Do Cats Get Sibling-Placement Syndrome?

We’ve all heard about “middle-child syndrome” and how the oldest is the bossiest and the youngest is, well, spoiled. Many would argue that these traits are projected onto sibling groups by their parents. So, then, do we as Cat Parents project sibling group traits onto our cats?

In my own experience with my two cats, who are actually only 3 months apart in age, I see great differences in their personality based on their “litter rank” (despite not being biologically related. Sebastian, our older cat, whom we’ve had since he was 8 weeks old is the domineering one. Valentino, whom when he was almost a year old, is more cautious. Below is a list of traits that each of our cats exhibit which seem to fall in line with older/younger sibling attributes:


(Older Cat; First Cat)


(Younger Cat; Second Cat)









Greets us at the Door

Could care less

Aside from these details, Sebastian is just a bigger cat. Could be the breed (he’s Siamese) although Russian Blues (Valentino’s breed) are usually around the same average weight. But it’s apparent Valentino is slighter than Sebastian, even in the way Sebastian throws his weight around when he walks.

It’s amusing to watch their personalities and see links between their world and ours. I see Sebastian look over Valentino the way an older brother would and Valentino constantly seeks Sebastian’s approval. Could be a classic case of Alpha Cat versus Beta Cat but I like to think their lives are more complicated than just that…

For more on Sebastian and Valentino, follow my blog Married and Renting in LA

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7 thoughts on “Do Cats Get Sibling-Placement Syndrome?

  1. Pingback: Do Cats Get Sibling-Placement Syndrome? - Katzenworld Shop

  2. Pingback: Do Cats Get Sibling-Placement Syndrome? – Local Shots

  3. shoniessky says:

    This is a very interesting post. Makes me think. I think it can be true. It’s possible to say the least. Love comes from everything, so does sadness. So I feel it’s very possible for animals as well. Which makes sibling placement syndrome even more believable to some extent

  4. simon7banks says:

    Just as with humans, cats are influenced by early experiences. Anyone following this site will know cats can experience trauma which influences them long after. And a cat which grew up in a house with ten cats, after it had transferred to one with it and one (submissive) other, always rushed to food and bolted it. Sometimes fast in, fast out.

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