Cats generally do whatever they like, so if you find one following you—whether you’re out for a walk or just pottering around your own home—they more than likely want something. But what, you ask? Well, that depends on the situation! Let’s explore some of the reasons you might find yourself with a little feline shadow.
Why Do Some Cats Follow You Home When You’re Out Walking?
There can be lots of reasons why this happens, from simply finding you entertaining to needing your help.
If you are approached by, or approach, an outdoor cat while on a walk and show them some attention, you may find the kitty following you simply because you showed some kindness. Generally, these types of interactions will end as soon as the cat reaches the confines of its home range. Once you pass over this invisible (to you) line, your new friend will likely go back to what they were doing in the area where he or she is most comfortable.
The cat needs something
If a cat begins and continues, following you there may be something else going on. Take a look at the general condition of the cat. If he or she looks a bit scraggly, they might be wondering if you have some food you can share. They could be injured and wondering if you can help. Or a female cat with kittens may be telling you that she and her litter need assistance.
Do as much investigating as you safely can in these situations, but be aware of trespassing or appearing as though you may be sneaking around someone’s property. Consider knocking on a door or two to see if you can get any information about the cat.
In cases where a cat has followed you for a while, or to your front door, perhaps she has just decided that you need a pet. If this is something you can, and want, to take on you’ll need to visit a local vet or animal shelter and ask to have the cat screened for a microchip. This is a great way to find out if the cat is lost or has perhaps been abandoned. As an added layer of precaution, check with your local shelter to see if anyone has reported a missing kitty matching your new pal’s description. Maybe put up some ‘found’ posters, too. All of this is to save someone, including you, from heartbreak if the cat is indeed lost.
If you are truly concerned about an outdoor cat’s welfare but can’t do anything about it yourself, don’t hesitate to call either local animal control or a rescue charity.
There can be times when you are walking outdoors and find yourself not being followed by a cat, but being stalked. Some cats don’t like trespassers in their territory and can get a bit aggressive about it—especially if you are walking a dog. If an outdoor cat is not actively engaging you in a friendly manner, your best bet is to scoot on out of there.
Why Does My Cat Follow Me Around The House?
Again, likely because your cat wants something from you. In many cases, this is simply to get your attention (ahem, “feed me”). Here are some things you can try in order to redirect your kitty’s attention away from your every move.
If your cat is bonded with you, making time for daily play can go a long way in reinforcing that relationship. Just 10 or 15 minutes of focused attention like play or brushing can put your kitty at ease.
When you think your cat seems to be following you around out of boredom consider creating some fun spaces where your kitty’s attention can be directed elsewhere. Cat trees with hidden toys are always an adventure. A cat tree or hammock in front of a window is even better—there’s a lot to see out there in the big wide world!
For food-focused cats, scheduling feed times can help ease their worry about when the next meal is coming. As many cat people have experienced, cats have internal clocks that seem to operate by the second. Feeding at regular times so they know when to expect meals can help to assuage food anxiety and, hopefully, prevent the ‘feline follow’.
Just like people, cats can be solitary creatures but some are extremely social. If you have a single-cat household and your cat seems to enjoy the company of their own kind, you could consider getting them a feline friend. Do this carefully, though, as multi-cat households can also leave felines prone to stress.
If your cat suddenly begins following you, there could be something wrong—especially if they are vocalising a lot. They might be trying to tell you something’s not right, so pay close attention and consider taking your pet to the vet for a check-up.