Cat parents commonly like to anthropomorphize their pet’s behavior with human emotions like love, anger, anxiety, etc. But do your cats also get jealous?
Cats are very competitive and territorial by nature, and they might become jealous; however, it’s not quite like human envy. If your cat suddenly seems more obsessed with you or exhibits destructive behaviors such as scratching furniture, then it’s a sign that your cat is getting jealous.
Cats often show jealousy when they feel their place in the house threatened by other pets or a new family member. It’s no fun living with an insecure cat, and you need to take steps to make your cat feel loved. But first, you’ll need to figure out the reason behind its jealousy.
How Can You Identify Jealousy in Cats?
Different cats have different personalities, and they show different levels of confidence. Cats that feel insecure may show different signs that can be intercepted as jealous behavior.
The signs that your cat is jealous include:
- Aggression such as biting, hissing, growling; they might also swat at you
- Stress behavior, such as hiding or pooping outside the litter box; they might also pee in random places
- Invading your personal space to get attention
- Destructive behavior such as scratching the furniture and knocking out the trinkets from your shelf
Reasons Why Cats Get Jealous
There are several reasons that can cause jealousy in cats. These include:
A New Family Member
A new addition to the household, whether it’s a new baby, a new kitten, or a significant other, could be the reason why your cat may act jealous. It may have to compete with the newcomer for your attention, which can make it feel insecure, leading to jealous behavior.
Lack of Positive Socialization
Kittens who are separated too early from their mothers or litter can become overly dependent on their owners. As they grow older, they may have trouble adjusting to unfamiliar situations and act jealously.
Changes in Routine
Cats are creatures of habit who don’t like having their routine disrupted. Even the smallest change, like moving their food bowl to a new spot, can cause them to react poorly and lead to feelings of anxiety and jealousy.
Lack of Attention
It’s not just a new member or changes in routine that gets your cat all worked up; not giving proper attention to your kitty can also result in a fit of jealousy. Whether it’s your phone, a new hobby, or the fact that you’ve started working from home, spending less time with your feline friend can disturb its emotional repertoire.
Lack of Personal Space
Cats are territorial animals who need their space. Sharing food bowls, litter, and beds with a new cat can be the reason why your cat is jealous.
How Can You Help Your Jealous Cat?
The best way to help your clingy cat is by identifying the reason behind its behavior. Is there a new baby in the household, or have you made any changes to your pet’s routine? Once you’ve identified the reason behind its behavior, take steps to eliminate the cause.
Here’s how you can do this:
Spend More Time With Your Pet
Your cat could be jealous of the amount of time you’re spending with other family members. Paying more attention to it and spending a certain amount of time every day is one of the best ways to deal with a clingy cat.
Give It Space
A new pet or baby could be encroaching on what your kitty perceives to be its personal space. If its favorite spot on the couch is taken up by the newcomer, your feline family member will get jealous. But setting up the toys, bed, blanket, and scratching post for your cat in your living room corner to provide a personal space for your cat might help reduce jealousy.
Try to Be Fair
Pay special attention while handing out treats or playing with your cats in a multi-cat house. Your male cat can get jealous of other cats in the house and start acting aggressively if it feels that something or someone has invaded its territory.
Keep Them Busy
Providing your cats with mental stimulation and ample distractions might also be beneficial for their welfare. You’ll have to worry less about jealousy in your cats if you keep them occupied with activity centers, cat trees, and plenty of toys.
Competition between cats can also become a source of stress. Be sure to provide each of your cats with their own bowls, beds, scratchers, and litter boxes.
Introduce New Kittens Gradually
When introducing another cat into your home environment, be sure to do it gradually. Initially, keep them separated, but exchange the items of one cat with the other so that both can get used to each other’s scent and smell.
Encourage Good Behavior
Although some people may scoff at the idea of training a cat, using subtle methods to do so can be quite rewarding. Give your cat treats when they act in the way that you want to encourage, and ignore them when they behave in a way that you want to discourage.
Ask Your Vet for Help
If you’ve tried everything and haven’t seen any difference in your cat’s behavior, it’s time to consult a professional. Your veterinarian will provide you with strategies, suggestions, and even medications to help improve your cat’s behavior.
Are Cats Jealous of Their Pet Parents?
If your cat has been with you for a long time, it might become jealous of the attention you give to your new partner. The best way to keep it happy is to make sure that your partner also pays some attention to it. Your significant other should try to pet and play with the cat while you’re spending time together.
Dealing with jealousy in cats can be quite frustrating and stressful, but rest assured that you can help them tone down their jealousy.
Make sure you spend plenty of time with your cat, cozy up to it, allow it to sit on your lap, and provide it with a steady and consistent environment. Be patient with it and allow it to adjust gradually to any major life changes. And if you’ve tried everything with no results, consult your vet or an animal behaviorist in case your cat has trouble adjusting.