Wednesday 16 May 2012

Jealous Cats

Do you recognise jealousy in your cat? It is quite a subtle emotion to detect in the behavior of a cat. However, Harrison Weir, the founder of the cat fancy in England writes that he found that in his multi-cat household a group of cats do not "take a liking to the same individual". He put this down to jealousy. And he was quite convinced of it.

Mr Weir kept several cats in what must have been a very large house with a huge garden. Times have changed. He refers to Zeno who was being very friendly - "loving and lovable" - until Lulu came into the room and was attended to by Mr Weir.

Zeno immediately "retired to a corner and seized the first opportunity of vanishing through the door". Then Zillah jumped onto Mr Weir's lap and "put her paws about my neck".  Lulu looked at him and the imposter, Zillah, and jumped off, went to the door and asked to be let out. Lulu "fled" though the door. Zillah seemed very happy at that moment, he writes.

He also writes that jealousy is possibly the ruling attribute of the cat. I think this is a major miscalculation by Mr Weir but he knew cats very well and he recognised signs of what he saw as jealousy in his cats.

It seems perfectly possible that cats can become jealous. Through modern studies we know that cats form friendships with other cats and we know from personal experience that our cat forms a friendship with us. It is interesting to note that in some households if a cat prefers a particular human another human may become jealous!


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