Why cats are almost certainly capable of being jealous

Cats are almost certainly capable of being jealous according to one of Britain's best known cat behaviourists
Cats are almost certainly capable of being jealous according to one of Britain’s best known cat behaviourists. Image: MikeB
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  • “All that jealousy requires is that the cat merely perceives that another cat is getting more of something that it should” (Dr John Bradshaw). In other words, the jealous cats sees another cat getting something that they want from their caregiver. Cats are capable of doing this and therefore capable of feeling the emotion of jealousy.
  • Many owners say that one of their cats tries to intervene when they stroke another cat in the home. A sign of jealousy.
  • To add to the above argument, cats recognise other cats as cats and obviously react to what they are doing.
  • Although it is believed that cats don’t know or can’t guess what the other cat is thinking. When humans are jealous, they guess or decide that the person about which they are jealous has certain thoughts and feelings (theory of mind). Theory of mind is the idea that other humans have their own thoughts which may be different from theirs. But this is not a requirement for cats to experience the emotion of jealousy.
  • Jealousy does not demand that the cat has an historical knowledge of the other cat’s behaviour which is good as jealousy operates in the present.
  • It is believed, that domestic cats live in the present.
  • Jealousy is one of the more complex emotions with empathy and grief.
  • Experts are still unsure whether cats can experience jealousy despite what I have written here as many believe that they don’t have sufficient intelligence and/or the imagination.

This post is deliberately short and in bullet fashion for speed reading on a smartphone.

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