Although the cat is known to be an independent animal, it also happens to be possessive which can lead to behaviors reminiscent of jealousy. Is this anthropomorphism or can a cat really be jealous of other people and animals in the household? If not, how can this attitude be explained and what can be done to avoid undesirable behavior?
Is a cat really jealous?
Jealousy as we experience it as humans implies a notion of envy towards something or someone that we would like to have. It is a feeling involving cognitive mechanisms that we do not strictly speak and share with the cat. Indeed, if animals are obviously endowed with emotions such as attachment, joy, fear, etc. it is not proven to date that they feel anger or Jealous Cats as we can experience it.
However, the arrival of a new individual in the home, animal or human, represents a potentially stressful change. , anxiety or disturbance for your cat. It may then be that he relieves himself in the house or on the business of the newcomer, that he hides or does not allow himself to be approached, which may give the impression that he is sulking but that is an interpretation. human!
The cat, a territorial animal
We can never repeat it enough, yet it is a fact that explains many behaviors in cats that may seem incomprehensible or extreme to us. Indeed when a new individual arrives at home, it represents for the cat an intruder on its territory which it naturally perceives as a threat. This is a perfectly normal instinctive reaction for an animal as attached to its territory and its habits as the cat is. We should therefore qualify this as a resource protection reflex, linked to the instinct of preservation, rather than jealousy as such.
What solutions are possible?
Finding solutions to the problem of “jealousy” in cats depends on the situation and how it changes its environment and habits. By way of example, here are 3 possible scenarios:
Situation n°1: my cat does not accept a new congener
In the event that you have adopted a new cat, it can actually be experienced as a real intrusion for the first one. In general, cohabitation will be facilitated when it comes to a kitten because the adult cat does not perceive it as a direct rival. It is very important not to put it aside, even if your attention is caught by your new ball of fur! Do not change his habits: continue to feed him at the same time, in the same place, and do not let the new cat access his bowls. Likewise for the litter, it is imperative to install a second tray, at least initially, until your cat accepts cohabitation.
Even if you dream that your two cats are sleeping paw in paw, do not force things and install for each of them a place to sleep and hide, as well as distinct and separate bowls, if possible in different rooms. This will allow the doors to be closed at mealtime so that everyone has their privacy and is not stressed by the presence of the other as a potential danger for their ration! It is essential that everyone can sleep and eat serenely.
By respecting these simple precautions, you will avoid a lot of stress and annoyance for your cat but also for the newcomer, who found his place in the house is not easy either.
Situation n°2: my cat does not accept my new partner
Like when you adopt a new cat, the arrival of a new human in your home – a friend, partner, or even roommate – can pose a threat to your cat’s comfort and habits. Again, it’s important not to disrupt them in terms of pacing and locations. Leave his bowls and sleeping areas in the same place, and be careful not to deny him access to the bedroom if he used to sleep with you! If your friend or roommate is resistant to the idea of having a cat in his room, try to discuss it clearly and find solutions together. If it’s complicated, consider a gradual change and get yourself a soothing pheromone diffuser ( Feliway) to help your cat accept it.
Another important point is to continue to provide love and attention to your pet, trying as much as possible to keep the moments of play and cuddles. Your spouse will have to find the right distance with him so that he does not feel invaded until your cat has accepted him!
Situation n°3: my cat can’t stand the arrival of my baby
This last scenario is not the least because the birth of a baby necessarily leads to a real upheaval in the rhythm of the house. First of all, your cat will be surprised to see, hear and smell this little being, especially if it is the first human he has met. When the baby arrives at home, do not hide it from your animal but introduce it so that it identifies its smell. While it’s okay to keep him out of the bedroom without your supervision, let him roam around when you’re with your baby so he gets to know him and doesn’t feel left out.
Even if your baby’s needs are the priority, don’t forget to give your cat attention when you can, try not to skip his meals, and avoid moving his things after birth. The arrival of the baby makes changes in the environment inevitable, however, do what is necessary to anticipate them before delivery so that the cat does not make a direct link between the upheavals he is undergoing and the appearance of the baby. Make the changes little by little, give him high vantage points and small corners that will remain his own.