Each cat has its own personality. Some rival dogs in their bond with their owner, and can even be clingy. Others will always be aloof and standoffish. Generally speaking, a cat’s personality does change as it gets older. This often includes increased affection.
Do cats get more affectionate with age?
Yes, it is possible for a cat to become more affectionate with age. However, it’s not a guarantee. Most cats become more affectionate and form a closer bond with their owner as they age. Still, they all have their own level of affection, and their ways of showing it.
Cats Express Different Levels of Affection
Cat behavior can be subtle, and even difficult to decode. When a dog loves you, it’s obvious to anyone within seeing distance. They run up to you, showering you with kisses. They sit in your lap, and often follow you around. Cats don’t always show such obvious signs of affection. However, once you know the signs, they are easy to identify.
It’s important to note that some cats are naturally more affectionate than others. This isn’t necessarily a measure of how much they love you, it’s just their personality. For example, some people show affection through a text or a phone call, while others will offer a warm hug. The same is true for cats. If your cat is not very affectionate, simply being in the same room with you can be a sign of affection. Another, more cuddly cat, may sit on your lap or even climb into your face to show you they care.
Signs Your Cat Loves You
Purring is a sure sign that your cat is happy and content, and it can also be a way of expressing affection. Kneading their paws into your leg also shows happiness and love towards you. Some cats love to lick their owners. This may be a form of social grooming, or simply kisses. In either case, it’s a sure sign of affection. These signs are pretty obvious to most cat owners, but other ways they show their love may not be.
When a cat rubs itself against you, it isn’t just asking for you to fill its food bowl. It is saying that you’ve been accepted into its social group. A slow blink is another sign your cat enjoys your company. You can mirror the wink to say, “I love you too”.
They also communicate with their tail. An upright, slightly curved tail is a sign of friendship. Your cat may also wrap its tail around you. This is the cat version of hand holding, and you should feel honored to receive such a gesture, even if it tickles your nose.
Speaking of awkward ways of showing affection, your cat may also back it up in your face. When a cat shows you its rear end in close proximity, it’s actually a sign they trust you and like you. In fact, this gesture means you are their favorite human.
Another sign of affection humans are hard pressed to appreciate is gifts from your cat. If you find your cat’s recent kill on your doorstep, you are likely less than thrilled. However, it’s actually quite an honor. Your cat is giving you what is instinctively their greatest resource, their food.
Of course, your domesticated cat doesn’t have to hunt for its meals. However, the instinct to view food, particularly a fresh kill, as something of great value remains. This makes it a very special thing for your cat to do. The next time you have to dispose of your cat’s gift, be sure to thank them!
A sign of affection humans do appreciate is the cat’s ability to show empathy. You may notice that when you are upset or not feeling well, your cat is especially affectionate or clingy. This is the feline equivalent of a friend bringing you chicken noodle soup or offering a shoulder to cry on.
At what age do cats become more affectionate?
Just like humans, cats go through several life stages. Each brings its own changes to their behavior and personality. There’s no set age at which a cat becomes more affectionate. In fact, many become increasingly affectionate as the years go by.
Kittenhood 0-6 Months
Kittenhood is the first stage of a cat’s life. Everything in the world is new, and they want to explore it all. They are playful and likely get into mischief. Despite them being adorable tiny fluffballs, they aren’t particularly affectionate at this age.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to all kittens. Some will be extra cuddly and needy as kittens, and then assert their independence in the next stage of their life.
Teenage Times 6-12 Months
During this time, your cat is trying to understand the world and their place in it. They are finding themselves. You can expect them to still have lots of energy, and to constantly test boundaries. They want to rule the world, and aren’t particularly happy when they are told they can’t.
Beginning Maturity 1-2 Years
At 1 to 2 years, your cat is a young adult. You’ve made it past the tumultuous teenage stage, and your cat begins to settle down. Play is still a big part of its life, but youthful exuberance has slowed.
Your cat will begin to develop the personality that will define them the rest of their lives. Behaviors, good or bad, will become ingrained and hard to break during this time. If your cat wasn’t very affectionate as a kitten or teen, you may see them becoming more affectionate as their focus begins to shift away from play.
Full of Personality 3-6 Years
At this time, your cat is coming into their own. Their personality becomes stable during this period. They are usually calmer and wiser, having learned from their years so far.
Middle Age 7-10 Years
During middle age, your cat may become resistant to change. They like things they way they are, and will have a hard time accepting major changes. They may also become more affectionate during this period, as their energy levels drop and they spend more time relaxing.
Senior Cats 11-14 Years
Senior cats have seen and done it all. They are usually calm, and more affectionate than their younger counterparts. They may seem unphased by things that would have bothered them as a younger cat.
Senior cats can experience a decline in physical health and cognitive function. This may make them more affectionate or clingy, as they look to you for comfort and safety.
Geriatric Cats 15+ Years
Geriatric cats require special care. They have lived a long and full life. Cognitive decline and chronic health problems become more likely at this stage. Their energy wanes, and they will spend most of their time sleeping or relaxing. Some cats become the most affectionate during this period.
Why is my cat suddenly more affectionate?
There are many reasons why your cat may suddenly be more affectionate. It’s important to note that while this may be a welcome change, it could indicate a medical or psychological problem. However, it can also be the result of a stronger bond with your cat. To determine the cause, you’ll need to take an objective view.
Every relationship takes time to form. If your cat is a relatively new addition to the household, the increased affection may be because the bond between you is growing stronger.
Even if you’ve had your cat for years, it’s possible that as you and your cat grow older, you will grow closer together as well. This will naturally lead to them showing you more affection.
Just like humans, cats can experience anxiety. Some are more anxious by nature than others. One cat may be cool as a cucumber no matter what’s going on, while another requires structure and stability in their environment.
Anxiety can be the result of a change to your home environment or schedule. It can also be because something startled your cat, or they simply aren’t getting enough quiet time alone.
If anxiety is the cause of the increased affection, it will typically be accompanied by other signs of anxiety. These include destructive behavior, aggression, house soiling, and hiding.
Jealousy or Insecure Attachment
Jealousy or an insecure attachment can quickly provoke feelings of anxiety. If your cat feels that their status in your life is being threatened, they will be anxious and clingy. They may go out of their way to get your attention, just to know you still care. If you have recently added a new pet or family member, this is a likely cause.
Need for Attention
Your cat may simply need more attention. They might be more affectionate because their need for attention has increased due to age or other factors. It is also possible that you become busy with life, and haven’t been spending as much quality time with them. In this case, your cat is simply seeking your attention by showering you with affection.
As stated earlier, it’s common for cats to become more affectionate as they age. This is usually a gradual change, but some owners notice a significant sudden shift.
In Heat or Pregnant
Heat and pregnancy both affect your cat’s hormones and behavior. The hormones she releases will often make her more affectionate towards you.
This is one of the most concerning reasons your cat is showing you more affection. When you don’t feel well, you naturally seek more affection from loved ones. Your cat will likely do the same.
Cats are stoic, and prefer not to show signs of illness or injury, so it can be difficult to spot a sick kitty. If you notice strange meowing, a change in appetite, a change in sleep habits, or a change in their bathroom habits, there’s a chance illness is the culprit.
Cognitive decline can also cause your cat to become more affectionate. This typically happens in senior cats. As their memory and thinking processes begin to fail, the world becomes a scarier place. They often cling to their owner for comfort and safety, making them more affectionate.
How to get my cat to be more affectionate?
Some cats are not very affectionate. As a cat owner, you may long for a cuddly fluff ball that spends hours in your lap, even though your cat barely looks at you. If you want to get your cat to be more affectionate, first, you need to manage expectations. Don’t expect your cat’s personality to do a 180. Instead, the focus should be on increasing the bond and positive interactions you have with your cat.
When your cat learns that they can depend on you, a sense of affection is bound to develop. This means that they are provided with food at consistent times. The litter box stays clean. Occasionally, they may get new toys. The important thing is to be a dependable caregiver, every single day.
Make the First Move
If your cat allows you to walk up to them and pet them, do this often. Don’t linger or make a big production of it. Just take a moment to give them a few pets and kind words. Then go on with your day. Your cat might decide that they want more, and begin to seek you out for this type of affection.
Pet While Feeding
Cats love to eat. When you pet them while you are eating, they will relate petting to the enjoyment they feel when they are eating. They may also associate this happiness with your presence.
You can also try hand feeding your cat treats or kibble. It’s not wise to make a habit of this, because cats can begin to expect every meal to be fed to them in this manner. However, it can be a great occasional or temporary bonding tool.
A cat that doesn’t want to cuddle in your lap is usually quite happy to play with you instead. Playtime can increase the affection your cat feels for you, and deepen your bond. Even if it doesn’t result in a cuddle session, you are having a positive interaction with your cat. You are just doing it on their terms.