Help! My Cat Hates My New Kitten (And Me). How To Deal With Feline Jealousy

Understanding Feline Jealousy

Like humans, cats can experience feelings of jealousy when they perceive a threat to their bond with their owner or their access to resources. Jealousy stems from fear of losing affection or priority status. Cats are territorial animals and can be possessive of their territory, including their owners. When a new person or animal enters the home, the cat may become anxious about sharing your attention and affections. According to researchers, cats demonstrate jealous behavior when their owners divert attention to other animals or objects. However, not all cats react with jealousy. Much depends on the cat’s personality, history, environment, and relationship with their owner1.

Signs of a Jealous Cat

There are several common signs that may indicate your cat is feeling jealous or resentful:

Aggressive behavior toward other pets is a major red flag for feline jealousy. This can include hissing, swatting, chasing, or full-on attacking another pet that is getting attention. Jealous cats may become excessively territorial if they feel threatened by a new animal in the home. According to PetMD, aggression is one of the top signs of jealousy in pets.

Excessive attention-seeking behaviors can also signal jealousy. A jealous cat may suddenly become very clingy and demand more petting, purring, lap time, or playtime. Cats crave routine, so sudden clinginess may indicate they feel their status quo with you is being disrupted. They’ll try to reaffirm their bond through increased affection.

Inappropriate urination is another potential sign of feline jealousy. The Spruce Pets notes a jealous cat may choose to urinate on their owner’s bed or belongings. This territorial marking stems from anxiety over perceived competition from other pets or people for your affection. It’s important to have this evaluated by a vet to rule out medical causes.

Why Cats Become Jealous

Cats can become jealous for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes of feline jealousy include:

  • New pet – Bringing a new pet like a dog, cat, or other animal into the home can make your cat feel jealous. They may worry they have competition for your attention and affection.
  • New baby – A new baby requires a lot of care and focus. Cats who are used to being the center of attention may act out due to jealousy over a new baby.
  • New partner – When a new romantic partner moves into the home, this disrupts the cat’s routine. They may feel jealous of the time and affection now directed at the new partner.

In many cases, jealousy stems from the cat’s fear of losing their favorite status in the home. Changes to the cat’s routine or environment make them feel insecure. They worry about having to share your affection and attention with a new person, pet, or baby.

To minimize jealousy, try to maintain some of your cat’s routine when introducing new family members. Give them plenty of love and affection so they still feel valued. With time and patience, you can help them adjust to changes in the home.

Preventing Jealousy

Jealous behavior in cats can often be prevented by gradually introducing changes to their environment. When bringing home a new pet or baby, start by keeping them separate at first and allow the cats to smell the new arrival’s scent. Over several days or weeks, slowly increase interactions in a positive and rewarding way.

It’s also important to maintain a cat’s normal routine as much as possible. Feed them, play with them, and give affection at the usual times each day. Try to avoid disrupting their schedule, sleeping areas, or favored spots around the home.

Additionally, make sure to give your cat attention when they are calm and relaxed. Pet, praise, and offer treats when they are behaving nicely around the new arrival. This positive reinforcement can help prevent jealous or aggressive reactions before they start. Cats often become jealous due to feeling displaced, so proving that they are still loved while promoting calm interactions can make a big difference.

For example, one source suggests: “You can reward your cat with treats, praise, attention, and petting when it is near the object or person, for example.” (Source)

Dealing with Aggressive Behavior

When a cat is feeling jealous, they may act out with aggressive behaviors like hissing, swatting, scratching, or full-on attacking the perceived rival. This type of aggression should be addressed right away to keep all pets safe.

If the fighting between the cats becomes physical, it’s best to temporarily separate them. Put the aggressor in a closed room with their own food, water, litter box, and toys until they calm down. Slowly reintroduce the cats to each other while rewarding positive interactions.

Try redirecting your jealous cat’s energy into more positive outlets like playtime. Engage them with wand toys or throw toys to focus their hunting instincts in a constructive way. You can also use interactive puzzle feeders with treats or kibble to provide mental stimulation.

Synthetic feline pheromones like Feliway can help instill feelings of calm and security. Diffusers, sprays, or wipes with pheromones may curb aggressive behaviors and tension between cats (Source). Make sure to thoroughly clean any urine markings, which can also trigger aggression.

Providing Reassurance

One of the best ways to deal with a jealous cat is to provide extra reassurance and affection. Spending one-on-one time with your jealous cat is important. Set aside time each day to focus exclusively on playing, petting, and interacting with the jealous cat. Giving the cat extra affection and playtime will help reassure them and make them feel secure. According to Petful, “Giving the jealous cat extra attention and maintaining his favorite routines goes a long way toward making him happy.”

You can also establish separate spaces and routines for each cat. Give each cat their own food bowls, litter boxes, scratching posts, toys, and beds. That way, the jealous cat has their own designated space and possessions. As The Spruce Pets explains, “Set up multiple resources like litter boxes, scratching posts, cat trees, toys, and resting spots around your home.” This prevents competition and territorial behavior.

With time and positive reinforcement, you can help curb your cat’s jealous tendencies. Be patient and consistent in giving them the extra affection and dedicated space they need.

Creating a Routine

Establishing a predictable daily routine for your cat can help minimize jealousy and anxiety. Cats feel most secure when they know what to expect each day. Try to feed, play with, and groom your cat around the same times daily.

Dedicate special one-on-one lap time with your jealous cat. Set aside 10-15 minutes 2-3 times a day to give them your undivided attention and affection. This focused bonding time will help them feel loved.

When you can’t be home, provide stimulating activities for your cat. Interactive toys like treats dispensers and wand toys with feather attachments keep them occupied and entertained while alone. Rotate the toys to prevent boredom.

Sticking to a consistent schedule demonstrates to your cat that they are still a top priority in your life. Routine care, play, and quality time are key to easing jealousy.

Using Pheromones

One way to help soothe a jealous cat is by using pheromone diffusers like Feliway. As Dr. Tynes explains, “In any situation creating anxiety, pheromones can help to reduce the stress felt by pets.”1 Feliway diffusers release synthetic pheromones that mimic cats’ natural facial pheromones. The pheromones promote relaxation and help alleviate anxiety or stress.

To use Feliway diffusers for a jealous cat, place the diffuser near your cat’s core areas like where they eat or spend time. Feliway recommends placing it where your cat spends the most time or exhibits jealous behaviors. Reapply the diffuser every 30 days to maintain efficacy. The constant diffusion of calming pheromones in your home can help reassure an anxious, jealous cat.

When to Seek Help

In most cases, jealous or aggressive cat behavior can be managed at home through training, routine, and reassuring your cat. However, if the behavior is extreme or putting you, other pets, or your cat in danger, you may need to seek professional help.

Signs that you need to consult an animal behavior specialist or veterinarian include:

  • Ongoing or worsening aggression such as biting, scratching, or attacking
  • Not using the litter box or marking territory outside the box
  • Excessive vocalizing like crying, whining, or yowling
  • Destructive behavior like shredding furniture or curtains
  • Appetite changes or avoiding food
  • Hiding or retreating from social interaction

A specialist can help identify the root cause of your cat’s jealousy and design an effective training or management plan. Medication may also help in extreme cases of anxiety or stress.

If your cat continues to act jealous and unhappy despite your efforts to reassure them, do not delay in seeking help. A professional can provide insights and solutions to restore harmony at home.

Living Harmoniously

The key to living harmoniously with a jealous cat is being patient and consistent. Cats need time to gradually adjust to changes in their environment and routine (The Quick Guide To Soothing A Jealous Cat, Rushing the adjustment process or drastically altering a cat’s schedule will likely exacerbate feelings of jealousy and insecurity.

Try to keep your cat’s routine as consistent as possible when introducing a new pet or family member. Feed them, play with them, and give them affection at the usual times each day. Providing stability and familiarity will help reassure them during the adaptation period (Why Cats Get Jealous and How to Stop It,

With time and consistency, your cat will likely become more comfortable and less possessive. But don’t expect dramatic changes overnight. Be patient and understanding while your cat acclimates at their own pace. Persistence and compassion are key to maintaining harmony during changes and transitions.

Scroll to Top