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Welcome Crazy Cat People
How great does it feel to start a new relationship with someone you really love! We all know that feeling! We have all been there but to your horror, Kitty doesn’t feel the same way! So you’re asking ”Why does my cat get jealous of my partner?”
Cats may show jealousy towards a spouse, they are very territorial animals and a new partner may be detected as an invasion of their territory and cause a change in routine which can lead to stress. Your cat will need to get used to the new scents and also know your partner is safe to be around.
As we will discover throughout this post there is some disagreement in the cat world about if cats feel jealousy the same way as humans do.
Are they jealous or do they just feel scared and hate changes in routine?
We also look at what the experts say! I spent some time doing independent research and approached the cat’s protection League to find out more!
Then we look at ways in which we can create a great environment for our cats to make sure they are calm and they learn to love your new partner as much as you do
So read on to find out more.
Do cats get jealous?
When cats show us the behaviour we interpret as jealousy, we automatically assume that cats feel the same emotions as humans.
Maybe they feel the same emotions as us but have you ever had a conversation with a cat who has told you exactly why they are behaving the way they are. If you have then well done to you for being the first human to communicate in that way with a feline! 🙂
I guess we will never know fully why cats act the way that they do and why they behave in certain ways but we do know a little about cat behaviour and we do know one fact that cats are very territorial animals.
You can see their territorial nature by observing how they behave when introduced to a new environment which can be one of the most stressful experiences ever for your cat. When I moved home my two cats hid away under the bed for a couple of days, they needed to get used to the new sound’s, the new smells and the new furniture.
This wasn’t easy for them at all, they slowly came out, marking their territory bit by bit by rubbing their cheeks against everything in sight! For those that don’t know, their cheeks contain glands that leave pheromones or ”happy” hormones everywhere.
Once a cat has claimed their territory it is theirs!
Cats are also very routined, I mean we all love a bit of routine but cats ADORE routine. They know what time to expect food, know when to expect you back from work, and know when to expect play.
So considering all that and now knowing your cat’s nature. Imagine how they feel when your new spouse comes into the home! The invader!
Who is this new person? They smell funny! – Why is Mummy/Daddy kissing this person? – Why are their clothes on my floor! – Ewww!!! Did that disgusting human just fart and leave a nasty foreign smell in my territory! How very dare he/she!
Okay, so you get the picture now!
This sudden change in routine can make cats feel stressed, anxious and insecure for a while until they have learned that the new human is not a threat to their immediate environment.
They may then show signs of ”jealousy” towards their target until they feel more secure, especially if they notice you spending a lot more time with your new partner when all that free time was once spent with them.
Is this jealousy though or does it just look like jealousy? That is a topic I can imagine will be debated for a very long time it may just be the hierarchal tendencies that cats have instinctively.
Signs of jealousy in cats
1) Hissing, growling and swatting at the target
This is an obvious sign to watch out for and behaviour that should be stopped straight away. It is best to ignore the cat if they engage in this behaviour and gently remove them from the situation.
2) Chewing furniture, clothes and other destructive behaviour
Cats may engage in this behaviour to let you know they are not happy and also to vent their frustrations. If the cat is scratching the furniture a very good tip is to place double-sided tape on the furniture until the cat learns that this behaviour is unacceptable.
Cats hate double-sided tape!
You could also consider these very effective furniture protectors which come in a pack of 10 from Amazon. They are easy to fit and instal, transparent so they don’t look trashy in any way and will eventually train your cats not to scratch your furniture.
3) Urine outside the litter box or on their targets items.
Cats may engage in spraying urine on the walls, leaving pools of urine on the floor or they may even urinate on the bed or your partner’s clothes. Please be aware that if this happens, please take your cat to a vet to be checked out as there may be other health issues at play.
Urine and spraying can be such an awful problem and cause stress for both your cats and yourself.
Most products do not get rid of the smell at all, live pee free have some amazing products that get rid of the spray straight away, if spraying is a problem for you then feel free to check them out and see what you think! You get 20% off the products with my code by using the code ”PEE FREE!”
4) Your cat becomes overly clingy and won’t leave your side.
Cats can get very clingy when they feel insecure and jealous. They may want to be on your lap all the time and follow you around everywhere you go. They are basically saying that ”You are mine” and they are not afraid to let it show.
5) Sitting in between you and the object of there jealousy
This is very common behaviour for a cat who feels insecure and jealous. I am sure there have been times when you have been watching TV or on your phone and your cat has jumped up on your lap to say ”I am here, hello”!
This is common behaviour for cats but can become troublesome if your cat doesn’t allow you quality time with your partner.
What do the experts say about jealousy in cats?
So as we mentioned earlier some experts say that cats do experience jealousy and some say they don’t, lets have a look at what some of them said.
I sent an email to the cat’s protection and got a lovely detailed reply from one of the experts there, she really went out of her way to give me some of this helpful content that I am sharing with you today.
With our best understanding we dont believe cats show jealousy. Cats can feel a variety of emotions including happiness or joy, relief, fear, anxiety, frustration, depression, attachment loss and an emotional respone to pain. While it is important to avoid being anthropomorphic (attributing human emotions to animals) when looking at cats and their welfare, it is also crucial to understand the emotions cats may feel and when they might feel them to meet the individual needs of cats. Cats do not possess the capacity to seek revenge or to purposelly annoy a person. They also do not feel jealousy, guilt, remorse possesiveness or dominance. As far as science can tell us cats live in the present and do not have the cognitive capacity to plan for the future. Additionaly, cats do not possess a sense of right or wrong and do not understand what an owner considers to be ”the correct way to behave”.Ella Tyson – Cats protection.
What are your thoughts on that statement? Some may argue that if a cat can experience anxiety, fear and frustration why don’t they experience jealousy?
I did some more study and found this article by PetMD and found this quote
“Pets don’t experience jealousy in the true sense of the word,” says Katerina Jones, associate applied animal behaviourist and owner of Jones Animal Behavior in Warwick, Rhode Island. “What you are most likely seeing your pet exhibit is assertive, pushy, or rude behaviour—e.g., the pet that bulldozes other pets out of the way—or social hierarchy, where a higher-ranking pet displaces another pet.”
So there is a lot more going on than we realise, maybe we just assume it’s jealousy as that is the label that we put on behaviour that is similar to what humans engage in.
There is also a youtube video by animal wised that also stated that there haven’t been enough studies on cats to prove that they experience jealousy but by examining their behaviour it is similar to the behaviours which dogs show when experiencing the same emotions.
There was a study conducted in dogs that showed that dogs experienced ”Jealous” behaviours when a human gave affection to a stuffed toy that looked like a dog compared to an object such as a book etc… Read the study here.
So if dogs engage in this type of behaviour, why would cats be any different is the question you may be asking?
Do cats have a favourite person?
In general, cats do tend to pick a favourite person. Cats pick their favourite person based on many factors such as your scent and who plays with them the most. Cats tend to favour people they feel secure and safe around and who provides their physiological needs such as food and water.
Cats are very individual creatures as we know, their personalities and their preferences vary quite dramatically from cat to cat. They are just like us humans, sometimes we like other people more than others.
Out of my two cats, my little girl tends to prefer me the most and she is always cuddled up to me and is very clingy at times. That reminds me of an interesting article I also wrote where I answered the question ‘‘Is my cat obsessed with me and how to deal with clingy behaviour”. Have a look it’s worth a read 🙂
My little boy, on the other hand, is affectionate but he tends to come to me just before feeding time but when my partner arrives Lenny is all over him like a rash (Honestly I’m not jealous at all)
Cats are very good at knowing how to read our signals and they LOVE people who can communicate with them and understand them and their individual needs.
Cats are very independent and providing for them is a big factor that will win your cats heart, a prime example of this is if you are not giving your cat what it needs they will go outside and find someone else who will.
I wonder if you choose your cat or if they pick you? – Maybe an idea there for a future blog post.
Cats get close to those who don’t pressurise them and people that they associate with something positive and who respect their limits – people who don’t punish them.
How do I stop my cat from being jealous of my partner?
1) Feliway plugins help relieve feline anxiety
One word, pheromones! Feliway plugins and sprays contain a synthetic hormone similar to the hormone cats release from their scent glands which are on their cheeks and head. They tend to leave this scent everywhere to mark their territory.
Once these pheromones are released via the Feliway products they signal to the cat to become calm and relaxed so they are great if your cat is feeling insecure while your partner is around. Check out this article by PetMD which explains a little more about pet pheromones.
You can buy a set of three Feliway plugins from Amazon below.
2) Cover a sock in cats scent and apply to partners belongings
This is a great little hack for helping to spread your cat’s natural pheromones on your partner’s clothes, belongings and any of their items.
Cats sense of smell is very strong according to this Wikipedia article it is actually 9-16 times as strong as humans smell. WOW!
So if you get a sock and rub the sock on your pets scent glands on their head and cheeks you can then cover your partner’s belongings with the cat’s scent. This will let Kitty know that your partner is now marked as there’s!
3) Have your partner feed your cat and give regular treats
This one is obvious. Cats love people who feed them especially if it’s those little crunchy treats that all cats absolutely love!
So have your partner hold out their hand with the treats in and let Kitty come to them, they will be the best of friends in no time!
4) Allow your cat to do a scent investigation on your partner
This should in no way be forced, cats are very curious creatures and they will eventually want to go over to your partner and give them a little sniff and investigate this new human.
Your partner may wish to hold out a finger and see if Kitty is ready to explore this new scent. You never know they may learn to love their smell more than they like yours.
5) Read body language and approach cats when they are relaxed
Once we learn about the body language of a cat we can start to understand them a lot more.
Your new partner may just want to go over straight away to your cute little bundle of joy and give them a little stroke but this is not always advisable especially if your cat is scared, anxious and stressed with the big change to its environment.
A cat who comes to you with its tail up is a content cat who is happy to see you – ill leave it up to the cat’s protection and this great post from them to let you know a little more about cats body language.
6) Never force your cat onto your partners lap
Cats do not like to be forced and when they are already stressed they could react in a nasty way. This is a big no-no!
Your cat will come around in her own sweet time. Some cats may come around faster than others depending on their temperament and personality.
7) Never neglect your cat when your partner is around
When your partner is around and when you first get together it is an exciting time. If you forget about your cat or you don’t give them enough attention anymore they will pick up on this and this can cause jealousy in cats.
They are like us, they have feelings too so please respect those feelings.
8) Let your partner engage in play with your cat when ready
So after your partner has got used to your cat and your cat has done their scent investigation you may want to engage in playtime with your cat while your partner is around.
A great way to do this is to sit on the sofa with your partner while you play with your cat, get your cat used to your partner being around at playtime until eventually, you allow your partner to use the interactive toys.
Playtime is bonding time so they will start to see your partner as someone with who they can have fun.
9) Reward good behaviour and ignore jealousy
When your cat starts to approach your partner and when they engage in play or if she sits on their lap reward this.
Let your cat know that they are being good by giving a little stroke, a rub on the head or a little treat.
If they show signs of jealousy such as sitting in between or hissing at your partner then remove them from the situation and ignore them, let them know that this type of behaviour does not get them the attention they crave.
10) Provide lots of hiding places if the cat is stressed
When your partner moves into the home it is going to be very stressful for your cat as we have already discussed previously. So there must be places to hide away such as under beds, cat trees and those lovely doughnut-shaped beds. They must have somewhere to retreat to when needed, everyone needs time out.
If you don’t have a bed for your cat a good one for hiding in will be similar to the one below.
Don’t forget the good old cardboard box! Cats love these!
Conclusion – My cat gets jealous of my partner
So I hope my article has helped you understand a little more about cats, their behaviour and how you can deal with jealousy.
Remember though according to some experts cats don’t get jealous. I beg to differ, maybe we just interpret it as jealousy because the behaviours are similar to how humans can be when we get jealous?
Either way, I am sure with time your cat will learn to love your partner or spouse just as much as they love you, so you can have a happy healthy home for felines and humans alike.
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies.
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)