How to Prevent Jealousy When Raising Multiple Cats
Cats have unique and distinct personalities, just like people. They can exhibit a variety of traits that resemble that of their human parents – impulsiveness, friendliness, playfulness, insecurity, even jealousy. When living with several cats, jealousy can be a problem.
Some fur parents feel that leaving a cat on its own may feel lonely, especially if they need to be away for work, travel, or another purpose.
The objective may be noble, but unfortunately, it doesn’t garner the expected results. Instead of seeing the new addition as a companion, the kitten or new cat is always considered as competition.
Jealousy can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some cats appear clingy while others act out. Dealing with this type of behaviour can be vexing for pet owners.
It may be difficult to believe, but there are ways of reducing and eventually eliminating this negative trait. Experts on cat food delivery in Dubai explain why cats get jealous, with advice on how to “distribute” your love and affection equally in a home with multiple cats.
Reasons cats get Jealous
Anything that changes in their environment or the amount of attention given to them can make cats feel insecure. There are several potential reasons why this can happen:
- Some pets get jealous when their fur parents put their time and attention elsewhere, such as on a new pet, a newborn baby, a toy, or a hobby. Perhaps you previously showered your cat with lots of love and attention, but can’t provide the same amount anymore.
- Animals also need personal space. They can be territorial with specific areas, toys, or similar cat supplies. With having several pets, there is a higher likelihood that your pets will inevitably invade each other’s space.
- Cats thrive on routine, much like some people do. A change in the routine, such as feeding or playtime, can trigger bouts of jealousy.
- A kitten raised on its own and not taught how to be with others may grow up with poor socialisation skills. Such a cat may become predominantly reliant on you and will feel jealous whenever you do anything else.
What you can do
1. Allocate attention for each pet
Each cat has a unique personality and enjoys doing different activities. Observe what each pet likes to do and reserve some alone time.
Attention doesn’t always mean playtime. It could be as simple as letting your cat sleep on your lap while you work or watch TV. Maybe it’s a walk around the park — whatever it is, make time for each one of your pets.
A little creativity is required if you have a cat or pet that is extroverted, loud and requires a lot more attention than the others. Perhaps one will try to hog all the toys once you bring these out of a container. In some cases, you may need to put your more boisterous cat in a separate room while you play with your other pets.
An alternative is to play with the more hyperactive one until it tires out. Once this happens, you can have more time with the others.
If you are in the process of adopting another cat, consider getting one that has the same personality as the ones you have at home. By having cats with similar personalities, you won’t have to worry about personality clashes. Energetic ones can play together, for instance.
2. Stick to a routine
Having a routine can make pets feel more secure. In a multi-pet household, it also establishes a hierarchy between different animals. Routines tend to be more important for dominant cats and dogs, but in most cases, as long as their necessities and need for attention are met, your pets will feel happy and satisfied.
If your older cat likes to snuggle during a specific time of the day, try as best as you can to stick to the schedule. Follow the same routine, even after adding new pets to the family. Over time, your younger or newer pets will understand and remember when certain activities are done.
3. Play with everyone
Try to find ways where you can involve everyone or as many of your pets at the same time. You can use a laser pointer or build a wand toy to get their attention.
Pick a room where there is plenty of space for your cats to run around and areas to hide. Because these types of toys can be played among several cats in one go, you will need to be extra careful that you don’t cause your pets to bump into each other or against hard surfaces.
Using a room that has a lot of boxes, furniture, or hiding places gives your shy cats space to participate when they feel comfortable or retreat when needed.
4. Get help
You may be surprised to learn that you may need help in giving your cats the attention they need. Cats are a lot like kids in the sense that they require attention to grow into well-adjusted adults. With having several cats and responsibilities, at some point, you won’t have enough time to get to everything you need to do in one day.
Get your partner, relatives, kids, or a friend to help you out. They can play with some of your cats or the most boisterous ones while you give your more introverted pets some attention. Doing this in separate rooms may be necessary, so your other cats don’t feel left out.
To perform this effectively, you need to find people whom your pets respond positively to at home. You don’t want your cats getting stressed out or agitated playing with a total stranger they have never met.
Remember that another person can become a trigger for jealousy. As such, you may need to establish trust before you can get your four-legged companions to play together with your partner, friend or relative.
Living in a residence with several cats can be a handful. But by keeping these details in mind and following our expert advice, you can keep all of your cats happy and jealousy-free.
Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.