Does your normally stand-offish cat suddenly trip you each time you leave the room? Can he or she not get enough of being in your lap (or up your toosh)? Are you finding more “special gifts” your kitty hunts while you’re sleeping, or more not-so-special messes while you’re away from home? Have you tried remedies for anxiety, and failed? You just may have yourself a case of “Cat Jealousy.”
What is Cat Jealousy?
Cat jealousy is exactly how it sounds: your cat is jealous of something (or someone), and is vying for your undivided attention. This type of jealousy most often occurs when:
- A new animal is brought into your home. Whether feline, canine, or aquarium fish/amphibian type of creature, cats can become very needy and clingy.
- You’ve given birth to a baby. Your feline has been your baby, up to this point, and seeing you giving all your spare attention to a new baby can make them batty!
- You’re suddenly out of the house more often than normal. If you start dating suddenly, get more hours at work, need to spend time caring for a sick loved one, or win the lottery and spend your days shopping and attending spas, your cat notices! Rather than separation anxiety, he or she may start exhibiting signs of jealousy (especially if you return smelling of strange scents that he or she may be unable to identify).
- You start bringing in new friends, significant others, etc. Cats CAN become jealous of people, as well as other animals (and besides just babies)! If they feel that you are replacing them with other humans, they can behave as though those other people are threats, and they must protect you from them, or like you can’t trust anyone but them.
What to Do if My Cat Starts Getting Jealous
We know, it’s hard enough to believe that your cat could suddenly want your attention all the time, let alone that it could become so intense or regular that something must be done about it. We personally believe that, as long as the feline does not become violent or (overly) destructive, it’s too precious and shouldn’t be stopped! However, we also know how difficult it can be to do something as simple as cook, or bathe, with a jealous kitty glued to your lap. So, if you must pry your newly affectionate angel from your arms once in a full moon, here are some ideas!
Set the same time(s) every day, during which your cat can sit with you while you watch T.V., check emails on your phone, or anything you can sit down to do and do every single day. Let this specified time be YOUR special time with your cat. Even if you’re answering a message from your boss or texting your spouse about dinner, make SURE your cat feels as though he or she is the center of your universe for that allotted time period. As the feline settles into the routine, he or she will gradually cease climbing on you each time you sit for five seconds (even on the potty!) and wait for your special fur-ball-and-fur-parent bonding time each day. Use an interactive, handheld toy to strengthen that bond during that time, as well!
If you work at home, or you spend a great deal of time at the house each day, but you’re on the computer, phone, or various device, get your cat a comfy bed that you can hang or place near your workspace. Feeling as if they are part of the important parts of your day can ease the jealousy, and having a bed that’s just for them allows them to be close to you and not feel like they’re competing with anything (or anyone) for your attention.
- Treats, treats, treats! Each time your cat allows you to have company or pick up your new pet or baby without reacting like a jelly belly, give him or her a treat! Whenever you come home after being gone longer than normal, break out those treats! Show your love with an extra treat now and then (treats that no other animal in the house gets works best!), and they will realize that they do still have a special place in your heart that no one can take from them.
For extra special bonding time, take the opportunity to do a little extra grooming! Something like a grooming glove kills two hairballs with one stroke! You can keep kitty’s fur brushed and silky, while giving them a petting they will definitely never forget!
Also, try teaching them something! Not training, like “No pottying in my shoes!” type of teaching! Teach them how to interact with toys you bought them, or with scratching tools/toys to help them learn how you do things around your house—the fun way!
Have You Dealt with a Jealous Cat?
Do you have any other suggestions/items that have worked well for you when dealing with a jealous feline? Please, regale us with your tails! Er, we mean tales!