Can Cats Experience Jealousy?
The short answer is yes, cats can experience jealousy and can exhibit various types of behavior in response to their feelings.
It is possible for a cat to be jealous in a variety of scenarios. Here are a handful to get your imagination going. A cat can be jealous of:
- Another cat
- Another pet (dog, rabbit, etc.)
- A new baby
- Another person
Orange Tabby Cat
Story #1: Cat jealous of new cat
Andrea has a female domestic tuxedo cat named Tinkerbell who is 5 years old. Tinkerbell has been Andrea's only cat since Tinkerbell was a kitten. Andrea decides that it would be nice to get a 2nd cat to keep Tinkerbell company. Andrea goes to the local rescue and picks out a friendly orange Tabby cat named Mango.
When Andrea brought Mango home, she did everything right, putting Mango in a separate room for the first couple of weeks, integrating him slowly. She introduced Mango and Tinkerbell by playing under the door and cracking the door open so they could safely see and get to know each other. By the time Mango was allowed into the main house, both cats were familiar with each other. The integration seemed to be going well and they were generally getting along.
After a week or so when Mango was more comfortable, he started jumping up into Andrea's lap looking for attention. Andrea liked this since she loved lap cats. Tinkerbell, however, wasn't so happy. She sat on the floor staring at Mango. And when Mango jumped down onto the floor, Tinkerbell swiped at Mango and chased him away.
This is one type of behavior that is easy to identify as jealousy. Tinkerbell was used to being the center of attention and used to being the only one that sat on Andrea's lap. When Mango came onto the scene and started vying for Andrea's attention, Tinkerbell let him know she wasn't happy about it.
Story #2: Cat jealous of owner's girlfriend
Kevin owns a beautiful black female cat named Rashi whom he purchased from a breeder several years ago. Kevin has been single and lives by himself and has been single the whole time he has had her. Six months ago, Kevin started dating and brought his girlfriend Janet to his apartment, so Janet has met Rashi.
Kevin often goes out of town on business for several days at a time and has never had issues with Rashi. Then, one time Janet was over and Kevin packed an overnight bag to spend the night at Janet's house. He spent the weekend there, only coming home to feed Rashi.
The next time Keven packed an overnight bag to stay with Janet, Rashi peed in his overnight bag. Every time since then that Kevin has packed his overnight bag, Rashi pees in the bag. When he packs his suitcase to go out of town, she does not pee in the suitcase.
Is this a story of jealousy? It very well could be.
Learn how to understand your cat better
What to do if your cat is jealous
If your cat is experiencing feelings of jealousy, the best thing you can do is give your cat attention so your kitty knows he/she is loved and is special to you. Even better is to be consistent with your attention so your kitty can learn to expect attention and love every day.
Interact with your cat to show you care
Another thing you can do is create some sort of routine. Cats don't like change and they can become stressed with too much change. Sticking to a routine such as feeding at the same time every day and designated play time at the same time every day will help reduce stress, which in turn will help your cat be able to moderate his or her behavior.
As part of the routine, do make sure you have designated time every day for your cat. This special "cat time" can include brushing, petting and playing. Or break up these tasks and perform grooming at one time, petting and lap time at another time, and play time at another time. However you do it, be sure to give your kitty enough attention that he or she feels loved and secure.