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.”
As for enduring the constant speculation about whether she’ll become a mom herself one day, Kardashian says she lets chatter about her personal life roll off her.
“I have to remember I chose to be as honest and open as I am, so I can’t let the rumors really bother me,” she says. “People will always create what they want when they want. I keep my circle close and my family closer. As long as we all are doing well then I couldn’t be happier.”
For more on Khloé’s decision, and their plans to start a family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday