updated 05/02/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/02/2012 AT 4:30 PM ET
Get too close to her family and you might just hear Khloé Kardashian growl.
“I have always been like a mama lion and I have treated my family like they are my cubs,” Kardashian, 27, tells PEOPLE. “I’m the same way with my baby sisters, older sisters, brother, and now my husband.”
Kardashian, who is taking a break from her show with husband Lamar Odom, adds, “It is just something that I was born with I guess. I’m incredibly over-protective.”