Are you wondering, “Why is my cat so affectionate all of a sudden?”

I experienced this when my cat suddenly became clingy and obsessed, but it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and worried.

When this happened to me, I spoke to my vet and did some research to find out why cats can become affectionate out of the blue.

Before looking closely at the reasons, let’s first get a baseline for what is a normal level of cat affection as cats communicate emotions differently to dogs, and their body language is easy to misinterpret.

What Is a Normal Level of Feline Affection?

A normal level of feline affection is highly variable and will depend on each cat’s unique personality, temperament, and the bond you have with each other.

So, what is a normal level of feline affection? In essence,  there’s no “normal” feline affection level. It’s all up to your cat.

However, don’t mistake your cat low key affection for lack of attachment. Studies have found that cats form a secure attachment to their owners and share similar traits to dogs and humans. (1)

Some cats are more affectionate by nature or bond so strongly they exhibit cat imprinting behavior. Other felines are reserved, and every sign of affection from them is a treasure. 

As long as your cat’s affectionate behavior doesn’t change significantly (over affection or under affection), there’s nothing to worry about. 

And as Mike Delgado, a cat expert, says, “Some cats are more affectionate than others, or they’re more obvious with their affection.” (2)

With that in mind and knowing what is ‘normal’ for your kitty, let’s look at what the cause can be if you notice a sudden change in your cat’s affection level.

12 Reasons Why Cats Become Affectionate All of a Sudden?

Why is my cat so attached to me lately? When it comes to cats, it’s a struggle to understand what goes through their mind. One moment you’re petting your kitty, and the next, you’re nursing a bleeding scratch.

So, let’s talk about 12 reasons “why is my cat so affectionate all of a sudden?” and how you can learn to interpret your cat’s body language. 

#1 Your Cat Has Warm Up to You

When you bring a new cat home, the kitty needs a little time to show its affectionate nature. After all, it’s all new and scary for your pet, and they feel too insecure about being affectionate. 

sick lady hugging a cat

For some cats, the adjustment period can be as short as a couple of days. But other felines take weeks and months to get comfortable with their new cat owner. 

So, if your cat becomes affectionate, your feline has warmed up to your presence and wants to be your friend.

And cats with previous abusive owners will also take their time to get comfortable with you and trust you enough to show affection. 

#2 I’m Hungry

cat being affectionate with his owner

Usually, when cats become extra affectionate in the morning or around mealtimes, they’re saying, “Don’t you see I’m hungry? Hurry up and fill the food bowl!” 

Cats quickly learn that they can get away with almost anything if they act affectionate. So, they use this tactic to manipulate you or appease you after waking you up early in the morning. 

Moreover, many cats figure out you won’t be able to resist sharing your meal with them if they’re extra clingy and cute. I’m ashamed to admit that this tactic works very well with my cat. 

#3 I Want Attention

“Why is my cat suddenly so affectionate?”

Despite popular beliefs, cats are social animals, and they don’t do very well when there’s no one around to play with them or pay them attention. 

So, your kitty may be bored out of its mind and wants your undivided attention. Being affectionate out of a sudden or running around like crazy is how your cat communicates its boredom and unhappiness. 

As studies say, indoor cats need environment enrichment to satisfy their natural instincts, such as toys, cat trees, puzzles, and plenty of social contacts. (3)

Otherwise, cats may exhibit destructive behavior, become clingy, or develop health issues. And as you can see from this video, cats can be crafty when they want attention. 

#4 I’m Getting Old

Some cats are aloof and reserved when young but mellow out with age. And that’s not so surprising because older cats have weaker senses and don’t feel as secure as before.

According to ASPCA, feline cognitive decline is very common in cats over 16 years, and over half of cats between 11 to 15 years are likely to have cognitive problems. (4)

Since these elder cats have problems with their sight and sense of smell, they prefer to stick to someone they trust. And sudden affection is also how older cat communicates their insecurity.  

However, you should talk to your vet if your elder cat exhibits clingy behavior to rule out any serious medical conditions. 

Older cats often develop hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, and other medical problems that can lead to personality changes. 

#5 I’m in Heat

If your cat is suddenly affectionate and you haven’t fixed them yet, your kitty may be in heat.

In general, only female cats have a heat cycle and can go into heat as early as four-month-old. Male cats react to the female hormones and are always ready to mate. 

During their heat cycle, some female cats become extra affectionate – they roll around the floor, rub against your legs, and can’t get enough of your attention, as in this video.

Other less subtle signs that your female kitty is in heat include yowling, marking, trying to escape, restlessness, and changes in appetite. 

Since cats in heat can be very clingy and obnoxious, it’s best to fix your kitty before its first heat to prevent unwanted complications. 

But “Why is my male cat suddenly so affectionate?” Intact tomcats may also exhibit attention-seeking behavior and are extra affectionate, even if they’re usually reserved. 

#6 I’m Pregnant

Are you thinking, “My female cat is suddenly very affectionate? or “My cat is laying on me all of a sudden.” If you haven’t spayed your pet, your cat may be expecting. 

It’s common for pregnant queens to have mood swings and become extra affectionate towards their human owner, as you can see from this video.

Even cats that hate it when you touch them may become extra clingy and affectionate. That’s due to the hormonal changes the cat is going through. 

Other common signs of pregnancy include increased appetite, morning sickness, swollen nipples, decreased activity levels, and nest building.

Moreover, some pregnant cats suddenly become affectionate because they’re about to give birth and seek reassurance from their owners.

 #7 I’ve Got Separation Anxiety

Dogs aren’t the only animals with separation anxiety. A study shows that most cats form a secure attachment to their owner, and 35% develop an insecure attachment. (1)

Cats with insecure attachment exhibit signs of stress when their owner is away, even for a couple of minutes. Upon the owner’s return, the cat will either avoid or cling to its human. 

So, insecure cats can develop separation anxiety because they’ve become too attached to their owner and don’t feel safe without the owner’s presence. 

Such cats also panic because they don’t know if you will be back when you leave the house. They are affectionate in an attempt to manipulate you to stay and not abandon them. 

Some of the most affectionate cat breeds are Ragdoll, Siamese, Bombay, Ragamuffin, and Burmese, just to name a few.

These cats don’t like to be alone and are more like to have separation anxiety or become destructive if you leave them without company for too long. 

#8 You’re Pregnant

pregnant woman carrying her black cat

Why is my cat laying on me all of a sudden? Well, you may be expecting a new addition to the family! Don’t be surprised – cats can detect you’re pregnant before you know it! 

Body temperature rises slightly during pregnancy, and your hormones also fluctuate. Cats can sense these changes and may react by becoming extra affectionate because they’re curious. 

Moreover, cats likely can hear the baby’s heartbeat when they’re lying close to you and may find the sound comforting. 

Besides pregnancy, some cats are affectionate when you’re sick or feeling blue because they’re worried about you.

And any sickness likely disturbs your feline friend’s routine because you’re far too tired to get up and play with them. That stresses cats and makes them more likely to become clingy. 

#9 I’m Sick

adult cat hiding under the bed

Usually, sick cats hide under beds, inside wardrobes, or in any tight nook. It’s part of their natural instinct to protect themselves and hide the pain from potential predators. 

However, some cats are the opposite. They cling to your side because you make them feel secure when vulnerable. These cats know they don’t have to pretend to be healthy and can let their guard down. 

While it’s very rare for cats to become more affectionate when sick, it’s something you should keep in mind because felines have strange ways of asking for help. 

And sometimes, a sick cat’s only option to attract your attention and try to tell you that something is wrong is by sticking to your side like glue.  

A sick cat will also exhibit other obvious signs of discomfort, such as growling, hissing, aggression, changes in appetite, lethargy, etc. 

#10 Traumatic Experience 

Why is my cat more affectionate than usual? The answer can be a traumatic experience or sudden changes in your furry friend’s routine. 

It doesn’t take much to scare a cat out of its wits – sudden noises, new objects in the house, accidentally getting its head stuck in the door, etc.

When something traumatic happens, cats react in different ways. Some become aggressive, while others turn clingy and affectionate.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to determine if your cat’s sudden affection is due to trauma because these things usually happen when you’re not around to observe.

#11 I’ve Got Competition 

One of my cats wasn’t affectionate at all until I got a second cat. And that quickly made Kitty one of the most affectionate cats in the world.

While some cats are aloof, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. And when they suddenly get another cat to compete with, these cats become affectionate because they’re claiming ownership.

Your cat leaves its scent all over you whenever it rubs against your legs, cuddles with you at night, or lays on your lap.

So, it makes sense that some cats turn more affectionate when they’re not the only cat because they’re trying to erase the competitor’s scent from your body. 

#12 Your Cat Is Dying

Unfortunately, some cats suddenly become so affectionate because they’re nearing the end of their lives.

Dying cats don’t know what’s happening to them, but they’re scared and vulnerable. Some prefer to stick to your side because you’re a source of comfort and protection. 

However, many affectionate cats become reserved, withdrawn, and aggressive in their last few days. Such drastic personality changes can be the warning sign that your cat is dying. 

Now that you have a good idea of what can cause this change in behavior, you probably want to know what you can do? Let’s take a look.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Suddenly Clingy? 

It’s not a pleasant experience when your cat keeps trying to walk between your legs or when a clingy kitty wakes you up early.

So, what can you do if your cat is suddenly clingy? Here are seven tips for managing clinginess.  

#1 Talk to the Vet

cat being checked on a vet

If you’re thinking, “My old cat is suddenly clingy,” or, “My cat is affectionate but weird,” you should talk to your vet to rule out a health condition. 

Any sudden changes in your cat’s affection levels can be a warning sign that your feline companion is sick and needs urgent help.

Besides ruling out an underlying medical condition, the vet can prescribe you anti-anxiety medication or calming products or recommend a feline behaviorist. 

#2 Spay/Neuter Your Cat

If your cat is so affectionate all of a sudden because they’re not fixed, you should schedule an appointment with your vet.

According to vets, “If your cat is spayed before her first heat cycle, there is less than ½ of 1% (0.5%) chance of developing breast cancer.” (6)

And it will reduce the chance of your cat escaping to look for a mate or getting into fights with other tomcats. 

#3 Spend Quality Time with Your Pet

woman kissing her cat

Don’t forget that cats are social creatures. They won’t mind being alone in the house if you make up for your absence by playing with them later. 

And remember to enrich your cat’s indoor environment as much as possible. Place perches next to the window so that your cat can watch the birds and provide a variety of cat toys.

#4 Establish Boundaries

When a cat learns certain behaviors, it’s twice as hard to unlearn them. That’s why it’s crucial to establish boundaries and not give in to your cat’s demands.

Make sure your cat knows it’s not allowed to follow you into the bathroom and that you provide cuddles and pets on your terms.

#5 Get Another Cat

cats playing together

You can try getting another cat if your cat demands extra affection because of boredom. Two cats will entertain and tire each other, so they won’t have so much energy to bother you. 

However, getting a second cat to keep your kitty company is a risky solution. Some cats don’t get along well with others and can become extra dominant to chase away the intruder. 

#6 Don’t Scold Your Kitty

Speaking from experience, it’s easy to get irritated when your cat is constantly begging for affection, especially when you’re in a bad mood. 

But it’s important not to scold or punish your cat, or you can damage your bond with your pet and make your kitty afraid of you. 

#7 Reduce Stress

Clinginess is often the result of a traumatic experience or stressful environment. Try to keep your cat’s routine as stable as possible and introduce any new family members/pets slowly.

Moreover, if you have multiple cats, ensure that they get along with each other. One cat often bullies others when the owner isn’t around to supervise and intervene. 

Why Is My Cat So Affectionate Out of a Sudden: FAQs

DO CATS GET CLINGY WHEN YOU’RE SICK?

lady hugging her orange cat

Yes, some cats become clingy when you’re sick. They can sense the changes in your hormones and temperature.
And your sickness often disrupts your cat’s routine, which stresses your furry friend and can lead to clinginess.  

DO CATS BECOME MORE AFFECTIONATE WHEN THEY ARE DYING?

Some cats do become more affectionate when they’re dying because they’re scared and seeking reassurance. But others may become withdrawn and aggressive. 

DO CATS SLEEP WITH YOU TO PROTECT YOU?

Usually, cats sleep with you because they know you’re not a danger and trust you to defend them against potential predators at night.
Still, some cats sleep with you to keep you safe and wake you up in an emergency. 

WHY IS MY CAT AFFECTIONATE IN THE MORNING?

Your cat is affectionate in the morning because they are hungry and want you to get up as quickly as possible and fill its food bowl. 

Conclusion

Now you don’t have to wonder anymore, “why is my cat so affectionate all of a sudden?”

Sudden cat affection isn’t a big red warning flag for your cat’s health, but it’s not something to ignore, especially if you have an intact kitty. 

So, remember to mention any small feline behavior changes to your vet to ensure your cat is healthy, happy, and thriving. 

lady cuddling with her cat

What do you think about these reasons why your cat is more affectionate than usual? Has your cat ever shown signs of clinginess? Share your experience in the comment section. 

Resources: 

  • 1. Vitale KR, Behnke AC, Udell MAR. Attachment bonds between domestic cats and humans. Current Biology [Internet]. 2019;29:R864–5. Available from: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)31086-3?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982219310863%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
  • 2. Nicolaou E. 9 Signs That Prove Your Cat Loves You More Than Anything [Internet]. Oprah Daily. 2020. Available from: https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/a32884389/signs-your-cat-loves-you/
  • 3. Herron ME, Buffington CAT. Environmental Enrichment for Indoor Cats. Compendium (Yardley, PA) [Internet]. 2010;32:E4. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3922041/
  • 4. Older Cats with Behavior Problems [Internet]. ASPCA. 2015. Available from: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/older-cats-behavior-problems
  • 5. Spaying in Cats [Internet]. vca_corporate. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/spaying-in-cats
Grigorina S
Grigorina S

I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.

I discovered that writing is my vocation early in my school years. Since then I’ve taken part in several literature contests – writing horror and fantasy short stories and novellas.
For the past three years, I’ve been an ELS teacher, pouring my heart into showing children and teenagers how important English is for their future and trying to educate them how to treat their pets with care.

Find her on Instagram. Read her latest articles..

Learn more about Grigorina here