around 12 more likely.

She is in excellent overall health but has idiopathic vestibular disease so I guess that can be a factor, as she has falls and head tremors.

Saying that, she’s quite a happy cat and is always chirping away. I’m wondering if it just a result of ageing, but I feel so guilty about having to leave her.

Also, unlikely she misses her owner. She’s not a lap cat at all and warmed to us immediately, plus we’ve had her nearly two years, but who knows.

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