Jealousy in Cats

The green-eyed monster sometimes looks like a cat!
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Cats have a sweet and innocent exterior, but that doesn't mean the concept of jealousy eludes them. Felines are extremely territorial creatures, and as a result they can be highly competitive. When it comes to sharing with others, cats often display a very prominent jealous streak -- beware all!


One common example of cat jealousy exists between male cats that spend a lot of time outside. If outdoor tomcats are not neutered, they are hormonally driven and as a result, extremely competitive with each other, whether it is over female cats or their home turf. This jealousy is very dangerous and often ends in violent physical fights -- beginning with icy stares, loud yowling and claws out. When tomcats are in fighting mode, they also try their hardest to look as big and intimidating to the other as possible -- with attempts to puff out their coats.

Mother Cats

A mama cat also can exhibit jealousy toward other female cats that are in her way. This, however, is often a combination of wanting to protect her precious litter and feeling like her position as a mother is being threatened by an outsider. The jealousy also can get violent, typically with swatting and biting -- yikes.

New Pet

Household cats often get accustomed to their comfortable daily routines, and when that changes -- watch out, world! When a new cat enters a household, jealousy is the name of the game. From sharing an owner's affection to sharing treats and toys, kitties often experience severe stress and anxiety in these situations. If the "senior" cat is bigger and more powerful than the newbie, he may try to threaten and intimidate and vice versa. These interactions frequently lead to physical fights, yowling, urine spraying and even the more frightened party hiding away for days and days -- poor thing!

Signs of Jealousy

Jealousy is common in many types of feline interactions, whether a lazy household pet or a tough-as-nails feral male. Cats are instinctive creatures, however, and their threatened and jealous reactions are usually very similar. Look out for telltale indications of jealousy, including piercing meowing, yowling, swatting, biting and scratching. The most telling behavior, however, probably is urine spraying -- which is essentially feline-speak for "Back off. This property is mine!"

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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