Here’s Why Your Cat’s Jealous (And How To Fix It)

You're probably not making it up 😼

do cats get jealous

Cats are known for having a spiteful streak — and of course you still love them for it (it’s just part of living that cat life).

But sometimes cat behavior goes beyond an occasional bit of spite. You might even think your cat is jealous of something — or someone — in your life.

Maybe she always hisses at a certain person (or dog), or keeps knocking your favorite book off the counter when you want to read it.

What’s up with that? And how can you get her to stop acting out?

Is your cat actually jealous?

“I'm not sure that cats actually experience what we may call ‘jealousy,’” Dr. Marci K. Koski, a certified feline behavior and training consultant at Feline Behavior Solutions in Vancouver, told The Dodo.

Signs of jealousy in cats

“Typically, what we see as cats being jealous — getting upset and hissing or swatting at someone else who might be preventing them from getting what they want — might be boiled down to resource competition,” Dr. Koski said.

In other words, someone or something else is blocking her from getting a resource she wants.

And yes, attention from your cat's favorite person (aka you) counts as a resource!

Reasons your cat might be jealous

“Cats can get ‘jealous’ when they think that another cat, dog, human or object is getting access to THEIR resource at THEIR expense,” Dr. Koski said.

And according to Dr. Koski, these resources can include anything from food to toys to perching and napping locations to people — and just about anything else your cat uses or touches or likes.

Basically everything — since everybody knows cats own everything in their kingdom.

So, take a look at what your cat might be getting "jealous" of, and why:

  • Did you bring a new baby home and you haven't been able to give your cat as much time lately?
  • Are you being distracted by work, TV or games on your phone?
  • Do you have other pets in the house who use the same resources?

How to get your cat to stop being jealous

According to Dr. Koski, it can help to make sure there are multiple resource locations throughout your home (in other words, multiple spots where a cat can get what she needs).

This means you’ll want to have a bunch of things your cat loves, like:

  • Multiple feeding locations
  • Multiple sunny windows with cat perches
  • Toys throughout the house rather than in just one play area

Having more opportunities for resources throughout the house will help make sure your cat knows that even if her sister is using a toy, there are other ones for her to play with.

“It can also help to give your kitty some dedicated one-on-one time — let her know that she IS special and that there is plenty of your attention to spare!” Dr. Koski said.

More cat pets? Easiest cure ever.