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Why Is Your Cat So Affectionate All of a Sudden? 11 Possible Reasons

Misty Layne Profile Picture

By Misty Layne

tabby cat sleeping on owner's lap

Cats can certainly be affectionate (at least on their own terms), but they definitely aren’t affectionate all the time (and some aren’t very affectionate at all). This can make it awfully surprising if your favorite feline suddenly becomes a lovebug and begins cuddling up to you constantly. But what does it mean when a cat becomes affectionate all of a sudden?

After all, sudden changes in our cat’s behavior can be a bit suspicious, but is there actual reason to be concerned about your pet becoming extra cuddly? Very rarely, there might be, but for the most part, the reasons this can occur aren’t concerning at all. So, take a look below to find out all the possible reasons your cat is so affectionate all of a sudden!

The 11 Reasons Your Cat Is So Affectionate All of a Sudden

1.  Hunger

Your cat may be expressing the need to be fed if it becomes super affectionate suddenly. We’ve all woken up to find our felines sitting right on top of us, cuddling up (and sometimes batting at us) in an attempt to get us to wake up and give them food.

Or your pet might be affectionate with you while you’re eating in an effort to get some of your food (think of it as the feline version of puppy dog eyes). Our kitty friends can be manipulative when they want something, and they’re aware being cuddly and cute is a good way to get what they want!

Cat rubbing against owner's legs
Image Credit: Evan Abram McGinnis, Shutterstock

2. Cold

It could also be that it’s colder in your home than normal or cold outside, so your feline is being cuddly to leech some of your body heat. If you suddenly find yourself with a lapful of kitty, check the temperature in your home (after your pet is done getting warm, of course) to make sure it’s warm enough.

3. Not Receiving Enough Attention

Felines can be demanding, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that your cat can become extra affectionate and clingy when it feels as if it isn’t receiving enough attention. Studies have shown that our cats need plenty of engagement and enrichment, such as toys that play to their natural instincts and affection from family members.1

If your pet has no one to play with or can’t seem to find an activity engaging enough, it’s likely bored out of its mind. Thus, the sudden affection to garner attention.

Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

4. Competition in the Home

Has a new addition arrived at your home recently? A new pet or even a baby? If so, your kitty could become quite affectionate and clingy. By being all cuddly with you, your pet is staking an ownership claim. Cats have scent glands in several places on their bodies, including paws and cheeks, and those receptors leave behind a scent that lets others know that something is theirs. If your pet is doing this with you after a new arrival in the home, chances are it’s because kitty is competing for your attention.

5. Hormones

Hormones begin fluctuating when your feline friend is about to go into heat, meaning it’s not uncommon for it to become extra snuggly and affectionate during this time. If your pet is in heat, you’ll also notice several other signs, including loud vocalizations and rubbing against everything. For this same reason, pregnant cats can become extra affectionate as well.

cat rubbing its body the owner
Image Credit: Piqsels

6. Pregnancy

We already mentioned your cat becoming affectionate and clingy while it’s pregnant, but what about if you’re the one who’s pregnant? Believe it or not, your furry friend may also become clingy when you’re pregnant!

This affectionate behavior may not occur with every feline, of course, but there are tons of people who have reported this occurring during their pregnancies. It’s theorized cats can tell when you’re pregnant via their ability to smell hormonal changes, pick up on changes in how you behave (such as mood swings), notice your body temperature increase, and even hear the baby’s heartbeat after a certain point of pregnancy. Pretty wild, right?

7. Traumatic Experience

If your pet has undergone a traumatic experience—getting its head stuck in something or an extremely loud and sudden noise—it could come to you seeking comfort. This is another instance where cats are incredibly different; where your cat might come and cuddle up to you, another person’s cat might instead prefer hiding under the bed for the next hour, while still another cat might become aggressive in response.

gray tabby cat cuddling up to her owner in bed
Image Credit: Chris Abney, Unsplash

8. Aging

As our feline friends become older, much like us, they slow down and become less active. This leaves them plenty of time to stick to our sides like glue and snuggle at every opportunity. Plus, some older cats can lose their independence, whether due to dementia or it becoming more difficult to get around. This could also cause your pet to seek you out for comfort. There’s also the fact that some older felines start to lose hearing or sight, and as a result, may stick closer than normal in an attempt to not lose where you are in the house.

9. Stress or Anxiety

It’s fairly easy for a cat to become stressed or anxious. Anything from a change to its routine to a bad storm to a cat it sees outside the window can stress your kitty out, as felines are very sensitive to the most minor of changes. And stress or anxiety can lead your pet to seek you out for comfort. Not every cat will do this; others may hide away for hours at a time to feel safe. But if you are your pet’s security blanket, so to speak, expect them to stick close when stressed.

cat snuggling with owner
Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

10. Illness

When our cats are ill, they tend to hide away, following the instincts of their wild ancestors that knew a sick cat was easy prey. But there are some illnesses where your pet may become affectionate and clingy instead. Most of these will involve diseases of the brain, such as dementia, or of the eye as these types of illnesses can hinder your cat’s ability to be independent.

11. Dying

And the final and most unfortunate reason your cat may become affectionate all of a sudden is that it knows it’s dying. Cats tend to know when the end is near, but it doesn’t mean they understand what’s happening. This means your pet is scared, so it’s more likely to seek you out for comfort.

However, if your cat is already affectionate, it may swing the other way and become more withdrawn in its final days. Essentially, you can expect behavioral changes near the end of your pet’s life.

sick cat cuddled in blanket
Image Credit: Germanova Antonina, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons your favorite feline may become affectionate all of a sudden, and most of these aren’t bad (though a few are). For the most part, your cat becoming extra clingy and cuddly is the result of something minor such as being hungry or cold or simply wanting attention. But it could also signify that your pet is ill, stressed out, or, in the worst-case scenario, dying. Overall, though, there’s not much reason to be concerned about your kitty’s sudden affectionate nature!

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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