Cats show their affection in lots of different ways. Some are more demonstrative than others but they all have ways of expressing their attachment to you. One cat may jump onto your lap as soon as you sit down and insist on being petted. Another might prefer to perch nearby and watch you attentively. Some cats meow for your attention, while others slink up and rub around your ankles. Many cats will ignore you all day and then creep into your room at night to nap on the end of the bed, while others are cuddle-bugs who want to spend every minute with you.
Why does my cat follow me? She may be curious and want to see what you’re doing. A cat may also desire your attention and follow you so you’ll spend more time with her. Cats who need your help with something may follow you.
If you’ve found your way to this page, you probably have a lot of questions about your cat’s behaviour. Is it normal for my cat to follow me? What should I do if the cat follows me everywhere and sleeps with me? Why is my cat following me to the bathroom? Why does my cat want to be with me all the time? Why does my cat follow me around meowing? Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. We have all the answers that you’re looking for. Just read on to find out more about why cats follow you and how you should respond.
Why does my cat follow me to the bathroom and around the house
There are a lot of reasons why a cat might take to following you into the bathroom specifically or around the house generally. In the case of the bathroom, your cat might insist on following you in there simply because this is the one room in the house where the door is shut. If you’ve gone into the kitchen or the living room, she can reassure herself of your presence by taking a quick peek at you. With the bathroom door shut, she can’t do this. By following you into the bathroom, your cat can keep an eye on you.
Another reason cats follow you into the bathroom is due to curiosity and protectiveness. While some cats actively enjoy splashing in the bath or the shower, most are alarmed and distressed by immersion in water or being sprayed with a shower-head. They, therefore, become deeply concerned when a favourite human voluntarily gets into the bath or takes a shower. A fellow cat-owner’s Siamese boy makes his concern known by standing outside the shower and crying until she’s done. She’s resigned herself to a serenade every morning as she gets ready for work.
Many cats don’t stop at following their humans into the bathroom. No, they simply have to accompany their people everywhere and monitor absolutely all of their activities. Some breeds are more prone to this than others: my British Shorthair boy loves to do this, and Russian Blues are also noted for trotting behind their owners. Chartreux cats like to be close to you as well. Famously, Charles De Gaulle had a Chartreux cat named Gris-Gris who apparently took it upon himself to supervise the French premier’s activities and would tail him from room to room.
This all makes a lot more sense when you know a little about feline psychology. Contrary to popular belief, cats are not solitary creatures. In fact, they evolved to live in colonies with a degree of interdependence and social interaction. Feral cats share their kills and participate in group activities, even going so far as to nurse and care for other cats’ kittens. If a smart, accomplished colony member is interested in something, it’s reasonable for the rest of the colony to take an interest in it too. Thus, your cat may follow you because you’re an important member of her colony and she’s curious to see where you go and what you do.
A cat who doesn’t normally follow you may do so if there’s something she needs. For example, if the cat feels unwell, is in pain or is aware of a problem elsewhere in the home she may glue herself to your heels and run after you wherever you go, often meowing loudly for attention. Take a moment to check her over for obvious signs of ill-health or injury, or to see if she’s trying to lead you somewhere else. Of course, if may simply be that her food dish is empty and that’s why she’s pestering you.
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My cat follows me everywhere and sleeps with me
Cats, in my experience, have a range of personalities that’s almost as diverse as that among humans. I’ve had cats who were gentle and fun to play with, cats who were cool and reserved — and cats who absolutely would not leave my side no matter what. This includes climbing into bed for snuggles at the end of the day. Sleeping with or near their humans makes some cats feel calmer and more secure.
Generally speaking, I find it easy enough to sleep with most cats. Some, though, are absolute pests — attacking your feet, lying on your face or even turning on the lights to wake you up. Shutting them out of the room may not be a complete solution, as many cats will protest their exclusion at a high volume.
The best way to address the problem of a cat who won’t keep quiet when you’re sleeping is to make sure she’s good and worn out by the time you go to bed. That means an extended playtime before her supper. I like to spend at least 15 minutes playing with my cats before bed (preferably longer), followed by a small, high-protein meal to keep them nicely mellow until the morning. This plays to a cat’s natural cycle of activity. If your cat was a member of a feral colony, they’d want to hunt, then after an energetic chase, they’d eat what they’d caught. The next stage is a post-postprandial snooze. You want to exploit this pattern of activity by engaging your cat in an extended bout of physical play, then giving her something to eat, then winding down for sleep.
My favourite pre-bedtime toy is a fishing-pole teaser. This lets me conduct them in a rousing game of chase without having to expend too much of my own energy. I like to spend at least a quarter of an hour having them run and jump after the lure so that they’ll be properly worn out. Cats build up a lot of nervous energy and need help burning it all off before they can relax and calm down. Failing to do this just stores up trouble for you when night falls and you want some peace and quiet.
You should also keep in mind that cats are semi-nocturnal. Even if you get them to sleep they will often get up and become active at night — just when you’d prefer they stayed quiet. For this reason, I sometimes set up a treat ball and other puzzle feeders to provide distractions during the night hours. This seems to keep everyone engaged so they don’t get bored and I don’t have to deal with the kitty Olympics at three o’clock in the morning. My cats also have an enriched indoor environment with cat trees and kitty habitats to explore and play around in, which also keeps them occupied and entertained.
Why does my cat follow me around meowing?
The reason why your cattails you around the house and vocalises can vary. If this is your cat’s normal pattern of behaviour, it’s likely that she is simply bored or anxious and is fussing for attention. Although cats are generally very independent, it may be that your particular cat is one who sometimes needs help to feel calm and secure. You can help here by engaging her in strenuous play (as described above) a couple of times a day. This gives her the social interaction she craves as well as burning off some of her nervous energy and anxiety. Provide her with plenty of attractive toys and a stimulating environment with lots of cat-approved activities: scratching, climbing and hiding. Keep your eyes peeled for other signs of fear or insecurity, such as spraying or destructive scratching. This kind of behaviour indicates that your cat is struggling with territorial anxiety and you need to address that so she feels safer.
If this is unusual behaviour for your cat, there may be a specific problem that requires your attention. Cats often act this way when they’re under the weather. Take a moment to check your furry friend for any signs of ill-health, such as a fever, mucus around the eyes or nose, excessive drooling or redness of the eyes and mucous membranes. Check for parasites such as fleas, ticks, ear mites or worms.
An injury is another possibility. Some injuries are obvious, such as scratches from fighting — check to see if your cat has any wounds or abrasions. Other injuries are harder to detect, such as strains and sprains. Cats are absolute masters when it comes to concealing these, even when they’re actively seeking your help; I assume it’s a leftover evolutionary quirk that once protected them from predators by hiding their weak spots. Gently feel your pet’s limbs and joints to see if you can detect any swelling or tender areas. Pay particular attention to hot spots as additional heat can be a sign of inflammation. If your cat has any of these symptoms, you should have her looked at by a vet. While a lot of minor injuries will go away on their own, others will only get worse.
I’ve known some cats who will follow you to get your attention because there’s something wrong with another pet or member of the household. Take a moment to observe your cat and see if she’s trying to lead you somewhere. Stand still and see if she runs off in a particular direction before coming back, then head in that direction. It may be that she’s found something that’s bothering her, such as a dead animal or a strange cat who’s intruding on her territory. It may also be that one of your other pets needs your attention but is less able to communicate with you. Some cats are tremendously astute when it comes to picking up their colleagues’ needs.
Article by Barbara Read
Barbara Read is the heart and soul behind CatBeep.com. From her early love for cats to her current trio of feline companions, Barbara's experiences shape her site's tales and tips. While not a vet, her work with shelters offers a unique perspective on cat care and adoption.