You’re Allowed to Love Other Cats in Addition to Your Own

Have you ever come home after spending time with somebody else’s pet and had your cat treat you like a traitor?

It’s easy to tell when your cat suspects you of wrongdoing. They don’t just smell your hands or the tips of your shoes — they do a thorough sniff-inspection as if they’re collecting trace evidence of a crime.

Cats have CSI-level skills when it comes to gathering evidence against their humans, and they use all their senses.

After their inspection or smelldown, you both know that you’re going to need to make amends for your indiscretion with a treat, a massage, or a cuddle-session — anything less wouldn’t be acceptable and may land you in the proverbial doghouse.

Dogs aren’t going to mind if you come home with the scent of other animals hanging on you like stale cigarette smoke. Cats, on the other hand, will act as if you deeply betrayed them, even if all you did was give Rex, the German Shepherd, a good scratch behind the ears, or have a playdate with your friend’s new kitten.

I may not hear Yoshi’s thoughts, but I have a good idea of what he’s thinking.

Do you think I can’t tell when you’ve been spending time with another cat, or that I don’t know that you’ve been cuddling with someone else’s fur-baby?

Did you play catch or fetch with a dog? It’s so undignified — I don’t understand how anyone could find that enjoyable, but you do you.

I’m not OK with this. I may have to poop outside the litterbox or knock over your glass of water on the bedside table and destroy a few library books to feel better.

I ask for so little. One would think if you have enough time to allow some strange cat in your lap, you’d use that time to ensure my happiness.

I’m sitting on the couch petting our cat Josie, when Yoshi, comes into the room and gives me the look.

I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do.

It’s not as bad as walking the neighbor’s dog when they’re out of town, but it’s the worst kind of emotional affair in Yoshi’s mind.

I almost push Josie off me, as if that will make things better. Instead, I say, “It’s okay, Yoshi. My petting Josie doesn’t mean anything. You’re still Top Cat.”

But saying that makes no one feel better because of course, cats are terrible at picking up nuance. He can see with his piercing green eyes that I’m being unfaithful … in his house … on his couch … with an interloper!

For cats, anyone who’s adopted after them is an interloper.

I’ve read that if you’re witnessed showing one cat affection by a second cat, it’s a good idea to say the second cat’s name so that they won’t get jealous.

Hi Yoshi! I was just thinking about you, Yoshi, and how great you are! You, Yoshi, are the best cat ever! You rule, Yoshi, and I’m not just saying this because you caught me with another cat.

However, if you’re in bed with your partner and you say your ex’s name, that’s not only going to ruin the mood—it might inspire your partner to develop some doubts about your feelings and fidelity.

Saying another cat’s name is just as awkward as screaming out your ex’s name in a moment of passion.

The best thing you can do if you’re caught sneaking around with another cat is to pretend like you have no idea that you’re doing anything wrong because technically, you’re not.

You have permission to love more than one animal at a time, or that’s the theory.

I’ve always been Yoshi’s primary human but as he’s aged, he’s needed almost constant contact and affection from me. I don’t want our other three cats to feel as if they’re being ignored or their needs for love don’t matter.

Yoshi likes to keep a paw on me at all times to reassure himself that if he needs me to get him a treat or brush his fur at a moment’s notice, all he has to do is to gently flex his claws into my flesh and I’ll hop to it.

Also, not to brag, but even though I’m not a cat whisperer, my petting, chin-scratching, and all-over kitty massages are in high demand. Yoshi should always be my priority.

However, I should be allowed to bond with the other three cats in our house. Yoshi disagrees.

I love all animals — not just cats and not just my pets. I’m an equal opportunity animal-person and I should be able to express my affection for other four-legged creatures without feeling guilty.

I don’t have the answers, so I’ll have to continue giving my scritches, belly-rubs, and snuggles to animals other than Yoshi … on the down-low.

Writer for The Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Startup, Tenderly, Fearless She Wrote, MuddyUm. Christineschoenwaldwriter.com

Sign up for Love Me, Tenderly

By Tenderly

Tenderly's vegan newsletter delivers delicious plants, liberated animals, and the perspectives of vegans all over the world.  Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

A vegan magazine that’s hopefully devoted to delicious plants, liberated animals, and leading a radical, sustainable, joyful life

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store