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How do you tell if your cat is an alpha?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I wanna know how can you tell if your cat is an alpha dominant.
I am considering adding another bundle of fluff to the house in the future and I wanna know if there are ways to know ahead of time if your cat is an alpha. Layla's been an only child for about a year so Im wondering if maybe she already thinks she's an alpha.
post #2 of 13
I live in a multi cat household so I'm not one to recognize alpha in only child households. My alpha cats tend to be more demanding of their humans than the non-alphas. It's an attitude they have where they simply demand things as if they were their natural born rights.

Alpha tendencies are a lot more visable when you have more than one cat. If you want Layla to be the alpha, find a cat that isn't outwardly assertive or demanding.

If Layla is a tri-color (torbie or calico), I personally think she will have alpha tendencies, and if not that, will have tortitude.
post #3 of 13
Cats don't strictly have alphas, it's more a matter of who was there first, who's getting old and starting to look like prey, and who's just assertive enough to get away with it. They're not wolves, and go through stages at different times of life, depending on the other cats in the home, of being bossed-around babies, hot-shot young guys (guys for the sake of argument), respected grown-ups, and older statesmen who have to start looking out for the younger ones.
post #4 of 13
Ah, "tortitude." I LOVE that one...

Pixel, at age 7, is a tortoise-tabby, red. And two brother-kittens who are now six months old. Peeka, and Boo.

Peeka, has always appeared to me to be the alpha, at least of the two brothers...He will wake me in the morning, let me know when it's feeding time, and look at me funny if I don't fed him first. Wherever I am, he is. Almost all the time.

However, Boo goes for the top spot on the cat tree I made, always.

Boo and Pixel get along better than Peeka and Pixel.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well ,I don't want Layla to be an alpha.
I wanted to know if there were ways to find out before bringing in another cat. I don't want Layla to be very unhappy and become horribly destructive. I figure if I know ahead of time then perhaps I save both the newbie cat and Layla from dissater. I mean Im not gonna toss the newbie in the same room w/Layla I just wanna make sure that Layla can still learn to tolerate cats after speninding nearly a year just being the only one.
post #6 of 13
Is Layla about a year old? Or just that's she been alone with you for a year? If she's a couple years old or younger, chances are she'll adjust just fine to an addition. Of course it will take some time, but then I bet she'll enjoy the company.

Lilly was a little over a year old when I got Leo. The alpha cat really depends on the situation at my house; they each have their areas and situations where they insist on being the top cat!
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larke View Post
Cats don't strictly have alphas, it's more a matter of who was there first, who's getting old and starting to look like prey, and who's just assertive enough to get away with it. They're not wolves, and go through stages at different times of life, depending on the other cats in the home, of being bossed-around babies, hot-shot young guys (guys for the sake of argument), respected grown-ups, and older statesmen who have to start looking out for the younger ones.
domestic cats don't have a rigid linear hierarchy like many species of animal. It's perfectly normal for one cat to be dominant in one situation then submissive to the same cat in another. When cats are neutered and resources are not in limited supply there is no need for a dominance hierarchy. Of course some individuals are dominant individuals and may assert themselves at every opportunity, but not every group of cats will have an obvious alpha. Between Jaffa and Magpie I couldn't have told you who was most dominant as it would depend on the situation. Jaffa is slightly dominant to Mosi as he's a bit bigger and older, but Mosi is catching him up in size and has a dominant personality so he may become more assertive as he gets older.
post #8 of 13
We have a 3 year old tortie, who is a diva and spoiled and sweet. We got a kitten this summer so she wouldn't be so lonely when I had to travel (I'm usually home a lot). I TRIED to look for a meek male (observing him in a crowd of kittens), and that's what I thought I got. Well... Harry the orange tabby sees himself as KING and our beloved Isabelle the tortie as a punching bag. He enthusiastically stalks her and knocks her over and bites, bites, BITES her every second they're together. I kept them seperate for almost two straight months, they could sniff each other under the closed door. Both got lots of TLC and love - it was much like having a newborn - I couldn't work, it was crazy! But as soothing and casual as I tried to make their introduction, Harry jumped on Izzy and bit her butt and her neck (and everything in between) as she screamed and ran, with him attached and me chasing him. Thus it has been for every single day for 6 weeks. He's been neutered. Didn't phase him. I'm forced to let her out for a short period every morning and night JUST to give her some peace. He must sleep in the guest bedroom and she sleeps on our bed, purring and snuggling (and beggining us to dump him, I think). When he went to be 'fixed' last week she was in 7th heaven - her old self, happy and funny and playful. When I brought him back she was so disappointed!
More than you wanted to hear, and probably less than you wanted to know, but our dilemma is that we LOVE him, too, and he's a DOLL to us, although we try not to be too affectionate in front of Isabelle (who was found hiding in the upper kitchen cabinet this morning trying to stay away from Harry...). GOOD LUCK
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey View Post
More than you wanted to hear, and probably less than you wanted to know, but our dilemma is that we LOVE him, too, and he's a DOLL to us, although we try not to be too affectionate in front of Isabelle (who was found hiding in the upper kitchen cabinet this morning trying to stay away from Harry...). GOOD LUCK
part of the problem here may be that he is still a kitten - they have BOUNDLESS energy & can really annoy an adult cat.
i got Cable when Pixel & Mouse were 7. Mouse was 'alpha', but passed about 2 months later. it took Cable a while, but she eventually became the 'alpha' in our house. Java had no problem with that when she joined us later, even tho she is a calico - she seems to be the exception to the 'tortitude' rule! Chip seems to be trying to replace Pixel as 2nd cat right now, but she's having none of it.
Cable & Pixel snuggle together & wash each other. other than that, they're all relatively friendly except for Cable & Chip - but that's mostly because she feels it necessary to remind him several times a day of her status [of course, this may be because she's half his size]. but they don't fight - she just hisses at him & bats a paw.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by XangelicxnekoX View Post
I wanna know how can you tell if your cat is an alpha dominant.
I am considering adding another bundle of fluff to the house in the future and I wanna know if there are ways to know ahead of time if your cat is an alpha. Layla's been an only child for about a year so Im wondering if maybe she already thinks she's an alpha.
You are an alpha cat if you have between 300 and 699 posts to TCS.

Sorry for that one, but I could not resist. The devil made me do it.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Very funny Persi

Thanks guys for your helpful info and interesting stories of kittie bites.
Layla is gonna be 2 in Feb. and I currently Im reading Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett to get more indept info.
I am hoping to get a cat thats 6 mons and over but not one older than Layla.
post #12 of 13
It may not be grammarly correct, but I think of Buffy as an Alpha. She wasn't here first (Willow was), and Willow was her surrogate mother (Buffy was orphaned at 4 weeks and Willow took her under her wing). But Buffy's definitely the most assertive; Willow gets some respect (in the fact that she doesn't get whipped to kingdom come when she's in Buffy's path, lol). Buffy will just stare her down and move around her, but if Willow does something that ticks Buffy off, she'll get smacked. And when Molly arrived, Buffy understandably lost her marbles: for nearly a year, Molly couldn't be in the same room with Buffy without getting hit (a good day would mean she only got hissed at, enforced with a lunge from Buffy). Finally Buffy's accepting Molly, she'll touch noses with her without growling and then go on her way. I guess she finally noticed Molly cowers and looks like she wishes she were invisible whenever Buffy's in sight, lol

But I guess it could fall under the idea that she's simply dominant and assertive and knows she'll get away with it. Both Willow and Molly are submissive, so basically nobody fights back, lol
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
If Layla is a tri-color (torbie or calico), I personally think she will have alpha tendencies, and if not that, will have tortitude.
I second that .... I've had two torities in my life and both definitely have tortitude.

My current tortie (about 8 lbs) stalked a 35 - 40 lb stray dog that I brought into the house. The dog was so scared of her that he jumped on the couch into my lap, all the time looking nervously at the tortie as she came directly for him with that "look" in her eyes that definitely meant trouble!

I've never seen a dog cower like that towards a tiny kitty cat

One of the reasons I'm worried about bringing the other four cats of my mom into the fold ... right now one is being fostered by a friend and the other three are in a couple of separate bedrooms.

Three of the other four cats are definitely meek and mild ... however the cross-eyed Siamese blue point is an alpha too.

That is the confrontation that I'm worried about!
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