By Linda Cole
Pets can and do show signs of being jealous of another family member, including other pets in the home. I have wondered, at times, if my pets understand the concept of having a favorite one among them. I love and treat them all equally, but will admit, I do have my favorites. I think that’s just human nature. However, our pets do have emotions, and there may be times when we have to contend with a dog or cat that may feel left out.
A jealous pet can make life difficult in a home with multiple pets, if you don’t establish yourself as the leader. Even cats need to know who makes the rules in the home. Dogs and cats in households with more than one pet do compete with each other for their owner’s attention. Being a multi pet home, I understand the need to make sure each pet receives attention throughout the day. And as individuals, some require more than others, which has nothing to do with jealousy.
Cats, by nature, are more reserved than most dogs. Some of my cats are more loving, and ask for more attention than others. Each one has their own personality and preference when it comes to whether or not they want to sit on my lap and cuddle. Some decide when I’m allowed to hold them, and for how long. Jabbers is a huge black cat who loves to sit and talk with me, but he’s not one that wants to be held or cuddled, unless he makes that decision. Still, he is one of my favorites because of his personality.
Because I’ve brought many cats into my home over the years after rescuing them off the street, my four legged family members takes newcomers in stride, and treat them like they’ve always been part of their family. This makes socializing easier for a new arrival who is just waiting for their forever home. None of my cats are jealous because they know I love them, and understand what I expect from them.
Jealousy becomes a problem when a pet feels he’s lost your love. The bond we share with a pet is as special and sacred as it gets, in their eyes. A strong bond requires trust, and when both are established, the pet will never break his end of the bargain. It’s our job to nurture that bond every day by making sure we are the ones who set rules we expect pets to follow, and be fair and positive when disciplining, if it’s needed.