Cat Obsessed with Owner. The Truth About Feline Fixations

What is obsession?

Obsession is defined as a persistent, disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling ( It involves an intense and excessive focus on something or someone.

An obsession tends to dominate one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It leads to a preoccupation that is disproportionate and beyond what most would consider normal or healthy. Even when obsessions interfere with daily life, a person has difficulty letting go of the thought or behavior.

Signs of obsession in cats

There are several common signs that a cat may be obsessed with their owner. Some of the most notable signs include:

Following owner constantly – An obsessed cat wants to be near their favorite person at all times. They will follow their owner from room to room and protest if separated.


Excessive affection – A cat that is obsessed with their owner will shower them with affection in the form of rubbing, nuzzling, licking, and kneading. The cat craves physical contact and connection.

Possessiveness – An obsessed cat can become possessive of their favorite person. They may block access to their owner, intervene when others try to interact with them, or act territorial.


Anxiety when separated – Separation from their special person can cause an obsessed cat to become extremely anxious. They may vocalize, search frantically, or stop eating until reunited.

Why cats become obsessed

There are several reasons why cats may become obsessed with their owners, some more concerning than others. One of the most common causes of obsessive behavior in cats is a lack of proper socialization, especially during the critical developmental stage between 2-7 weeks old. Kittens who do not receive adequate social contact and handling by humans during this period may fail to form healthy attachments later in life. This can lead to separation anxiety and a strong fixation on their owners as the primary source of safety and comfort.

Another potential cause of obsessive behavior is anxiety or stress. Changes in routine, environment, or the introduction of new people/pets can trigger insecure feelings in cats. To cope, they may cling excessively to the most stable and reassuring element in their life – their owner. Fear of abandonment is an extension of feline anxiety. Cats adopted from shelters or removed from their mothers too young may never fully overcome the trauma of neglect or abandonment. This can manifest in demanding behavior aimed at eliciting constant affection and attention from their chosen person.

While obsessive behavior is not inherently dangerous, owners should be mindful if it becomes compulsive or disruptive to the cat’s quality of life. Consulting a vet or animal behaviorist may help determine appropriate solutions, whether that involves socialization training, anti-anxiety medication, or environmental changes to ease the cat’s mind.

Is it unhealthy for cats?

Obsession in cats can lead to clinginess and separation anxiety when the cat is left alone or separated from the object of its obsession, which is often their owner. This can cause the cat distress. According to SweetyHigh, signs of an unhealthy obsession in cats include meowing excessively and showing signs of anxiety when the owner leaves. The cat may also follow the owner obsessively from room to room.

However, in most cases, a cat’s obsession is not unhealthy if the owner provides the cat with enough affection and attention. As stated in Pets – Thenest, cat obsessions are usually harmless passions, not psychological disorders. Satisfying the cat’s needs for affection can prevent separation anxiety. Overall, obsession in cats does not normally signify a pathological issue as long as the owner understands the cat’s needs.

Is it unhealthy for owners?

A cat’s obsession or extreme attachment to their owner can be annoying at times, but it is usually not harmful to the owner’s health. According to the Humane Society, about 33% of U.S. households have at least one cat, so strong bonds between cats and their owners are common.

However, it is important for owners to set reasonable boundaries and not reinforce clingy or demanding behavior from their cats. Owners should make sure to meet their own needs for personal space and independence. While an obsessed cat may want constant attention, owners need time to work, socialize with other humans, and engage in self-care.

With training and behavioral modification, owners can redirect a cat’s obsessive tendencies into more moderate, healthy attachment. But owners should watch for signs their relationship with their cat is negatively impacting their quality of life. In extreme cases, they may need to consult an animal behaviorist.

Overall, a cat’s obsession is usually more of an annoyance than a health hazard for owners. By being attuned to their own needs and setting appropriate boundaries, owners can foster a close yet balanced bond.

Encouraging healthy attachment

A cat can form a strong attachment to their owner, but it’s important that this attachment remains healthy. Here are some tips for encouraging healthy cat-owner attachment through playtime, introductions, and enrichment:

Make playtime positive and rewarding with toys, treats, and praise. Play strengthens the bond between cat and owner. And be sure to let your cat “catch” the toy sometimes to satisfy their hunting instinct.

When introducing your cat to new people or pets, go slowly and use positive reinforcement. Give your cat treats for calm, friendly behavior. This prevents them from becoming fearful or aggressive to unfamiliar faces.

Keep your cat mentally and physically stimulated. Rotate toys to prevent boredom. Provide scratching posts, cat trees, and hiding spots to encourage natural cat behaviors. A confident, secure cat will be less prone to separation anxiety.

With the proper care and enrichment, you can foster a deep yet healthy attachment between owner and cat.

When to seek help

If your cat is showing signs of significant distress due to their obsessive behaviors, it’s important to seek help from your veterinarian. Look for the following signs that may indicate your cat needs professional assistance:

  • Aggression or destructive behaviors like excessive scratching or urinating outside the litter box
  • Not eating or refusing to use the litter box
  • Excessive vocalization such as crying or meowing
  • Lethargy, hiding, or other signs of depression
  • Pulling out fur or self-mutilation
  • Walking in endless circles or staring blankly for long periods

According to veterinary behaviorist Dr. John Ciribassi, “If the behavior is excessive enough that it’s driving the cat’s caregiver crazy, then it’s a problem.” (Source). Don’t wait to get help if an obsessive behavior is significantly impacting your cat’s normal activities and quality of life.

Your vet can do a full health exam to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the behavior. Bloodwork, urinalysis or neurological testing may be recommended. Once physical causes are ruled out, your vet can provide referrals to an animal behaviorist who can assess your cat’s environment, daily routine and potential triggers. From there, an effective behavior modification plan can be created which may include training, medication, or environmental changes.

Training and behavior modification

One of the best ways to deal with an overly obsessed cat is through training and behavior modification. This involves techniques like desensitization and providing alternatives to reduce the obsession (

Desensitization involves gradually exposing the cat to whatever is triggering the obsessive behavior, while keeping the cat below threshold so he remains calm. For example, if the cat gets extremely excited when the owner comes home, the owner can enter quietly and ignore the cat at first. Over many repetitions, the cat learns the return is not overly exciting. High value treats or toys can be used initially to keep the cat focused on those instead of the trigger.

Providing suitable alternatives is also important – such as toys, cat trees, perches and scratching posts. This gives the cat appropriate outlets for play and activity. Rotating toys helps keep the cat interested and stimulated (

Remaining calm and setting boundaries with the cat is also important. Don’t yell, punish or physically restrain the cat, as this can make the situation worse. Gently block access if needed, then redirect to a toy or treat. Consistency, positive reinforcement and environmental management are key.

Medication if needed

In severe cases of obsessive-compulsive behavior in cats, medication may be required as a last resort when other methods have failed. Anti-anxiety medications like fluoxetine (Prozac) and clomipramine can be prescribed by a veterinarian to help reduce anxiety and compulsive behaviors.

According to Today’s Veterinary Practice, clomipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant that is approved for treating OCD in humans and has shown promising results in cats as well.

However, medication should only be used under the guidance of a veterinarian, as improper dosage or medication can be dangerous. The medication must be carefully monitored and adjusted based on the cat’s response.

Medication alone is rarely a complete solution. It should be used in conjunction with behavior modification training and environmental changes to address the underlying cause of anxiety.

Fostering a healthy bond

Creating a strong bond with your cat requires dedication, patience, and understanding of feline behavior. While cats can be independent, they crave a stable companion relationship and affection from their owners. Focus on the following ways of fostering a healthy bond:

Quality playtime is essential for forming attachment. Interactive play satisfies a cat’s predatory instincts and provides mental stimulation. Use wand toys, laser pointers, or play hide-and-seek with favored toys. End each play session while your cat still wants more to prevent boredom.

Respect your cat’s space needs by providing perches, cat trees, hideaways, and “no pet” zones. Cats feel secure with places to observe from afar, retreat to, and control. Never force a cat to be held if they want down.

A routine with consistent feeding, play, grooming, and sleep times promotes security. Cats flourish within predictable patterns and interactions. Gently stick to schedules, while being affectionate and attentive.

With understanding and empathy for felines, a profound human-cat bond can form. Engage your cat according to their preferences and you may be rewarded with a loyal, loving companion for life.

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