Do Cats Get Jealous?

Do Cats Get Jealous
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Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Yes, cats are known to experience jealousy towards other cats or even humans. Cats make for wonderful pets, and their affectionate personalities are sure to win your heart.

However, have you ever wondered if your feline friend experiences feelings of jealousy towards other pets or humans in the household? The truth is, cats possess complex emotions and can become territorial and possessive. Many cat owners have reported scenarios where their cats exhibited behavior that was indicative of jealousy, such as being aggressive towards the other pet or person they perceive as a threat.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the question of whether cats get jealous and explore the signs to look out for.

Do Cats Get Jealous?


Understanding The Psychology Of Cats

Cats have a reputation for being aloof and independent, but do they experience emotions like humans? Many cat owners are curious to know if their feline companions can get jealous.

Scientific Research On Cat Behavior

Recent studies have shown that cats have emotional intelligence and can experience a range of emotions that are similar to humans.

  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Happiness
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Jealousy

Jealousy is a complex emotion that involves feelings of fear, anger, and sadness. It is often triggered by a perceived threat to a valuable relationship or resource.

The Differences Between Human Emotions And Feline Emotions

Although cats can experience emotions like humans, there are some differences. Cats are unique creatures with their own ways of expressing themselves.

Here are some differences between human emotions and feline emotions:

  • Cats communicate through body language and vocalizations, while humans rely on spoken and written language.
  • Cats may display emotions differently than humans. For example, a hissing cat may be expressing fear instead of anger.
  • Feline emotions can be triggered by different things compared to human emotions. For instance, a cat may feel threatened by a new cat in the house, while a human may not see that as a threat.

Understanding the emotions of cats is essential for cat owners to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with their feline companions. As cats cannot speak our language, it is crucial to pay attention to their body language and behavior to understand their emotions.

Can Cats Feel Jealousy?

Cats are complex creatures, and their emotions are just as complex. As cat lovers, we want to believe that our feline friends feel love and affection towards us, but what about jealousy? Do cats have the capacity to experience such an emotion?

Let’s explore this topic further under the subheading: can cats feel jealousy?

Defining Jealousy In Cats

Jealousy is an emotion that arises when an individual perceives a threat to a valued relationship. For cats, this can manifest in various forms, such as being possessive of their food, toys, or even their owners.

  • Aggressive behavior towards other pets or people whom they perceive as competitors for attention.
  • Attention-seeking behavior, such as rubbing against their owners or meowing excessively.
  • Destructive behavior, such as scratching furniture or urinating outside the litter box.

Identifying Jealousy In Cat Behavior

It can be challenging to determine whether a cat is experiencing jealousy or other emotions such as anxiety or fear.

  • Vocalization: Cats may meow excessively or yowl if they feel ignored.
  • Unusual aggression: Your cat may become aggressive towards other pets or people, especially if they perceive them as a threat to their relationship with you.
  • Urinating outside the litter box: This could indicate marking behavior, which is often a response to stress or anxiety.
  • Over-grooming: If your cat is excessively licking or grooming themselves, it could be a sign of stress or anxiety.

Insights From Feline Experts

According to feline behavior expert pam johnson-bennett, jealousy is a complex emotion that cats may experience but is often misinterpreted. She suggests that owners look for the root cause of the behavioral issue and try to address it rather than assuming it is jealousy.

In many cases, the behavior may be related to anxiety or fear.

Similarly, cat expert jackson galaxy advises cat owners to focus on building a positive relationship with their pets. He believes that by creating a loving and secure environment, cats are less likely to feel jealous or threatened by other pets or people in the household.

Do Cats Have The Cognitive Capacity To Feel Jealousy?

Though it is challenging to determine definitively whether cats experience jealousy, research suggests that animals with complex social structures may experience a range of emotions, including jealousy. However, it is essential to remember that cats are individuals and may not necessarily experience all emotions in the same way.

While it is possible for cats to feel jealousy, it is crucial to evaluate the root cause of the behavior and address it accordingly. By understanding your cat’s behavior, you can help create a loving and secure environment where your feline friend can thrive.

Managing Feline Jealousy

Addressing The Root Cause Of Jealousy In Cats

Jealousy is not limited to humans, as cats can get jealous too. If you have more than one cat, it’s not uncommon for a jealous cat to act in ways that can be harmful to other cats. Jealousy usually stems from different factors such as attention, food or toys.

Knowing the root cause of jealousy is an essential initial step to managing it.

  • Identification: Identify the factors that cause jealousy in cats, whether it is food, toys, or attention.
  • Provide equal attention: Spend equal time with all cats in the household. Make sure to pet, play and give attention equally.
  • Fair treatment: Provide equal treatment to all cats when it comes to toys and treats.
  • Feeding: Spread feeding spots throughout your house to reduce competition.
  • Litter boxes: Ensure an ample number of litter boxes are distributed around the house and that they can be reached easily.
  • Elevation resources: It is advisable to have more than one bed and scratch post, so territorial behavior can be minimized.

Strategies For Creating A Harmonious Feline Environment

Maintaining a harmonious feline environment is crucial to managing and preventing cat jealousy.

  • Restrict hiding spaces: Eliminate hiding spaces for cats so that they can socialize and adapt to their living spaces.
  • Proper resources: Make sure there are enough beds, scratching posts, and litter boxes for each cat.
  • Cleanliness: Keep the house clean and organized. Regular cleaning and changing of litter boxes facilitate a healthy and peaceful living environment.
  • Respect their space: Respect the territorial limits of each cat to avoid jealousy and fighting.
  • Entertainment: Encourage playtime to help cats release their energy and maintain good behavior patterns. Suggested toys include toys on strings, catnip, or puzzle toys.

Understanding The Importance Of Play And Stimulation

One of the most significant factors in managing feline jealousy is playtime. Regular playtime is essential for cats as it provides an outlet for their energy and satisfies their need for stimulation.

  • Play schedule: Set up a consistent play schedule to provide cats with regular and equal playtime.
  • Interactive toys: Encourage interactive playtime between cats and their owners, using motion toys or laser pointers.
  • Viewing space: Create an environment for cats to watch birds and squirrels from a window perch.

Tips For Introducing New Pets And Managing Territorial Behavior

If you’re introducing a new pet to an existing cat, managing territorial behaviors is key.

  • Space separation: Provide separate safe spaces for all pets until they become acquainted or comfortable with each other, using crate training to train the pets.
  • Scent introduce the scents of the new and existing pet, such as bedding or toys.
  • Incremental face-to-face meetings: Gradually introduce the pets to each other over time, starting with meetings and interactions for short periods.
  • Supervision: Always supervise the initial interactions between the pets to prevent injury and reduce anxiety.
  • Feeding time: Always ensure that cats have separate feeding spots.
  • Territorial markings: If territorial behavior starts, clean it up, and introduce additional resources such as scratching posts.

By following these strategies and tips, managing and preventing feline jealousy is possible. Introducing cats to a harmonious and playful environment, providing equal resources and attention to all cats, and introducing new pets to separation and gradually over time will help reduce the occurrence of jealousy.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Do Cats Get Jealous?

Do Cats Get Jealous Of Other Cats?

Yes, cats can experience jealousy and may become aggressive toward other cats. It’s important to introduce new cats slowly.

Can Cats Get Jealous Of Their Owners?

Yes, cats can become possessive of their owners and display jealousy when their attention is divided. Providing extra attention can help.

How Does A Jealous Cat Behave?

A jealous cat may display aggressive behavior, such as hissing, growling, or swatting at other cats or people. They may also become withdrawn or refuse to interact.

How Can You Stop A Jealous Cat?

Providing individual attention, separate feeding areas, and plenty of toys and hiding spots can help ease jealousy in cats. Consulting with a veterinarian may also be helpful.

Can Jealousy Lead To Physical Harm?

Jealousy in cats can occasionally lead to physical harm, such as injuries from fights with other cats or scratches or bites to owners. It is important to address jealousy early on to prevent escalation.


It is safe to say that cats do experience jealousy. Though it may manifest in subtle ways, such as territorial behavior or attention-seeking, it is clear that our feline friends are capable of feeling envious of their humans or other pets.

As pet owners, it is important to understand the signs of jealousy in our cats and take steps to alleviate their discomfort. Creating a stable and harmonious environment, providing plenty of attention and ensuring that each pet has its own space and resources can go a long way in preventing jealousy from arising.

Ultimately, understanding our cats’ emotional needs and desires can lead to a closer and more fulfilling relationship between feline and human.

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