The Detroit Post
Sunday, 07 March, 2021

Why Are Cats Bullies

author
Elaine Sutton
• Friday, 09 October, 2020
• 58 min read

Cats can be passive bullies, too, making life difficult on feline housemates in sly ways. That's why it's important to recognize the signs of feline bullying and learn ways to put a stop to it.

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Contents

A feline bully may guard food and water dishes, shield the litter box or resting space from other users, or refuse to let other cats touch the toys. Some cats hiss or growl when another animal comes close to you, the human.

If you suspect one of your cats is bullying another pet in your home, it's time to take action. Have your pet spayed or neutered. It's the most effective bullying prevention program around.

By sterilizing your pets, you reduce the sexual frustration and aggression that provokes intact, same-gender cats into attacking each other. Plus, you're doing everyone a service since sterilization also reduces feral cat populations and decreases certain feline cancers.

Provide multiple resources. Are your cats fighting over the food bowl? If your house has more than one floor, make sure there's a box on each level and that they all sit in unobstructed areas.

An adequate number of litter facilities can keep the peace between feline housemates. Some cats earn a reputation as bullies when in fact they are simply ill or even extra energetic.

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If your cat seems to be more energetic than most, provide plenty of puzzle toys, active games, and playtime. You may find that your “bully cat” has a charming personality when she's in good health and well entertained.

Spaying or neutering may also help curb the animal's prey drive. If these options don't work, separate the animals as much as possible until you can talk to a vet or a pet behaviorist. If your dog is innocently (or not-so-innocently) provoking the cat with enthusiastic play maneuvers, work on behavior training.

A clicker and a few commands can help restore inter-species harmony in the home. Finally, if the dog is irritating the cat while she's doing business, put a stop to it by choosing a covered litter box like the Modest or Modest XL Litter Boxes. Written by Reviewed by Joanne In tile, DVD, MS, Davis If you have more than one cat living under your roof, you may be familiar with cat fights, technically known as inter-cat aggression.

Frequent cat fights are frustrating to pet owners and potentially dangerous to cats, sometimes even drawing blood. Cats usually display social standing with posturing and “bluffing” communication that doesn't result in injuries.

Acting like a victim by slinking around, using submissive body language, hiding, and so forth invites the bullies to increase their bluster. Changes in the cat's social group, such as the addition or departure of a member, may prompt an increase in face-offs.

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Environmental changes, such as moving or rearranging cat furniture or feeding and litter box stations, can cause fights. Felines reach social maturity at 2 to 4 years of age, and that's when many first challenge others for status.

They challenge each other with stares, forward-facing body position, hisses, growls, mounting behavior, nape bites, or by blocking access to food, play, or attention. Illustration: The Spruce / Marina Li If your home is the site of frequent cat fights, it's important that you do your best to stop it; not only for your cats health but also for your own well-being.

Adding more territorial space can prevent cats from having to share climbing, hiding, and perching areas where fights can break out. Increasing the number of toys, cat trees, litter boxes, and feeding stations reduced competition for resources.

This allows the passive cat to access the entire home while having a safe area where the aggressor can't follow. The doors open with a magnetic “key” inside these collars, and can be purchased at pet stores or online.

Giving food or attention to the aggressive cat may calm the angst in the short term, but it rewards the bully. Once the aggressive cat walks away and is calm, reinforce its good behavior with a desirable treat, toy, or attention.

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Cat carriers or a harness and leash used in a hallway or large room can be helpful. During the controlled meetings, feed cats tasty foods or engage in play, so they learn to associate each other with fun, positive rewards.

Pet stores sell products that mimic natural cat odor (humans can't smell it) and that can significantly reduce stress. Don't consider it giving up; it's making life better for your cats and ensuring that they are happy no matter where they live.

Try clapping your hands, banging on a pot, or throwing a large, soft object like a pillow near the cats. In many ways, cats are portrayed as the small bullies of the animal kingdom.

More than a quarter of cats brought into shelters are relinquished due to aggression. This behavior may be your cat’s way of establishing position in the household and ensuring that their territorial needs are met.

Knowing what your cat needs will go a long way in making a happier home life. You may need to feed each pet in separate areas to help reduce the need to protect their food.

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When you have all your pets together with you, make sure to show them equal amounts of love and attention. Make sure your cat has their own toys, and they have adequate activities and enrichment.

Pawing with ears facing forward, body relaxed, is a good sign! Pawing while ears are back and your cat is leaning away from the other means a fight is brewing.

If they avoid each other or continue to display anxious body posture, they were most likely responding to aggression or stress. Avoid stressful or aggression-inducing situations (food bowls too close, lack of privacy, etc.).

Use high value food, treats, and toys when the cats are together, as a way to create positive associations. Separate the aggressive cat and reintroduce him or her slowly using rewards, such as favorite treats.

Do not use punishment toward your cat, including spray bottles, as this can create more aggression and fear. Our veterinarians at Union Lake Pet Services can help you determine whether your cat is displaying aggression or has other behavioral issues to be addressed, and how to best handle them.

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If you think your cat is a bully, please give us a call to discuss and to set up an appointment. Redirect aggression: Cats can get stressed from a variety of reasons which can trigger their reactive behavior that may include bullying.

One of the chief reasons why cats get stressed out is due to changes in their surroundings. This change could either be environmental (e.g., moving/rearranging furniture or litter box stations) or social (e.g., addition or departure of another cat).

The aim is to elevate their status in the eyes of other cats and make them submissive. The behavior typically begins at 2-4 years when cats reach social maturity.

They intimidate other cats in several ways which include: stares, body position, hisses, growls, nape bites and many more. So when a new cat enters an area they have marked as their domain, they show aggression in a bid to defend their space and keep the intruder off.

Now that we have identified the root causes of feline bullying, it is now time to solve the problem. You do not have to buy a bigger house to create more physical space between your cats but making two separate areas of the apartment/house may reduce squabbles.

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Cats may get threatened about other felines eating their food and the simple solution is to create two separate litter boxes and feeding area. If you have more than two cats, it helps to have litter boxes as this can keep the peace between feline housemates.

This routine can be repeated 3 times a day and can help calm your cats. Apart from giving you the opportunity to bond with your felines, playing with your cats can help tire them out which is a good trick.

The reason is that an exhausted cat typically does not have enough pent-up energy for scuffling and getting into situations that could turn aggressive. Your vet will inspect both cats and proffer solutions to help solve the problem.

We receive a small commission on goods purchased via these links, at no additional cost to you. This is a “power play” designed to intimidate other cats lower in the hierarchy.

A good rule of thumb is to provide one more litter box than there are cats in the house. The cat exhibiting aggressive behavior may feel as though the hierarchy has been violated.

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Certain areas of the house, like the bed where you sleep, are considered “prime real estate” in the cat hierarchy. Providing the lead feline prime time in the prized resting area shows him his place in the hierarchy is being observed.

Cats need time to adjust to another coming into their area, and to determine where each will fall in the hierarchy. Ensure the cat being bullied has escape routes to prevent him/her from being trapped by the aggressor.

Redirection In a recent case of bullying I observed, the aggressor stalked the other resident cat and would often attack her. To redirect this behavior, when you observe the aggressor staring at the other cat, use a toy to distract him.

They give the aggressor an opportunity to use his hunting skills on the toy rather than a cat sibling. These toys also help burn pent-up energy to lessen the hunting urge.

She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living. Keeping my pets healthy and happy is my number one priority.

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Bullying often occurs when adding a second cat to the home. When a new animal, most notably another cat, is introduced into a household, it turns this hierarchy upside down and creates chaos while everyone reestablishes their place.

Below, we'll address each of these scenarios, analyze the situation, and look at ways to correct the problem. The following advice is predicated on the idea that your cat has been spayed or neutered.

When you first bring the new cat home, keep him or her in a separate room away from the other pets in the house. If possible, allow them to interact under a door (let them hiss, fight, and stick their paws out if they must).

Be ready to separate and move the new cat back to its room if the situation gets too stressful. I even once had an older cat that took about a year to acclimate and find his place in the home.

If you think about it, most domesticated pets still have remnants of their feral ancestors. One of the resources that was the hardest to find in the wild was food.

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After all, in the wild, it could mean the difference between life and death. As cats become acclimated, they may be fine with sharing a food bowl, but until then and even after the new cat is let out into the shared areas in the home, make sure to maintain separate food bowls and keep them in different parts of the house if possible.

If bullying occurs while the cats are eating, put the cats in two different rooms and close the door so that they can eat in peace. Another important component with helping a new cat to get established and to prevent bullying behavior is to have enough litter boxes.

If the cat feels threatened, he may forgo the litter box and find a “safer” place to do bathroom business. To help alleviate this problem, I have added litter boxes in other parts of the house.

Create a Safe Environment: If you have a cat that is bullying other cats in the litter box and the litter box is covered, consider taking the top off, at least for a while. This allows the dominated cat to feel like he or she can see around and fend off an attack.

“The rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, plus one extra.” To prevent conflicts in multi-cat households, provide enough of the essentials.

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Not only will the situation escalate, but your cats or pets are at risk of serious injury. Play it safe, and never use your body to break up a fight.

Consider these alternative methods for preventing cat aggression: Cat bites and scratches are serious and require medical attention.

Try a loud whistle, try throwing a soft towel, use a squirt bottle with water (for emergencies), or use a broom or similar object to separate or startle them without hurting them. Verbal Reprimand: Make sure you tell the bully cat “no” in a firm and solid voice when he or she is being dominant.

Spray Bottle: A simple spray bottle (like the kind you might use to water houseplants) can be an effective tool against aggressive cat behavior; the water doesn't hurt the cat. Be sure that the cat only gets a squirt of water when it is displaying the unwanted behavior.

Adding more animals to a hostile environment will only create further stress and dysfunction. It is best to wait for resolution and stability before changing your pets' environment.

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Stressful noises and events may trigger aggressive or uncharacteristic behavior. Find a quiet room for your cat if your neighbors are making noise next door.

Offer secure “hide” beds and places to seek refuge. Beltway is one such brand that comes as a spray or wall plug-in and is available for multi-cat households.

Some commercial pet stores offer calming, cat-friendly essential oil blends (make sure anything you purchase is cat-safe and veterinarian-approved because some essential oils are toxic). Oral prescriptions (for anxiety or mild sedation) may be beneficial in extreme cases as well.

Behavior Specialists: Consult with a qualified veterinary behaviorist or professional in the field. Often, these professionals can observe triggering issues that aren't obvious to the common cat owner.

Sometimes, pain and chronic illness may feed aggressive behavior. Re homing: This is a LAST resort and should be considered if both cats are in immediate danger on a daily basis, and their quality of life is affected.

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Consider interviewing friends or acquaintances who are looking for an animal companion. This decision is emotional and extremely difficult, but consider the quality of life and safety of your animals.

Have you provided adequate food, litter boxes, territory, and love? It may take cats anywhere from a few weeks to months and even over a year to finally settle in with one another, depending on the personalities.

This is a fairly common scenario and not one that can be predicted until the moment of introduction. Cats don't reach social maturity until 2–4 years of age, so your kitten is a sitting target.

A proper introduction is everything, so be diligent, patient, and thorough about introducing your new kitten to your resident cats. Most of all, make sure your kitten has a safe environment to retreat to and a chance to establish itself in the home without the lingering presence of the bully.

Supervised interaction is necessary to keep your kitten safe. Although one would think that an adult cat may be more established and dominant than a new kitten, it is not uncommon for kittens to dominate and bully adult cats.

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Work with adoption specialists to discuss your current cat (or dog's) personality, lifestyle, and traits. A rowdy kitten may pair greatly with an energetic dog, but not do well with a senior cat.

Consider your current pets' traits before making a selection based on more superficial characteristics. While it may make for a funny video, cats bullying dogs and dogs being afraid of cats actually creates a stressful situation for both animals.

If you are establishing a dog-to-cat relationship, some advice mentioned above applies: Introduce them slowly and keep the dog on a leash.

Make sure to show both pets attention and love. When they are out together, reassure both pets with love, attention, and treats to let them know that you care about them equally.

Help your bullied dog out and keep those nails short. That's why it's important to socialize your pets and consider new family members that seem capable of handling the current dynamic.

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The key to having a harmonious, multiple-pet household is patience, love, and a little of training. Aggressive cats can learn to stifle their behavior.

After the posturing, hissing, and fighting is over, the cat may discover that he or she has a new best friend. Sometimes too, aggressive cats simply need more play or stimulation to extinguish their extra energy.

Body Language: Take a look at the cats posture. Pawing is totally normal so long as the claws aren't out, but watch out for unsheathed claws coupled with a cat that is leaning back and swiping.

Starting and stopping play is normal, whereas true hostility climaxes fast and is enduring. Vocalization: Growling and hissing is a solid indication that things aren't friendly.

Silence usually means that fair play is commencing. Play pals will typically return to their usual activities once they have tired.

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Pay close attention to your cats body language to determine who is the aggressor and who is the victim. Feral colonies, for instance, may form around food sources.

These colonies are considered matrilineal and consist of females and kittens, similar to a pride. According to the International Cat Care charity, cats will generally establish a homing zone as well as hunting territory, which may overlap into neutral grounds upon which social interaction (both positive and negative) may occur.

Their social structure can be much more complicated and less reflective of a hierarchy than as seen with dogs. Bonding is often dependent on blood relation between littermates, mothers, and kittens, and male cats tend to be pushed out of colonies once they reach sexual maturity and take to a more solitary life.

Cats rely heavily on olfactory communication and mark their territory using scent glands. Scent from urine, feces, and anal glands aid communication; unfettered male cats are notorious for “spraying” a strong, odorous, oily urine to establish territory.

Pheromones (chemicals that trigger social responses) are excreted from the mouth, face, lower back, tail, and paws of the cat and are master communicators as well. Some feline behavior specialists recommend synthetic feline pheromones for use within trouble-prone households, both for highly anxious cats and multi-cat households.

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If there are behavioral or bullying issues between your cats, making sure that they are fixed (spayed, neutered, or sterilized) is the first step in reducing the problem. This not only calms both pets down but is also important as a public service.

According to the ASPCA, 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats) every year because of a lack of homes. Diminished marking and spraying of cat urine outside the litter box and around the house.

Reduced reproductive behaviors, such as when a female cat goes into heat (yowling, vying for affection, and hyperactivity). Reduced roaming, escaping, and disappearances (related to reproductive behavior).

Stray cats have either been lost or abandoned but warm up to social interaction. Feral cats, on the other hand, have not been socialized with humans and are extremely fearful.

Their offspring, if not captured and socialized within a given window, will become fearful of humans as well. Stray and feral cats often either free-roam or join an established colony.

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On the other hand, if a stray cat is friendly and seemingly healthy, has a collar, or can be scanned for a microchip, consider reuniting the cat with its owner. As for feral cats, refer to your local Trap-Neuter-Release or TNR program.

TNR programs offer a nonlethal means to lessen the feral cat population over generations. These organizations work to humanely trap feral cats, neuter them, and release them.

In this case, an aggressive dog meets a bully cat, and the result is wonderful. In this case, the best action is rewarding the hero with some treats, a new scratching post with catnip, and lots of pets and snuggles.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional or licensed animal behaviorist. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress or questionable behavior should be seen by a veterinarian.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.

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Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. We actually caught him trying to eat one of them one day (he had his mouth wrapped around our other cat's head).

Try clapping or spraying a water bottle when he is engaging in this behavior. Now, my boy cat keeps peeing everywhere even though I have six litter boxes, and he has no internal issues based on what vet says.

Question: Our fifteen-year-old cat does not like the three-year-old we found six months ago. They don't really fight, but I feel like she stays in our room a lot to avoid him.

I brought in a young, adult rescue cat last fall. They need to sleep a lot at that age, so he likely is just looking for somewhere quiet to hang out.

The youngest we recently brought home (about 6 months ago). He's such a cute cat and I think he had a really rough start in life, so I don't want to get rid of him.

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Answer: Well I think he may be confused and getting angry as to why he's getting the water bottle treatment. Make your home more cat proof and remove things that would be problematic for him to knock over.

I highly doubt he's making the connection between the water bottle and knocking things over. One of my older cats (14 years old) decided she didn't like her anymore, even though they had been sleeping together on the couch just a week before.

Switch the next time and put the other one in the crate and let the other one roam. Cats can take months to acclimate, and some will only ever get to the point of being buddies.

We bathed the tabby apart from his face, and it has made no difference. Answer: It sounds like everyone is stressed because of the incident.

Maybe start getting them together again by creating pleasant experiences such as giving everyone treats when they are together. Question: Soon, I will move into my boyfriend's house with my two male cats.

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I am really worried that he will hurt my young cats if they cross his territory. I am also worried my cats will run away (we can't keep them in the house all the time).

You can also feed the cats in two separate rooms once or twice a day to help curb this behavior. I did the slow introduction, but she has been nervous around my four-year-old male cat and my one dog since day one and is always hissing at them.

My male cat has accepted her in the home straight away and didn't know how to respond to her hissing. He has suddenly changed and has become a bully towards her by sneaking up on her and chasing her in the garden, making her too scared to go outside to the loo.

I would give her another break by putting her back in the bedroom and allowing her to take some time away from the others. But getting love and acceptance from you and realizing that she is safe will help.

Cats have to hiss and chase as they figure out the new pecking order. Either put the newer cat in a room or give her a place where she can go and sleep and relax.

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Some cats will barely tolerate each other, and some get along relatively quickly without much fuss. Make every time they are together something pleasurable from you, and it might cut down on the behavior.

However, recently, the brother has been hissing and generally being mean to his sister. Check him over and if there is any change in his weight or appearance, get him evaluated by a vet.

Otherwise, try to make a pleasant environment for both of them by doing things like feeding them treats together, etc. Question: I have a newer senior cat addition and performed all the steps.

I redirect him and tell him off, but he actively goes back to fighting my other cat. Answer: Cats need what seems like a LONG time for us to acclimate and decide how the tribe is going to work.

Also, realize that they will work through it, but it literally can take months to a year. We've been telling him no and using a spray bottle, but he continues the same behavior shortly after.

The aggressive eater is fed first in a bathroom with the door closed. When they are done, she lets the one who likes to eat everyone's food out of the bathroom.

The older one is extremely possessive of my person, and seriously intimidates the younger one by its presence. Answer: My first thought is that this sounds like a personality thing.

Even my newest rescue, a tiny five found sortie intimidates him. If you feel that you're not able to give the other cat as much affection as he or she wants, I suggest trying to make time spent with you super pleasant for both of them.

Get some treats and be sure to feed several to the dominant cat first to keep him or her occupied. Answer: I would suggest giving the pregnant cat a place of her own to rest and be comfortable, even a bathroom or a bedroom away from him may work.

After your female cat has her kittens, I suggest making sure everyone is spayed and neutered. This will likely cut down on the tension, and also help control the surplus pet population.

When she’s eating or playing, he will come in, start sniffing her and paw slap her. I don't know if this is normal, because when she starts hissing, I take him out of my room.

Answer: This is absolutely normal for cats and is part of their “getting to know you” process. My older cat is losing weight, and I'm not sure how to make him stop trying to steal her food.

Answer: The kitten is still pretty young and is just learning how everything works. You can also try supervising during meals and redirecting the kitten to his bowl when he tries to start bothering her.

He is trying to figure out how everything works right now and, at that age, they are super playful and it may appear as bullying but is more than likely just an abundance of energy and enthusiasm. Question: My eight-year-old Siamese cat attacks and chases my two kittens.

They all have own litter, food, and water, and my older cat likes only my room as it's her safe place. Since the kittens are so young, this may be a good thing as they can establish their roles in the household and know that she is the queen bee.

My first Siamese hated when I brought home his six-month-old tabby “brother.” I lavished a lot of attention on the Siamese to let him know that he was still king.

When the brother passed away of cancer, my Siamese mourned his loss and would walk around looking for him. Make sure your established cat feels no threat from the younger ones in regard to your attention.

Question: 10-month-old neutered Male Maine Cone, just adopted a 2-month-old female Norwegian Forest. Today he goes back and forth from dominating or/and grooming and staring at her.

They for have their own rooms to eat, drink, litter box and windows. Remember that often in cat groups or even in pairs, they do establish dominant and submissive.

Just keep letting them be together for short periods of time. There could be minor setbacks but overall, it sounds like these cats might ultimately be friends.

I would continue to give them time and let them work out their routines. Sometimes my older cat will sit and watch the kitten, and sometimes they will engage with the hissing and slapping, following each other around afterward.

Remember that cats take, what seems to us, a long time to adjust to new mates. You will likely want to keep them separate for a while and do a slow introduction of a period of days to weeks.

Question: Can you suggest a strategy to deal with an aggressive older cat? Answer: It sounds like your aggressive cat has gone through and change and still doesn't quite know if she's “safe” in her place as far as being the lead kitty.

If the other cats aren't having any issues like not using the litter box or not eating then I would personally let the situation work itself out. Make sure the aggressive kitty feels loved with lots of attention.

As hard as it is to watch from the human perspective, from the cat's side they all have to work it out. Question: My ten-month-old male cat is obsessed with milk, to the point making a cup of tea around him can be very difficult.

He has a varied diet of wet and dry food, but still prefers milk. If he is at a good weight and not having stomach issues, I'd just give him some when he is trying to take yours and not worry about it.

He watches her while she eats, and when she's done, he will attack her, jumping at her and biting her neck. He waits for her at the doorway of the bedroom and bathroom (after she goes potty) and attacks her.

Answer: Usually younger cats are just more energetic and playful in general. If the other cat is continuing to eat, drink, and go to the litter box, then it should be fine just to let it go.

I have one cat who occasionally runs into the room and pounces on her sleeping housemate. Thank you for your article, a lot of good tips, unfortunately I have tried them all, so I am looking everywhere, anywhere that can help me.

Since then my older male started spraying in the house and the two would fight on a weekly basis. We recently adopted a cat that the vet says is around two years old, he's mostly very friendly with adults and kids, sometimes he'll randomly bite if you pet him in one spot for too long.

We got him neutered soon thereafter, but he still has not calmed down with bullying the neighbor cat. We cannot keep him indoors at all times because he was previously an outdoor cat, and we have a senior dog that wants to eat him.

We thought about doing a ratio, but in the meantime, we have nowhere to put him, so we've created a space in our insulated garage until we can figure something out. We recently moved in with my parents until we can save up for a house.

Two years ago my sis brought her four yo female cat home. My 12 yo female accepted he after about a one week into phase, and they became inseparable.

I do give treats and wet food together so there sis by side and the do fine. I took in my grandmother's 12-year-old female cat a month and a half ago.

We have been doing the bowl feeding on sides of a baby gate, slowly inching them forward, and that is going relatively well but the new older cat still is not accepting of the kitten. When separated, She will occasionally lunge at the gate and when I have done supervised visits she has gone after her, and they end up in a big cat fight (no one has gotten hurt).

We have done the scent swapping, and continue to take it slow, but I am beginning to feel hopeless. They are both very sweet cats separately, affectionate, social, and love attention.

Three years ago we got a female cat, then two brothers a couple of months later. All cats were under 1-year-old when we got them (female is the oldest by a couple of months) and they have grown up together.

She's smaller and not as strong, and also very passive and neurotic, so fights start very easily. One of the boys is an alpha cat who can be a bully while his brother is incredibly sweet, but at the flip of a switch will suddenly be very aggressive to his sister.

We live in a good-sized 3-bedroom house with multiple litter boxes, water bowls, toys, etc. We do not free feed but rather give them breakfast and dinner all together at the same times every day, and all the cats always finish, so they are not competing for food.

The fighting and bullying has been a problem for at least a year now, and we were hoping they would get over it with age, but it's starting to get worse. We started using Beltway a few months ago but it hasn't seemed to make a difference.

They can be generally territorial of resources, with the boys guarding my lap/ the pantry where the food is kept/ doorways to rooms they like, but fights also seem to break out for no reason. Sometimes it seems all it takes is for the boys to catch sight of their sister, and then they are running her down.

The fights are getting ugly, with the boys pining her down once they catch her and biting/scratching mouths/lawful of hair out of her before we can distract them. The female cat seemed to have developed litter box anxiety because they have attacked her while she is using it, causing her to now do her business all over the house.

We’ve tried to separate the girl cat in a guest room a few times to give them some space but that doesn’t do more than damage the carpet on both sides of the door as all our cats desperately try to open the door. Similar results whenever we try locking up a different cat to give them a break from each other.

It's very rare for cats that live together to do major damage, even with claws. It sounds like her mother instincts are still working themselves out.

Honestly, it is very hard for a cat Willow's age to adjust to a new companion. That doesn't mean they can't tolerate each other, but she just doesn't have the energy of a two-year-old cat any more and will not be likely to want to play.

Supervise them when they are together and try to redirect his energy to a toy or treat so that he will give her a break. Make sure she has time away from him to nap as older cats need lots of rest.

Make sure you save the water bottle for awful situations. While this is definitely a good thing in the long run, they feel different after being fixed.

I brought in a recently neutered male cat this summer (he was likely just at one or a little under). I would give it some more time and try to feed the bullied cat separately.

Even just putting her in a bathroom to eat will allow you to make sure she is getting enough food during this transition time. If you think they are battling for attention then I'd suggest having a plan to engage both of them when you are together.

Treats, interactive toys (such as catfishing poles) and other items where you can play with them is a good thing. Two people or two hands would work just as well so both cats feel like they are getting attention.

She has been laying in a relaxed stance near one of the kittens and then smacked them and ran suddenly for no reason. She still lets her mom the eldest car groom her and is least aggressive with her but still hisses and smacks at her as she goes by at times.

She is most aggressive with one of the adult males who is fixed and a very laid back cat as well as the 2 10-month-old kittens. My kitty Thus is a fresh two-year old male and is my pride and joy.

I currently live with my parents who have my childhood cat Willow who is 17 years old. Thus frequently wants to play with Willow and will pounce and play with her, but she doesn't like it and growls, hisses and then attacks him roughly to the point he yelps and whines even though she doesn't have claws, and he has never been bleeding after their excursions.

He is a healthy, happy, large, energetic, non-neutered male kitten 5 months old. We have tried several times to let them meet each other, but Baxter goes in for the kill as soon as the new kitten is in his view.

The kitten doesn’t hold a grudge and when things are calmer doesn’t avoid Baxter, but Baxter makes sure he regrets not fearing him. I guess my question is whether The fact that my 5-month-old kitten is not neutered yet might be playing a major role in this laser focused aggression.

We have three cats, our latest addition is a 3-year-old male (Nibbler) that we got about 4 months ago. Monster was actually a feral kitten when we got him, and he only seems to respond well to me when it comes to human interaction.

We introduced Nibbler nice and slowly and all three cats were getting along up until about 2-3 weeks ago. I started noticing more fighting amongst all of them and Thorax even got herself a nice little bite mark above her eye.

I’ve started isolating him when we aren’t around to supervise in hopes that he would find the isolation not worth the effort of fighting but it hasn’t helped. I can’t release him to a shelter because I don’t think he’s adoptable.

I can’t very well just put him back out on the streets and I do love him but I’m at my wits end. Anyway, recently the male cats cannot stand each other, they keep growling at each other for hours and sometimes even fight.

But after doing so, the male cats attack a female one and my another female cat is literally scared of them so much that she does not even eat and drink properly (not totally stopped yet). Our resident seems stressed and has sprayed two areas of the home.

I would suggest perhaps getting the dog some anxiety meds such as Prozac. Also, removing your dog from the situation when the cat is attacking help to reassure her that you have her back.

In the meantime, if it gets to be too much, just pick one of them up and move them to another room for a quiet period away from each other. My resident cat is very timid and won't come out from behind the sofa when I try to do introductions.

The new, younger cat is sweet nature and relatively confident but when allowed in the same room as the resident, older cat she charges her like she's going to attack. I've been told I need to just let them 'sort it out' between them but I'm terrified one of them is going to get hurt.

Can you offer any advice as it's stressing out the whole household? Since she came home she has been very active and continues to run and play.

She didn't hiss, attack or swipe, so I thought this could work, they could adjust. But now, three months later, she still can't be left alone with him, she attacked him one night two weeks ago and won't let him come down the hallway, and is overall being a bully.

He never has once been hostile with her and is scared of her, to the degree he peed on the floor since he's afraid to use the litter pan because she won't let him down the hall. Both cats are neutered/spayed, different genders, and I've tried everything except the squirt bottle, which I have mixed feelings on.

But she's just making things miserable and I'm losing sleep over it. My older cat who's about 5 or 6 she tries to go to the bathroom but the kitten follows her and proceeds 2 try to bug her.

But my mom and I actually get quite mad because the older cat just runs upstairs (or downstairs) to the other letterbox while the little one follows. We've tried picking him up and setting him in another room away from the older cat, but he just goes back to her.

I have two cats that are about 5 month old, and they are both very sweet but I just got another kitten and one of my older cats has been aggressive toward the kitten and me can someone tell me how I’m can make everyone get along Both females and my apartment no longer allows animals.

My moms kitten ran away from a loud noise under the same bed. They were fine for about a day and then my cat started to hiss, attack, eat the kittens food and use her litter box.

Hi, I was wondering what to do when two cats who used to get along well (slept together, groomed each other, played a lot) no longer do. The male cat will start eating his food and stop midway (still food left) and go to the female cats bowl, push her out of the way (not aggressively but just weasel his way in) and eat from her bowl.

I feel like she's being bullied, but she doesn't lash out or respond except for just leaving. The male cat also will often sit on her while she's just lying down, and she'll quietly try to leave and get away, and he takes her spot.

He often takes her spot on the cat beds or boxes we have lying around for them, and she just yields and leaves every time without a thought or sound. Until my hubby and I go to bed or worse yet, go on vacation and nobody's in the house to referee the cats.

He loves nothing more than prowling around the house waiting for the chance to pounce on one of his older 'sisters' (nobody's related though). Our oldest, Manx, is about 9 years old now and it took her a while, but she eventually figured out that one good smack and Obi would leave her be.

The younger of the two girls, though, Hera is a very gentle nature cat and flat out refuses to stand up for herself, no matter what. We've gone through 3 different kinds of 'vet' food at the vet's suggestion, but they just won't eat.

We live in a very small townhouse (although my husband swears it's a house). Since they are mother and son, she likely doesn't mind and has chosen to be submissive.

This will make sure that more cats don't end up on the street and may curb some of his tendencies. Hello, I have 2 cats, mother and son, rescued from the street, I notice the son is very egoist, he pushes his mother, even thou there are 2 bowls with food 1 for each.

I put the bowl far away from each other, but he runs towards his moms food to steal it :/ when I play with them I try to play a bit with mom also, but he shoves her aside, and she goes to a corner. We have an 11-year-old female cat her sister died 18 months ago.

She bullies our old cat, who doesn’t want to come in the house. Getting everyone fixed and having the kittens grow up or find new homes will likely help improve the situation.

I currently have one high-strung cat that is taking Prozac once a day. Your vet might also suggest a higher calorie food to help her gain weight.

I also do want to mention that it's possible that her stress and weight loss are due to something else (some kind of illness) and that the tom cat's aggression just makes it worse. That's an alarming amount of weight for the stressed kitty to lose.

However, if I were guessing it sounds like she needs some help learning how to clam down. You also may need to separate the new cat in another room with its own litter box, food and water.

Allow it out when you are there but supervise and then give it a break in its own room when you are gone or at night. Usually this will work itself out over time but you need to definitely give the stressed cat a space of its own for a few days.

Oldest is an 8 yrs old female, next in line is a 3-year-old female (very submissive, weak, doesn't stick up for herself) and finally we rescued a third kitty Nov. 2017 (8 1/2 months old male whom is a BIG kitty.....bone structure, tail etc). Problem is he loves to bully the weak 3yr old female all the time when even interactive toys, water bottle spraying, firm tones of “no” have not worked.

He has stressed out the weak 3-year-old where she has lost almost 2 lbs in almost 5 months. Sometimes when he walks in the room she will remain in the room (which is good that she's not running under the bed away from him) but most of the time she does run under the bed.

Cats can sometimes take and incredibly long time to re-adjust. Hi LC, We have two male 4yo neutered brothers (they have their claws) and are indoor cats, we adopted them from shelter when they were about 4 mos old.

2.5 months ago Frankie almost died from urinary blockage and was in vet hospital four days. Since being home, Max no longer seems to know Frankie and basically wants to kill him.

About two weeks after coming home Frankie went off all meds, but he eats a urinary friendly prescription diet now. Any attempts to have them near each other to introduce, eat, play, etc sometimes go 'ok' while we are supervising but unwatched (we're nearby and want to observe Max) we can see Max gets ready to stalk and on occasion goes after Frankie.

We are doing some 'ratification' type things but I really doubt it will solve the issues. I started to let my two-year-old male cat sleep with me on my bed and my dog sleeps there also she is female and 5 years old they got along fine but now she doesn't want to be around him and I don't know what to do.

Luna and Felix are bonded and love to sleep together. By the time we hear the hissing and fighting Felix has already run off.

We have plenty of litter boxes and all 3 eat at the same time in separate places. I have a male cat he is a few years old and neutered, he bullies my older smaller female and now he's starting to bully my daughter's female kitten.

It sounds like the smaller, bullied cat may need to be crated when you are gone. A spray bottle with water should be ready at the first sign of aggression.

She is not one to attack, if she doesn't like an animal, for example when I got princess as a kitten she hated her. They chase her and attack her, she is basically living in a bathroom at this point.

I have to clean up hair and blood constantly from the bathroom sink. I work a lot and when I'm not here I believe the behavior goes unpunished and is not redirected in any way.

Plus it's not fair that she has to live her life in constant fear and in a bathroom on top of that. I am 6 months pregnant with a high risk pregnancy, extremely high risk, I have now been scratched three times during these attacks while I was in the bathroom getting ready for work.

I have never wanted to hurt an animal in my life but I'm almost at my breaking point with these 2. It will at least be a couple of months before I will be out of here so until then, I need a way to keep princess safe as well as myself and my baby.

Additionally, he had been raised among a variety of people as well as other cats and dogs so is well-socialized. I am very fond of him and am pretty sure he decided I was 'his' territory until my cat came on the scene.

They do play chase once a day or so if the cats are in the shared space together. My worry is this: now my cat is hiding under the bed in the master bedroom, pretty uninterested in coming out to the main part of the house....and the oneupmanship of who gets the 'best' space in shared areas continues.

I'm worried that my cat will be unable to hold his own and won't be able to share in the household with us, just wanting to stay in 'his' room. Ask your vet about a low dose Prozac.

In order to minimize the aggression, get a spray bottle and fill with water. With that said, cats have a way of working out things, even if it takes years.

As long as both have their claws and are on equal ground, they will likely figure it out. If you are worried, then keep them in separate rooms when you are not home to monitor them.

My 14-month-old Siamese make won’t stop jumping on our 16.5 yr old Maine coon. If he doesn’t chase or jump on her they are ok and can sleep on the same bed etc.

Ok so my problem is, is that tiger (boy cat) continues to bully her (Bella)by biting her. Make sure she has a private area where your toddler can't go, so she will feel safe.

I would also suggest taking her to the vet for a work up to make sure there is no underlying condition. She used to just pee in the bathtub if her litter box was full.

I use pet sprays to remove the smell but I can’t get her to stop. About a month after she got them the kitten started attacking the older cat when she walks around or even just laying on the couch sometimes.

They have lots of toys and scratching posts, and they get a little of catnip a couple of times a week. More recently the kitten is really starting to bite the older cat.

We have tried redirecting his attention with toys when we see him staring at her, and he does his little but wiggle. He will watch the toy and play with it for two seconds and then jump the older cat.

Now today something dizzier and disgusting happened while I was visiting a friend. I had a young (3 week to 2 months old possibly) kitten fall literary from a 3-story balcony onto my head.

But I put him or her down, and they hide under my Xbox... Meanwhile, the male isn't attacking... Just investigating and being ridiculously vocal but the younger cat is hissing.

I have no doors on my bedroom and i don't feel right confining either cat to the bathroom My male is severally affectionate and even has tried to clean the new cat only for it to hiss and swat.

I have 2 males cats, brothers, now age 8 that have behavior issues that started about 2 years ago and have gotten worse. They are both neutered and had a healthy vet visit last month.

The behavioral vet recommended Prozac for Bigger which we did for 1 1/2 years! We have tried to separate them in different areas but Bigger howls and Louie digs at the door like a maniac.

They likely smell different from the groomers and cats do recognize each other. They have always been very affectionate and loving toward each other until I decided to get them lion style haircuts.

Taking them one at a time on different days it was like bringing a new cat into the home. I was totally surprised at the housing and hiding from each other.

First, inflicting any kind of pain including flicking the nose will only make the problem worse. Listen to their body signals and allow them space to get out of situations if they don't want to be petted, held, played with etc.

We say no, spray her, flick her on the nose then she wants to attack me. He looks different and smells funny from the groomer's powders and perfumes.

I recently just had to get the boy cat groomed and shaved because he had a lot of matted fur and wouldn't let me cut it out or brush him. Ever since I got him groomed his sister won't go near him and when she does she's growls and hisses at him.

The boy cat looks so sad when his sister hisses because he doesn't know what he did wrong. No kidding I have a male cat that is on a low dose of Prozac and it has worked wonders for his temperament.

He takes one pill a day, and he is a much more calm and relaxed kitty and aggression has turned into playful bouts in the floor. We had had to slowly reintroduce them using a screen door to keep them from hurting each other.

Second, she always hisses and growls at him, hiding under the bed instead of playing back. They usually didn't vocalize during that play time, and they also took turns chasing.

I would just let them reassert dominance and so on, but right now it's clear that the whole thing might escalate into a serious fight if left unchecked. The female is, at this point, quite wary of him in light of being hurt and frightened during their fights.

Sometimes cat play looks an awful lot like fighting to humans (even the chasing a hiding). Nipping and tumbling and kicking each other with their back feet.

It's their nightly routine, and they both seem to enjoy the “play aggression.” Put the bully cat in a bedroom with litter box, water, etc.

Another thing to try is to get a cat harness and leash and actually leash the bully sometimes and help pull her back when she starts bothering the other cats. Six weeks isn't that long in adult cat adjustment period.

I have a pair of two-year-old cats, both fixed, that started suddenly fighting about three months ago. I have slowly reintroduced them, and they are generally peaceful during feeding times.

They will even hang around for ~25-30 minutes together working out all the kibble from a slow feeder puzzle that we use. The moment they are done eating, however, the male chases the female up the stairs and under the bed, where she'll usually stay hidden and/or drive him away from.

If she comes out to get water or use the litter box, she literally looks over her shoulder in a panic. And in open space, she just runs away, and so all the time we spend in a confined room doesn't solve the problem of what happens in the rest of the house.

I'm not sure we can live like this, where everyone has to be confined in a particular room, and half of our sweet babies are miserable. I know it takes time, but in 6 weeks, it's not gotten the slightest bit better with these two girls.

I can't envision how it will, if the timid one continues to live in hiding. If so, this is normal kitten behavior which will calm down over the next few months.

I have had my dog for 9 years and just introduced a kitty to the house about 4 months ago... they are not afraid of each other all... but my cat likes to jump on the dogs back and “see how long he can ride” or bites at her tail and hind legs. I THINK my kitty is just trying to be playful, but doesn't realize it hurts the dogs tail when biting and such...

I also don't want the dog to someday get fed up and hurt my kitty. Now (yes I realize it hasn't been long) the cat walks up to our dog and attacks her.

Today my dog was just looking at her curiously trying to figure this out and the cat walks up to her hisses and attacks her stomach. I don't know what to do I know it hasn't been long and these things take time but I don't want my dog getting hurt.

We had seven indoor cats that all happily lived together, In August 2016 our eldest cat Morgan sadly had to be put to sleep, Morgan was A beautiful big black and white tom cat., very placid who kept the peace. A few weeks later Chrystal decided she was boss and started to attack the other cats especially Sophie our tiny two tear old Selkirk Rexes.

How can I stop her brother from terrorizing her and making her so scared of everything? Charlie is a 15lb black cat and Maggie is a much smaller (and older) tabby.

Charlie has bullied Maggie and tried to dominate her since he was a kitten, even after he got neutered. He'll lay in the middle of the kitchen floor or the middle of the hallway or right in front of the bathroom door and attack their feet as they walk past.

He's as sweet as the day is long to me, but he's an asshole to my kids, and I won't stand for it. I get that he's territorial, and I get that my kids are like constant strangers to him.

I've tried the squirt bottle and grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and giving him a firm “no,” but I'm also at work 8 hours a day, and so when I'm gone he does whatever he wants. I'm getting exhausted of my kids being afraid of him, and I need to break him of this behavior.

Someone is peeing on my furniture (including bare wood) and pooping on my ceramic tile. The sad thing is, I've not been able to keep up with their vet appointment for the last two years due to financial strains.

I have had the totem pole rearranged several times as each pet passes away. Maybe he is just pouting because you are busy but don't forget that behavior change can also signal illness.

I love how cats, even though they are small compared to most dogs, can really hold their own---especially if they have claws. L.C., my male cat came into the fold about 8 months after I adopted my two (sisters) girl rescues.

That may be because I'm not working (freelance) steadily and don't have as much time to socialize. One day my cat laid on her back and put her claws though the dog's eyelid.

I have also noticed that cat's personalities change over time so even if they don't get along when they are younger, they sometimes mellow out when they are older (or vice versa). These are all great suggestions, and I was interested in this hub because I have a 4-cat household that is fairly harmonious.

Much like people, different cats have different kinds of temperaments and personalities. However, the issue of one cat bullying another can come into play in a multi-cat or multi-pet household as well.

Cats who haven’t been fixed often have raging hormones, which often causes their bad behavior. Each feline should have a space that is their own, with their own separate clean food, water and litter box.

Provide them with opportunities to be away from one another by giving them a cat tree and cleared out bookshelves and boxes that they can both play in and feel safe in. Positive reinforcement is always a great way to promote good behavior.

Also, avoid using punishment for negative behavior, as it only makes it worse. She was previously an editor at Buzz net and lives and breathes entertainment.

When she's not writing, you can catch her sitting in the middle of a dark theater catching the latest flick, whipping up tasty treats or snuggling with her pug, Romeo. I’ll start by placing the cat in a separate room and proceed with a gradual introduction.

When I first fully integrated Zorro with the rest of the cats, for example, it seemed that he was unsure of his place among the others. He’d bully Jamie Bluebell (the only girl of the six cats) and continually chase her into my office, her safe zone.

It never turned into an all-out cat fight, but she was clearly stressed and felt most secure in the office, especially if I was there. Their interaction slowly morphed from a slightly aggressive bullying dynamic to almost a flirting tease with an occasional bop in the face.

At this point, Jamie often initiates the teasing, bopping Zorro in the face and running away. When Zorro was in the habit of chasing Jamie Bluebell, and when she seemed to be stressed by this, she gravitated to my office, where I spent a lot of time.

Krieger also suggests noting if there is a pattern to when or where bullying or aggression occurs and working around that. If the bullying behavior is more severe, Krieger suggests the cats might have to be slowly reintroduced, as if they were being introduced.

The cat parent’s lack of awareness regarding subtle signs of conflict Even though cats are social animals, it’s their nature to hunt alone.

The social interaction between your cats goes smoothly when everyone feels they don’t have to compete for food, safe places to eliminate and safe napping areas. In many households though, I see cats put in an environment where there’s ongoing competition for resources and not enough personal space.

The tension and conflict between the cats may be subtle enough that the cat parents don’t even notice, or they misinterpret it until the situation gets to the point where one cat starts spending more time alone or all-out war is declared with fur flying and banshee screams. In the videos, the felines face away, and their owners secretly place a cucumber behind them.

When the cats turn around, they are startled by the fruit that wasn’t there beforehand, often leaping back. “ Cats are genetically hard-wired through instinct to avoid snakes,” Con Slobodchikoff, animal behaviorist and author of Chasing Doctor Doolittle: Learning the Language of Animals, told ABC News.

Jill Goldman, a certified animal behaviorist in southern California, explains that the cucumbers are triggering the cats natural startle responses. Although the videos showing cats afraid of cucumbers and other fruits are entertaining, experts advise against trying any similar pranks at home with your pet; doing so isn’t good for their health.

National Geographic reports trying to do so could cause cats to injure themselves, break something, or lead to prolonged stress.

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