Has Your Cat's Personality Changed? Why, and What Can Owners Do?

Has Your Cat's Personality Changed? Why, and What Can Owners Do?

Even if your cat used to be affectionate, have they suddenly become irritable or more cautious? You might be wondering what happened.

Will they ever return to their previous self? Some of you might be facing this concern.

Changes in a cat's personality can often be attributed to hidden factors such as environmental or physical changes.

In this article, we will introduce the reasons behind changes in a cat's personality and how to address them.


Table of Contents

1. How a Cat's Personality Can Change
2. Reasons for Changes in a Cat's Personality
∟ 2.1. Due to Age
∟ 2.2. Neutering/Spaying
∟ 2.3. Environmental Changes
∟ 2.4. Health Issues
3. What Owners Should Do When a Cat's Personality Changes
∟ 3.1. Identify the Cause of the Personality Change
∟ 3.2. Address Stress or Health Issues

1. How a Cat's Personality Can Change

Cats come in various personalities, such as "affectionate," "playful," or "cool."

However, their personalities can change abruptly, leaving you bewildered.

Personality changes that can occur suddenly include:

  • [1] Becoming irritable
  • [2] Becoming more affectionate
  • [3] Increasing cautiousness
  • [4] Becoming more relaxed
  • [5] Becoming more social

As you can see, personality changes in cats can be both troubling and positive.

So, why do a cat's personalities change? Let's explore the reasons below.


2. Reasons for Changes in a Cat's Personality

Changes in a cat's personality can be attributed to two main factors: changes in the cat itself (such as growth, aging, illness, etc.) and changes in the environment.

Let's delve into these reasons below.


2.1. Due to Age

As cats transition from kittens to adults and later into their senior years, their personalities change gradually.

[1] Growth:

Kittens raised with love are full of curiosity and energetic playfulness.

They might be too energetic for you to handle.

However, after the age of one, they gradually become calmer, and by the age of three, they settle down completely.

They may not respond as they used to when you try to engage them in play.

You might feel a bit lonely.

[2] Aging:

Cats enter their senior years around seven years old, and aging becomes apparent.

Both their bodies and personalities undergo changes.

Common personality changes during this stage include:

  • - Becoming irritable
  • - Becoming more stubborn
  • - Becoming more affectionate

Some senior cats also become more affectionate, likely due to feelings of insecurity as their bodies and senses decline.

Another concern with senior cats is cognitive dysfunction syndrome (similar to dementia).

When cats develop cognitive dysfunction, they may experience personality changes, including:

  • - Losing interest in surroundings (food, toys, etc.)
  • - Reduced response to physical contact
  • - Becoming aggressive

Other behaviors, such as nighttime vocalization and confusion, can also change.

If you notice any changes in your cat, consult a veterinarian promptly.

Early treatment can extend your cat's healthy lifespan.


2.2. Neutering/Spaying

Neutering and spaying surgeries can also influence a cat's personality.

You may not be aware that this can lead to changes in a cat's personality.

In general, neutering male cats reduces the secretion of male hormones, leading to a more neutral personality.

Both male and female cats become less irritable during the mating season, resulting in a calmer disposition.


2.3. Health Issues

Cats may become more affectionate when they are in pain or experiencing anxiety due to illness or injury.

Similar to senior cats, they become more affectionate as a response to anxiety.

Additionally, pain and stress can make them irritable, hide in confined spaces, or exhibit other behavioral changes.

One specific illness that can directly affect a cat's personality is hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism results from excessive production of thyroid hormones and is more common in senior cats.

It leads to increased appetite, aggression, restlessness, and decreased calmness.

Some owners may mistakenly think their cat is healthy because they eat well and appear active, delaying treatment.


2.4. Environmental Changes

Cats are sensitive creatures that dislike change in their environment.

As a result, they may exhibit behavior that appears as a personality change due to environmental factors.

Here are some environmental changes to be aware of:

[1] Introduction of New Cats:

It's common to hear stories of cats becoming aggressive after introducing a new cat into the household.

Cats are solitary animals and can feel stressed when another cat enters their territory.

This stress can lead to increased irritability and vigilance.

However, multiple cat households can also have positive effects, such as an older cat taking on a big brother or big sister role and reducing mischief.

Nevertheless, introducing a new cat is a highly stressful event for your cat.

Observe your cat's behavior carefully and introduce them cautiously to minimize stress.

If they are not compatible, you may need to separate them into different living spaces.

[2] Moving and Family Changes:

Changes in the environment, such as moving or changes in the family structure (such as a owner's marriage or childbirth), can also lead to personality changes in cats.

Examples include:

  • - Becoming fearful after moving
  • - Becoming aloof when a baby is born
  • - Becoming attached to a spouse after marriage

Cats generally do not welcome change.

When changes occur, ensure that you provide proper care for your cat.

[3] Traumatic Experiences:

Accidents or painful treatments at the veterinarian's office can also cause cats to develop a strong sense of caution and vigilance.

Even a momentary event can change a cat's personality significantly, so be vigilant.

3. What Owners Should Do When a Cat's Personality Changes

As mentioned earlier, if your cat's personality changes, there may be an underlying issue.

Instead of ignoring it, it's important to carefully observe your cat and provide appropriate care.

Here are the steps owners should take when a cat's personality changes:


3.1. Identify the Cause of the Personality Change

First, determine the cause of your cat's personality change.

Observe their daily behavior, physical condition, and appetite for any changes.

Additionally, consider whether there have been recent environmental changes or any events that may have scared your cat.


3.2. Address Stress or Health Issues

If the cause of your cat's personality change is due to stress or health problems, take steps to alleviate them.

Consulting a veterinarian should be your first course of action.

If stress or anxiety is contributing to the change, provide your cat with extra love and attention to help them relax.


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