Do cats get jealous? Not quite like humans, but close

the cat pulling on the man's legs almost looks like a hug and looks at the camera;  do cats get jealous?

the cat pulling on the man’s legs almost looks like a hug and looks at the camera; do cats get jealous?

Chalabala / Adobe Stock


  1. On this page

    • Do cats get jealous?

    • Signs of jealousy in cats

    • Do cats get jealous of babies?

    • How to Prevent Jealousy in Cats

When our feline friends suddenly act strangely around another pet or new baby in the house, it’s all too easy to wonder, “Are cats getting jealous?”

Well, not exactly, says Mary Molloy, CPDT-KA, animal behavior consultant at Behavior Vets of NYC. Rather, it’s your cat noticing that it’s not getting what it wants or that another creature is getting what it wants.

“Experts identify jealousy as a complex emotion, like empathy and grief,” she says. “Humans can indeed think of an outburst of jealousy to the point of obsession, whereas cats live in the moment.”

So we might be anthropomorphizing a bit to say a cat is jealous when it really wants something.

RELATED: Decoding cat language: here’s how to understand your feline’s feelings

Do cats get jealous?

Some studies indicate that many animals, especially our pets, are quite capable of experiencing empathy and grief. So it stands to reason that the greedy nature of human jealousy isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility for felines as well. If they notice you’re paying more attention to the dog and giving it snacks or you have a little human on your lap that smells weird, in their minds at that moment, “I want what they have ! is very much in a cat’s emotional repertoire,” says Molloy.

Will your cat grow resentful or bitter, as humans often do when the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head? No, but he could act in another way to try to tell you that he is not happy with the current situation.

Signs of jealousy in cats

Molloy says that when your cat sees another animal getting something (a) it wants and (b) it doesn’t get, it might actually be trying to bully that creature into giving up that thing. . He might also show frustration by biting you or the other animal or meowing more than usual on time or throughout the day and night.

Do cats get jealous of other cats? Sometimes, especially if they perceive that more attention is given to a new kitten, for example, or in households with several felines. After all, there isn’t much room on the highest perch of the cat tree. As a result, his anxiety and stress might be higher, so you might notice additional unwanted behaviors such as:

  • Territory spraying and marking

  • Sleep in his litter

  • Fight for food or other resources

RELATED: How to introduce a new kitten to your cat

It’s understandable that your cat wants to rule the roost among other felines, but do cats get so jealous of young puppies or dogs? It is possible, especially if they have not been introduced correctly. One clue, Molloy says, is when cats push each other between their owner and the dog being treated to treats. They may also crush the puppy more frequently or choose to hide whenever they are near with the behaviors listed above.

Do cats get jealous of babies?

Often it’s less about jealousy and more about your furbaby being simply bewildered by the strange smells, unusual sounds, and unexpected movements coming from that unfamiliar creature in the house. The drastic change in routine also affects your cat.

As you adapt, help your cat adapt too. Stick to his feeding schedule, stick to regular playtimes, and give him lots of subtle opportunities to get to know your child little by little as he feels comfortable. Rest assured, they’ll probably be cuddling together in no time. Here are more tips for introducing your baby to your cat.

How to Prevent Jealousy in Cats

“Giving a cat choice and agency regarding cat-human interactions is crucial to establishing a cat’s trust and well-being,” says Molloy. Create a safe base, taking care to do things the way your cat likes, such as proper petting, noting the messages they send with their body language, and respecting their boundaries.

This also applies to their interactions with other animals. “Be aware of giving an animal something the cat would want and make sure it gets its share,” she adds. “This is especially important in multi-cat households where resource conflicts can lead to serious fights.”

Finally, plan a variety of mental and physical enrichment activities to help you bond even more with your cat. By doing this, your cat won’t care what you give it, it will trust the love you share with each other.