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Feline Jealousy: 10 Tips to Help Your Cat
CatsBehavior

Feline Jealousy: 10 Tips to Help Your Cat

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jan 17, 2023

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You've heard it before — cats get jealous, and they know how to show it. Is this fact, however, or just a rumor? Cats have unique personalities, just like humans do, and those include traits such as jealousy. You're already an expert on your cat's "evil eye," and there's power behind it. Felines act out for an assortment of reasons, behaving so aggressively they'll grind your last nerve. What makes cats jealous, and how do they show it? It's time to find out the truth.

1

Can cats feel jealousy?

tabby cat getting stroked on bed by pet owner. another cat is watching envious Nils Jacobi/ Getty Images

Experts believe that cats do feel some form of jealousy, but not quite the way humans do. While any person can harbor deep envy over others, that's not the case with cats. Rather than those all-too-common feelings of insecurity and fear, our feline counterparts express their jealousy aggressively, taking it out on other pets and yourself. They aren't so different from us after all.

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2

Why cats feel jealous: part 1

A newborn is taking a nap while being held by his dad while a white cat is on the father's lap Image taken by Mayte Torres/ Getty Images

Cats want your undivided attention, so take your eyes off them for one second, and they might feel some type of way. The most common cause of jealousy demonstrates their love and devotion toward their owners. Whether you pay more attention to a new baby or a new video game, cats want all eyes on them and will feel hurt when they aren't the light of your life. Every time you focus on something else, regardless of what that is, feline jealousy comes creeping in.

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3

Why cats feel jealous: part 2

An adult tabby cat looks at a small kitten being held on a small pillow by a senior woman Jenae Escobar/ Getty Images

Kittens are like furry sponges; they absorb information quickly. That being said, they have a narrow window to learn and internalize proper socialization during their earliest weeks (approximately 2-7 weeks old). During this period, kittens require significant playtime with both people and pets; this teaches them proper feline matters, confidence, how to treat humans properly, and how to communicate with other cats. However, if your cat doesn't have positive experiences, they could easily become codependent, aggressive, and feral.

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4

Why cats feel jealous: part 3

Breakfast scene with a cat being very interested in a man's fried eggs. Lucy Lambriex/ Getty Images

Since they're creatures of habit, any changes in daily routine can create friction. This includes everything from your cat's daily feeding schedule to the time you arrive home from work. Those who frequently travel already know the look on their cat's face after a trip or the way they start acting up when you move the food bowl or litter box. If you can, create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible.

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5

Why cats feel jealous: part 4

Ginger cat looking jealous to a tabby cat eating food. Lightspruch/ Getty Images

Cats get incredibly territorial when they don't have enough personal space to spread out. They want what's theirs, and they want it now. Cats also get jealous over a lack of toys, food, attention, cozy sleeping spaces, and playtime — not necessarily in that order. If they feel like they don't have enough of something or what they have is going to someone else, they start acting up. Be careful with babies and young children: their coos and cries, attention from you, and crawling or playing near your cat's belongings could potentially cause some not-so-great behavior.

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6

Jealousy over other cats

two cute maine coon kittens are playing Natalia Plankina/ Getty Images

Cats are more like humans than we'd like to assume, and jealousy is just as common between them as it is us. Yes, really. Every cat has a unique personality, with some being social and energetic while others are laid-back loners. Whether another cat makes yours feel insecure, they're hogging your feline's personal space, belongings, and attention from you, or they simply don't get along, there are myriad ways other cats get yours riled up.

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7

Jealousy over dogs

Senior man holding a cat in his arms and dog is watching at him Jevtic/ Getty Images

Dogs require significantly more space than their feline counterparts and are big balls of energy who rarely stop moving. With kennels, food bowls, toys, and training taking over the living room, your cat could easily feel left out, if not abandoned completely. They'll feel like they have no control over their environment and won't know what to do besides acting out and letting you know.

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8

Signs of jealousy: part 1

cat swatting at a dog kozorog/ Getty Images

When cats get jealous, their behavior is impossible not to spot. Typically, they'll growl, swat their paws, and hiss until they get their way. Oftentimes, this behavior is directed at the cause of their jealousy, whether that's your new video game or your new baby. To make their needs known, they might invade your personal space and do everything possible to get your attention.

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9

Signs of jealousy: part 2

black and white cat scratches his nails on a sofa Magui-rfajardo/ Getty Images

After the primary signs of jealousy take hold, cats start behaving more aggressively. They know they haven't gotten their way yet, so they move from hissing and swatting to scratching and biting. This often escalates if they aren't satisfied, leading to shredding your furniture, tipping over objects on the countertop, messing with your decor, and knocking over or breaking the closest items around. More abrasive cats might start marking their territory around your home, which is a key indicator that something is wrong.

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10

How can you stop your cat's jealousy?

A white angry kitten with attitude looking at the viewer with half opened eyes. Angela Kotsell/ Getty Images

If your cat's alive and breathing, then they're bound to feel jealous at some point. Jealousy is a fact of life, but cats never become insecure or fearful without a reason. Always allow your cat plenty of personal space and ensure they can move through life at their own pace. If they need to adjust to a change in the home, give them time and help guide them along. Identify and eliminate the underlying cause if possible, and always give Fluffy valuable bonding time, attention, and love. Your cat can be one happy camper with a steady environment and a sense of control.

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