PoC has an interesting comment from a visitor and (s)he seeks some advice. I hope PoC’s panel of resident experts can assist. Personally, I have a bit of difficulty dealing with the concept of “cat jealousy”. It may be anthropomorphizing cats. Although it comes up a lot on the internet cat forums so I tend to believe in it. You’ll say it definitely happens 🙂
When there are two cats and one person what may happen is that both the cats like the person but the cats don’t get on that well. So when all three are close together the cats are a little hostile with each other but friendly with the person. That is not jealousy. Although it might look like it through human eyes. I’m not certain though. It is just a thought.
The Cat Behavior Question
Here is the comment, which is a request for advice:
I have two cats; a ten year old male and a three year old female. The ten year old came to me when he was about six months old. He’s a very sweet cat who loves other cats and kittens. A real father figure.
The three year old was my brother’s and his ex’s cat. She’s very playful, but has some personality problems since they both abandoned her. First it was his ex, then she lived mostly outside and the my brother left her…. to me… He knows I can’t stand leaving such a cutie behind. She was 1.5 yrs old back then.
Since then it’s been hard to connect with her, seeing her trust issue’s, but till recently I finally gained her trust.
Now this is where the problem begins. Lately they’re fighting over me; who gets to sit on me, who gets to sit on the last thing I touched, etc. The young one gets really jealous when I pet or hug my old one. Even though she gets equal attention.
The old one doesn’t get jealous so much, he just wants to lie cosy with her on my lap and clean her and such. Which she doesn’t like or something and starts attacking him. I really don’t know what to do anymore and I’ve read a lot of books about cats; bad and good ones. Link to comment.
Response from Michael
As mentioned, it may not be a question of jealousy but just a matter of the female not getting on with the male. She may have a character that can only be satisfied if she is the only cat in the home. This may be due to her lack of proper socialization and the bad experiences that she has gone through.
If that is the case it may be necessary to bite the bullet and, with great care, rehome her. I don’t like to see the male cat’s lifestyle disrupted by a newcomer. It is a shame because I always feel that rehoming is a sign of failure; but is it?
The female has been with you for one and a half years, as I understand it. That would seem to be long enough to decide if she can settle in and get on with your boy cat.
How to get her to be more accepting of him? These are rather feeble suggestions:
- Feliway. I keep wheeling this potential answer out but have no idea if it even works. It is meant to make the environment feel more friendly to a cat. Has this been tried? If not I would at least try it.
- More play time with the lady cat and perhaps the male will join in and she might forget her slightly hostile approaches to the male. Unlikely to work? Yes.
I have this horrible feeling that your female cat won’t change her attitude. If I am correct (and I welcome alternative ideas) you have two options:
- Rehome her or
- accept the current situation.
We know that cats form friendships. You see this in cats lying together and grooming each other. The other side of the coin is cats who are not very friendly with each other. I believe that cats who are not friendly will be unfriendly for the remainder of their lives. I think that is a reasonable assumption. I think it is a common sense assumption.
People put unrelated cats with each other. It is normally just circumstance that dictates which cat lives with which cat. But in a more natural environment the stray or feral cat chooses associates. There isn’t a person who, in effect, dictates the situation.
Obviously there is a wide range of likes and dislikes and some cats will learn to accept cats they are not that happy with. However, this is adapting to the situation, which is not ideal. In this instance I don’t see the female changing and adapting.
I welcome a more optimistic viewpoint and better ideas!