Do cats get jealous of each other?
Bringing a new kitty to your household might raise that question.
What’s more, we all have heard the horrific (but false) myth that cats smother babies in the cribs because they are jealous.
However, is your cat really jealous?
Keep on reading because we’re going to unravel the mystery how your cat feels like about other cats, humans, dogs, and pets.
Do cats get jealous of each other?
Let me ask you something. How would you describe jealousy? It’s hard to find the words, right?
That’s because jealousy can be a complex emotion mixed up with a bunch of other feelings like anger, sadness, regret, or a sense of unfairness.
We think about our cats like human children, but they are not. They experience emotions differently than us.
Don’t get me wrong. Cats get jealous, but I think about it more as “possessiveness” than actual jealousy.
Why cats get jealous?
In the wild, cats don’t live in groups or packs. They prefer to be lonely warriors, so they don’t share their territory with others unless we’re talking about mating and nursing kittens.
For domestic cats, your home is their territory and sanctuary. You’ll notice how your cat marks what she considers hers by:
- Scratching the furniture
- Spraying around the house
- Rubbing against objects or people
In the cat’s eyes, humans are the ones providing food, petting, entertainment, and security. It’s natural of a cat to be possessive of those who take care of her.
After all, without you around who will cater to Kitty’s every whim?
That’s why cats get jealous of each other when one of them is hogging all the attention, or they have to share bedding, toys, and bowls.
In Kitty’s mind, she has somebody with whom to compete for resources (food, sleeping places, petting, to name a few).
She feels threatened and insecure and would act possessively to show the other cat who is boss.
What’s more, a new addition to the household means that routines changes. Cats are not fans of sudden change, and it makes them anxious and stressed.
As a result, Kitty feels she has to act to protect what’s hers or she might lose it.
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Besides other cats, your feline can become jealous of new people in your life, babies, and objects, for example, phones, laptops or books.
Since you’re so engaged in interacting with your new boyfriend/girlfriend/cat/phone, the cat feels she is not getting all the attention she needs and acts jealously.
What are the signs of jealousy in cats?
When a cat is jealous, you’ll often observe behavior changes soon after you bring the new pet/person into your life. For example:
- Constant demand for affection
- Cold shoulder attitude
- Aggression towards the new person/pet and acting pushy towards it
- Hiding whenever the intruder comes into the room
- Hissing, growling, and fighting
- Urinating outside of the litter box
- Spraying on the walls or furniture
- Attempts to chase away the intruder
- Acting out to attract your attention by kicking object off the table, or cuddling too close to you
- Depression and lethargy.
However, before you jump to the conclusion that your cat is jealous, take her to the vet for evaluation. She might have a medical problem triggered by stress and anxiety.
How to deal with cat jealousy?
So, what can you do if your cats are jealous of each other?
The easiest solution is to try to spend enough time with Kitty to reassure her that everything is going to be all right.
You want to emit the message that the new cat doesn’t change how you feel about Kitty and that you’re not going to forget about her. You should also:
- Introduce new cats into the household slowly. The same goes for dogs and babies.
- Try to keep your cat’s routine intact to prevent stress.
- Get enough toys and litter boxes to accommodate two cats.
- Don’t leave your cat out when you’re distributing treats.
- Keep the new pet away from your cat’s favorite sleeping places.
- Don’t let your cat see that you’re paying special attention to the new guy.
Think about Kitty as a toddler. She can’t speak, but she watches your every move. She knows when you’re unfair to her and when another creature is getting more attention than her.
I’m going to give you a personal example.
As a child, I beg for a kitten until my parents got me one. It was a tabby female, who I named Ana. She was a lovely companion, and we had a lot of fun together.
The situation changed when we got another cat – a magnificent black tomcat.
To say that Ana was not happy with the presence of the new cat would be an understatement.
Do you know what happened?
Ana ran away to another house after a couple of months. I would see her from time to time in the rare moments she would grace us with her presence. But she made it clear that we were not her family anymore.
So, cats do get jealous of each other and can be quite miserable when they feel ignored and unloved. Don’t make my foolish mistake and treat your cats equally.
What do you think about the topic? Do you think that cats get jealous of each other? Share your story in the comments.
I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.
I discovered that writing is my vocation early in my school years. Since then I’ve taken part in several literature contests – writing horror and fantasy short stories and novellas.
For the past three years, I’ve been an ELS teacher, pouring my heart into showing children and teenagers how important English is for their future and trying to educate them how to treat their pets with care.