To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is: a dissatisfaction with self. – Joan Didion

Jealousy is a complex emotion that everyone experiences at one time or another. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. And yes, cats get jealous, too.

Jealousy can be toxic. It makes you feel small and petty. On the face of it, jealousy seems to be directed at the other person, but ultimately, the only one suffering is you. It’s not easy to admit to being jealous, because it means facing your own insecurities and fears. Jealousy feels awful, and allowing yourself to indulge in it will almost always damage your soul.

But there’s a gift hidden inside the jealousy you feel. Uncovering that gift can be hard work, but if you allow yourself to confront the green-eyed monster, you will be surprised at the insights you’ll gain into your own psyche.

Jealousy is a reflection of something inside yourself.

Instead of being jealous of someone else, look inward. Why are you reacting so strongly to someone’s good fortune? When you feel jealous, it’s always about wanting what they have. If you really want it, what’s stopping you from getting it? Are there real obstacles to getting what you want, or are you letting your fears and insecurities hold you back?

Jealousy forces you to be honest with yourself.

When you’re jealous of someone’s achievements, or of something they have, ask yourself why you want what they have. Why does their success bother you so much? What is at the root of your jealousy? Do you really want your sister’s boyfriend, or is it a sense of connection that you’re looking for? Do you really want your friend’s work schedule, or are you looking for more freedom? Try to identify the essence of what it is about a person or situation that is making you jealous. You may be surprised at what comes up for you.

Jealousy can be a catalyst for change.

Chances are that the person you’re jealous of doesn’t have the perfect life you think they have. But the fact that you’re jealous is a clear indication that you’re unhappy with something in your own life. Use your jealousy to figure out what you want to change in your life, and let it fuel your journey.

Jealousy between cats

Cats do experience jealousy, and it is rooted in the same reasons as human jealousy: insecurity, and a perception that there’s not enough. Jealousy among cats is usually the result of a new cat or baby coming into the family. The cat feels that the change affects her normal life and the amount of attention she receives. Jealousy can lead cats to react with aggression, or by retreating and hiding. The key to dealing with a jealous cat is to reassure her that there’s enough love to go around for everyone. This means introducing any change, especially a new family member, gradually, and sharing the gift of your love and attention equally.

Ruby occasionally gets a little jealous of Allegra. Ruby is my little lovebug. She’s happiest when she’s in my arms or on my lap. If she had her way, she’d probably be permanently glued to me. Allegra is a little more reserved with showing her affection, but lately, she has been giving me a little more lap time. Ruby is not sure how she feels about that, but we’re working through it.

Is jealousy a challenge for you? How about your cats? How do you cope?

Photo by Thomas Hanner, Flickr Creative Commons

10 Comments on Sunday Purrs: The Gift of Jealousy

  1. Once we realized that Chuck tended to be jealous and would pick on Angel, we started to do things with him FIRST. I put down his food bowl a second before hers; when I come home from work, I’ll call to him FIRST, then Angel second; etc. He still bullies her a bit, but usually it’s just a show to get dinner, and if we watch really closely, you’ll see that Angel starts it as often as he does! Just those little bits of acknowledgement make him feel secure, and Angel doesn’t care as long as she isn’t guarded from the litter box, or gets her head jumped on when she least expects it!

  2. Great post Ingrid. My Cashew kitty is a bit jealous. He is more my son’t kitty and wants his full attention. If he sees someone else gets something he wants then he will take it. He’s kind of funny. Very loving kitty.

  3. Oscar Brand’s album “I love cats” has a song about reassuring his “good old cat, nice old cat” that the new baby in the family won’t usurp his love of his kitty. It’s a beautiful, touching song.

  4. I love the quote by Joan Didion! We are having a little trouble with Scooter since Russell joined the fold. It is interesting that the pet psychic told me Scooter loves Russell, and Russell realizes I treat all the cats with the same compassion. I think eventually Russell will have a good influence on Scooter. I hope so – I have already lost too much blood.

    I definitely agree that humans who have cats are very catlike themselves. My rose-colored glasses never looked at it from the angles you write about. I have some thinking to do!

  5. Oh Ingrid, another insightful post!! I just love how you compare human behavior to cat behavior…we are so very similar! And this subject is exactly what Mark and I have been dealing with lately (extended family relationships, they DO wear me out….cats are SO much easier!)

    And I do see jealous behavior with Abby, but not between she and Roxanne…..she thinks Mark and I are not to have a discussion that doesn’t involve her….Roxy, not so much anymore, I think she’s just happy to be here♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *