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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pet Jealousy

Seph and Zoey
I think that one of our biggest struggles as pet parents is managing their jealousy of one another. All pets are unique and demand different levels of attention, but all of our pets seem to think that they should be the center of attention.  The cats are slightly easier in that they have each attached themselves to one human, and don't get jealous of each other unless one is getting significant attention from the other's human.  However, both cats get jealous of the dogs quite often.

Kita and SephThere are a few things that the cats seem to think of as unfair.  They don't like the fact that they have to stay in the house when the dogs go outside with us, and they really don't like it when one or both of the dogs leave with us in the car.  Since the cats can be trusted to stay home for a couple days on their own, they definitely let us know how angry that they are that the dogs left along with us.  Since Zoey still prefers to stay away from the dogs, he starts to cry for me if I am staying up late in the living room with the dogs instead of in the bedroom with him.  Seph gets jealous when Chris pets or holds either of the dogs, and he will push himself in between Chris and the dogs when possible.  Zoey is also jealous of any food or treats that the dogs get.

The dogs also get jealous of the cats.  If Seph is sitting in either of our laps for a significant amount of time, the dogs will eventually come and drool on him in order to make him get up.  If I spend too much time with Zoey on a given day, Kita will use any opportunity that he can to run up on the bed and scare the cat off so that he can lay with me instead.  Both dogs show noticeable irritability that the cats get full range of the house while they are confined to certain areas where we can be sure they won't get into anything, and also get irritable that Seph can sleep in the bed with us while they sleep in their crates.

Kita and Pearl
Finally, the dogs get very envious of one another, and this has been our greatest struggle so far.  Both dogs are equally attached to both of us, so if either of us pay attention to one of them, the other one immediately tries to interfere.  If we leave with one dog in the car, the other dog gets very jealous.  Kita will simply give a few large sighs and maybe a couple whines and will refuse to play until Pearl gets back. Pearl throws a temper tantrum of ridiculous proportion, running in circles, scratching at the doors, and crying so loud and for so long that she often falls asleep, waking up every so often for a few more cries of sadness.  It is truly heartbreaking and very difficult to deal with.  The dogs fight over each other's toys and we cannot give one of them a treat or anything to chew on without the other dog whining loudly.  Pearl is also very possessive over everything she considers to be hers, and she can lash out at Kita unexpectedly, so we need to watch her constantly.

I do wonder how families can have more than 2 pets per person, because even that can be a handful when they all want to be the center of attention.  While it can be difficult at times, we love being pet parents, and couldn't choose between dogs and cats, particularly the crazy but very lovable pets we have now!