My Old Cat Is Suddenly Affectionate — What Does It Mean?

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Your old cat is suddenly affectionate? There are many reasons for this behavior. Some of them are:


  • The cat is cold
  • The cat is anxious
  • It feels like it’s being ignored
  • The cat is in heat or pregnant
  • It misses its owner


My Old Cat Is Suddenly Affectionate 


I’ve always been a cat person. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I don’t love dogs or other animals, because I do, very much so. However, cats have always been my favorite, and the thing I love most about them is the fact that they are independent and opinionated animals. But, what does it mean when an old cat is suddenly affectionate?


This happened to one of my older cats and I was intrigued by the sudden and drastic change in behavior. Therefore, I decided to look a bit closer to it. Here’s what I found out.


Possible Reasons Why Your Old Cat Is Suddenly Affectionate


It’s Cold

This is one of the more benign, but also one of the most common reasons why an old cat might suddenly start showing affection. Cats are creatures who relish warmth and comfort. They are always looking for a way to get to their owner’s lap because they feel safe and cozy there. My cat is often clingy like this, especially during the winter when it’s a bit colder in the house.


So, if your cat is trying to get in your lap, he or she might just be trying to get warm.


The Cat Is Anxious


This reason is definitely more serious than the previous one, but it’s not a cause for panic. When I found out my old cat might be anxious, I felt really sorry for him. This is a perfectly normal reaction because every cat owner wants to protect their feline. However, I did a little digging, and I found out cats can be anxious for a number of different reasons. 


Fortunately, most of these reasons are not concerning. Here are the most common ones:


  • They don’t like the noises coming from outside, like construction site noises or fireworks.
  • They don’t like the new pet or a new family member in the house.
  • The cat doesn’t like the new furniture arrangement.
  • He or she doesn’t like the new food.
  • The cat doesn’t like the changes in the daily routine of its owner.


Felines are creatures of habit, and they despise change. Therefore, when my cat is anxious, I try to figure out whether or not I made some changes recently. If that’s the case, there’s no cause for concern. The cat will get used to change and he or she will adapt.


If an old cat is suddenly affectionate, but there’s no recent change in its life, this might indicate another problem. In that case, my instinct is to take the cat to the vet, just to be sure. This is something I would recommend to every cat owner out there.


The Cat Might Feel Ignored


Sometimes, there’s nothing serious or dangerous behind a sudden change in a cat’s behavior. Some cats tend to become overly affectionate simply because they lack attention from their owner. For example, I recently adopted a puppy, and my cat felt threatened and sidelined at first. That period lasted for about a month, and during that time he displayed different types of behavior.


He tried being overly affectionate and when that didn’t work, he became a bit ill-mannered. This is normal behavior for an attention-seeking cat. Here are some other things every cat owner should watch out for:


  • Destructive behavior
  • Urinating outside the litter box on purpose
  • Scratching furniture
  • Waking the owner during the night
  • Hiding the owner’s belongings


So, if an old cat is suddenly affectionate and displays the behavior mentioned above, there’s probably nothing to worry about. The cat just feels ignored and this is its way of seeking attention.


However, I believe the owner should never give in to this naughty behavior. Giving the cat what it wants just to stop it from behaving destructively is not a good idea. The cat will learn that bad behavior is rewarded, and he or she will use this against the owner.


I recommend a different approach.


Cat owners should spend at least twenty minutes playing with their beloved cats twice a day. This will calm down the cat. The feline will learn to expect those playtimes, and he or she will wait for them patiently. I know for a fact I saved a lot of money on furniture and glasses since I started doing this.


The Cat Might Be in Heat or Pregnant


When a cat is in heat or when she’s pregnant, hormones tend to influence her behavior. That is perfectly natural, but it can result in her acting in an uncharacteristic way. This is one of the possible reasons why an old cat is suddenly affectionate.


However, cat owners must be careful when this happens. Pregnant cats are prone to mood swings, and they can change their behavior quickly and unexpectedly. For example, a cat may be warm and cuddly one moment and aggressive and hostile the next. Pregnant cats also tend to attack other pets during this time, so it’s recommended to keep an eye on them.


Additionally, pregnant cats sometimes feel insecure and vulnerable. Therefore, they seek protection from their humans by cuddling and showing affection


On the other hand, if a cat is in heat, she will be desperate to go outside and find herself a mate. Naturally, she will try meowing loudly by the door, but if that doesn’t work, she will display an unusual amount of love for her owner.


Cats Sometimes Miss Their Owner


Even though there is a popular belief that cats don’t have feelings, they do. I had some doubts myself, especially at times when my cats were a bit distant. However, now I can say that cats are warm creatures with a lot of different emotions. One of those emotions is definitely an attachment to their owners.


This is especially true when it comes to elderly cats. These felines are vulnerable, and they don’t like being apart from their humans. So, if an old cat is suddenly affectionate, it might mean that the animal is missing its owner.


Two months ago, when I was working from the office, my cat was extremely clingy every time I came home from work. These days, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have to work from home, and my furry roommate couldn’t be happier at first. After a few days of cuddling, he is back to his normal, distant self —  just the way I like him.


The Cat Just Wants to Show How Much It Loves Its Owner


If someone told me this fifteen years ago, I wouldn’t have taken it seriously. Back then, I thought cats were incapable of feeling things or at least showing their feelings. But now, after living with them for such a long time, I learned how to read them. They do love their owners very much, and they sometimes have the need to show it.


Admittedly, these shows of affection are not a common occurrence, but they are perfectly natural, especially among older cats. Therefore, my message to the fellow cat owners out there is this — if your cat is showing affection, but there are no other changes in its behavior or routine, you have nothing to worry about. The fluffy creature just wants to show you how much it loves you. Savor this moment, it’s rare in the world of cats.


To Conclude


I love cats. I think they are noble, pure, and simply wonderful. I’m convinced that our furry companions feel love and that they have their own way of showing it. Therefore, if the pet becomes overly affectionate, there’s no need to worry right away. It might just be that they are showing the owner how much they love him or her.


However, if the cat is behaving strangely, the owner should take it to the vet. It is the responsible thing to do. I have taken care of many different cats over the last fifteen years, and I never took any chances when it came to their health.


Lastly, I just want to say that if an old cat is suddenly affectionate, it may mean a lot of different things. Some of those things are adorable, others not so much. The bottom line, being a cat owner is wonderful, but it comes with a lot of responsibility, and you must be ready to make sacrifices on a regular basis. But it pays off because a cat is a companion for life, be sure of it.


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