Are cats jealous?

Many people claim that their cats are jealous when they carry out behaviors related to aggressiveness or possessiveness towards a third party, whether we are talking about a feline, a dog or a human. However, is it true that cats are jealous or are we facing another form of humanization?

In this article from Animal Expert we will reveal if cats are jealous , how to identify jealous behavior in this species and what to do when facing behavior that we consider inappropriate, don’t miss it!

You may also be interested: My dog ​​is jealous of the baby, what do I do?

Index

  1. Jealousy in cats
  2. Symptoms of a jealous cat
  3. Why are cats jealous?
  4. How to treat a jealous cat?

Jealousy in cats

To begin with, we must ask ourselves if it is correct to affirm that cats are jealous, since “jealousy” are emotions and feelings that until recently were attributed solely to humans. But if we dig a little deeper into what jealousy really is, we understand that it is an important adaptive emotional response in gregarious animals.

However, although the domestic feline ( Felis silvestris catus ) is a solitary animal, domestication has allowed the species to receive important advantages by participating in social dynamics , apart from those it maintains during reproduction, such as living with the human being, who provides food, shelter and care. Or with other pets, which become an important source of enrichment .

In this way, the cat acquires a person or animal as a ” reference figure ” with which it relates, socializes and carries out daily interactions . Technically, the reference figure is known as a “valued social partner” and, as we have discussed, it can be another cat, a dog or a human being. It is, in short, a social figure with which the cat feels safe, thus being the favorite person of the feline . On the contrary, the ” social rival ” is the figure that stands between the two and before which he can show what we interpret as jealous behavior, that is, rejection and aggressiveness .

However, although it is more common to speak of jealousy in dogs , since there are studies that use this term [1] [2] (although of course highly disputed), there is no publication of clinical ethology in domestic cats, so it would be a very imprecise term even today.

Still, many owners claim that their animals are jealous. In fact, a study that collected the behaviors of various domestic animals pointed out the similarity between them, also evidencing the existence of secondary emotions in animals that are not primates [3] .

Symptoms of a jealous cat

Without scientific studies that can support the existence of jealousy in domestic cats, it is difficult to find a pattern of behavior that can alert us to the appearance of jealousy in cats, however, if we look at those frequent behaviors in dogs or horses, we highlight the following.

The jealous cat and his behavior :

  1. The feline seeks the attention of the “reference figure” regularly.
  2. Pay attention to the socialization of the “reference figure” and the “social rival”.
  3. It breaks the relationship between the “reference figure” and the “social rival”.
  4. Make negative signs of calm or show aggressiveness towards the “social rival”.

Why are cats jealous?

What we can perceive as jealousy in cats can be, in reality, various behavioral problems caused by a bad socialization of the puppy cat , the appearance of fears due to negative experiences or territoriality, among others. But, assuming that cats are jealous, below we discuss in more detail the frequent situations that can cause cats to show “jealousy” to a third party and what we should do:

  • Cat jealous of baby: the pregnancy and the birth of a baby entails a significant loss of attention on the part of the “valued social partner”, in addition, many parents often scold their felines when they approach the newborn with curiosity, which usually causes a negative association towards the baby. It is essential to avoid punishment, fights or screaming on these occasions.
  • Cat jealous of the couple: many people warn that the cat is jealous of the boyfriend or girlfriend, but in this case we are talking about a situation that usually causes a certain “grace” so they unconsciously encourage it, something not only not recommended, but even dangerous.
  • Cat jealous of another cat: previously we have explained to you that cats are solitary animals, but in addition, you should also know that they are very territorial. Therefore, the adaptation of a new individual in the home is usually complicated when one of the cats is in its adult stage. Different negative behaviors such as aggressiveness, surface marking, fear or depression can appear.
  • Cat jealous of a dog: especially in cats that have not socialized with dogs in their early stages, the adoption of a canine usually causes a lot of stress, because the lack of knowledge of the body language of this species added to its large size causes, a Again, fear, depression or aggressiveness among other behavior problems.

Now we know how to identify the causes and symptoms of “cat jealousy”, however, what should we do when they occur? In the next section we will talk about it.

How to treat a jealous cat?

Many people do not know what to do with a jealous cat, is this also your case? For starters, especially if we are talking about a cat jealous of a baby, it will be essential to take the appropriate safety measures to prevent the cat from scratching the little one. We will prevent the feline from accessing the baby’s room.

In milder cats we can try to work with the cat ourselves, trying to positivize the presence of the “social rival”, making its appearance translate into pleasant experiences . We can use tasty treats, caresses or kind words. It is also possible to apply calming pheromones to improve your well-being through applicators or collars. In the event that it is disturbed, we will try to calm the jealous cat leaving it alone, thus providing calm and security.

However, in the most serious cases, it will be essential to go to a veterinarian specialized in ethology , the reference social figure who can help us diagnose a behavior problem in the cat, offer us guidelines for management and even conduct behavior modification sessions. .

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