How to Deal With Jealous Cat Behavior

If your cat has a case of the green-eyed monster, you can help him by providing him with lots of affection and attention. Cats often become jealous when new and sudden developments threaten their cozy and routine-oriented lifestyles -- think new partners, newborn babies and even new pets.

Cat's sad
If you just got a new pet, isolate her from your older cat for a couple days.
credit: TuelekZa/iStock/Getty Images

Understand the Causes of Jealousy

If you bring a new baby girl home and all eyes are on her instead of on your cat like before, he might feel frustrated due to the sudden lack of attention. Major life changes, such as a new baby, can also alter your cat's day-to-day routine. Since cats are routine-oriented animals who appreciate stability, this can lead to jealous, stressed out and often even destructive behavior. Cats also often feel unhappy when new people, babies or pets spend time in their preferred parts of the home.

Before the arrival of a baby, try to prevent jealousy by acquainting your cat to brand new scents, such as baby powder.

Look For Signs of Jealousy

When some cats are jealous, they react by swatting, growling or hissing as they encounter their new "rivals." Other cats aren't as direct in their approaches. More reserved felines might ignore their meals or hide away from everyone. They might display unusually clingy behavior, too. If your cat won't leave your side and is demanding more of your time than usual, jealousy could be the cause. Some cats deal with jealousy by urine marking. If a cat feels that a new animal or person is encroaching on his turf, he might spray. Destructive actions in general can often signify jealousy in cats. Jealous cats sometimes chew on random household objects, for example.

Give Your Cat Lots of Love and Attention

You can manage jealous feline behavior by going the extra mile to keep your pets' routines normal and predictable. If you have a tradition of playing with a laser pointer with your cat every night, try to keep it up even if you just brought a new puppy home. If you feed your cat dry food first thing in the morning, stick to that schedule, too. It's also vital to give your cat the same level of love and attention you always did. More love is actually preferable. Let your pet know that although some things are different now, you care for him just the same.

Keep His Possessions His Own

You can also curb jealous behavior in cats by making sure that new pets don't gain access to their belongings and preferred spaces. If you have a new kitten, stop her from sleeping in your cat's longtime hangout in your bedroom walk-in closet, for example. Also provide your new pet with her own bedding, food bowls and toys. These simple measures can often reduce jealousy in competitive cats.

Seek Veterinary Attention

Don't always assume your cat's uncharacteristic behavior is necessarily due to jealousy. If your pet won't eat, is constantly hiding and hissing, it could be because of a medical condition that simply coincided with the major life change. Major changes can also sometimes heighten health issues in cats. Schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to rule out possible medical ailments.