Why Does My Cat Follow Me Everywhere?

Published Jun. 7, 2024
calico tabby cat following her owner who is in a white kitchen

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Cats have a reputation for being independent and aloof—the loners of the pet world. And while some are certainly more independent and need more solo time than others, others tend to follow their people around. The clingiest of cats may even weave between your legs while you walk.

You may be wondering, “Why does my cat follow me everywhere?” Here are some explanations for this common cat behavior.

Why Do Cats Follow You?

Your cat may be following you for a few reasons.

1. Your Cat Is Hungry

One of the main reasons your cat may be following you around is to let you know he’s hungry or that his food bowl is empty. Some cats have a larger appetite than others and may feel the need to eat often throughout the day. This could cause your cat to follow you around until he’s fed.

Even if your cat is well-fed, he may be particularly food-motivated. Cats quickly learn that their humans dispense their food and treats, so your cat may follow you in hopes that you’ll give him more food and treats.

2. Your Cat Wants Attention

Depending on your schedule, the amount you play with your cat, and whether you have other cats or pets, your cat may be mentally understimulated during the day. Seeking attention by following you around is one way your cat may let you know he needs more playtime and petting from you.

3. Your Cat Is Curious

Cats naturally like to investigate and explore their surroundings. You may find that when you open a door to a room or space your cat doesn’t normally venture into, he may follow you to see what you’re doing and check out the area.

4. Your Cat Wants to Be Near You

Cats naturally form tight family units with each other and their human family members. Because of this, the need for social interaction and the security of a group is ingrained in them.

Cats in close-knit family units stick close to each other for protection. As such, when your cat follows you around, it may be because he enjoys your company and feels you are both safest when you’re together.

5. Your Cat Is Sick

Because the family unit is necessary for a cat to feel secure, your kitty may follow you more often and for longer periods when he doesn’t feel well.

Illness is a vulnerable state for prey-predator species like cats. So when your cat is sick, he may feel he is more at risk of being attacked by a predator and may cling to you for protection.

6. Your Cat Is Stressed

Similarly, stress and anxiety are vulnerable mental states for cats. They may feel overwhelmed and seek your company.

Close contact with their human may release oxytocin, a hormone that promotes positive feelings in your cat. Therefore, your cat can feel assured and protected by your presence.

Why Does My Cat Follow Me to the Bathroom?

You may have noticed your cat following you into odd areas of your home, such as the bathroom. However, there is a very practical reason for this behavior.

The acts of urinating and defecating are vulnerable times for cats: They must remain stationary, and the smell of urine and feces may attract predators. So your cat may want to stay with you in the bathroom to protect you.

Your cat may also just be curious about what you are doing or needing more of your company, no matter where you are going.

How To Stop Your Cat From Following You Around

If you find yourself needing a little more personal space from your cat, the first step is to understand why your cat is following you in the first place.

If Your Cat Is Hungry…

If your cat is following you because they are hungry or want food, try offering multiple small meals throughout the day. You can also try puzzle toys or food-dispensing toys, which can help cats who feel bored or understimulated.

You can also invest in an automatic cat feeder. Thanks to the timed feeding schedules, your cat will eventually learn the feeder is the source of his meals and will pester you for food less often.

If Your Cat Wants Attention…

If your cat is alone for long periods during the day—or generally lacking in social interaction and outlets for play—it may be helpful to increase interactive playtime using toys that are fun for both you and your cat. Wand toys, puzzle toys, and food-dispensing toys can be useful.

If Your Cat Is Sick…

If your cat is following you around more often and showing signs like changes in appetite, changes in water intake, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing issues, or trouble walking normally, take them to the veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical concerns that could be causing them to follow you around.

For example, if you feel your cat is hungrier than normal or bothering you more often for food, this could be a sign of an illness like hyperthyroidism.

If Your Cat Is Stressed…

If your cat is stressed or anxious, purchase some calming products and set them up in the areas where your kitty spends the most time. Playtime, along with extra petting and grooming from you, can also help with stress and anxiety.

In some cases, cats may need prescription medications for stress and anxiety. It’s always best to talk with your veterinarian if you think your cat is stressed or anxious.

Finally, if there are certain rooms or areas of the home you don’t want your cat to follow you into, keep doors closed or install pet gates to prevent him from entering these areas.

Restricting access is the best way to keep your cat out —not only so he is safe, but also so you have your space when you need it.

Hannah Hart, DVM


Hannah Hart, DVM


Dr. Hart graduated from veterinary school in 2017 and began her career with USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service as a public health...

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