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Help with a possessive/jealous cat

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My husband and I have two cats, one is a big, long-hair grey and white tuxedo manx boy (James), and the other is a flame point siamese boy (Toby). Both are neutered are 5 & 3 years old respectively, and have been living together for about 2 years now. James HATED Toby when we first brought him home, but after the initial few weeks seemed to tolerate him fine and we even see them sleeping together occasionally. They've never been "best buds", but as long as James isn't challenged as the alpha cat he usually wasn't overtly aggressive, just kinda big brother-ish. If Toby crawled into a box, James would hop up onto the lid and lay there with a big grin because he knew he had Toby trapped, or if he was sitting on a shelf and Toby was on the shelf underneath he'd bat at Toby until Toby moved to a different spot out of reach.

Lately though, it seems like James has gotten worse. Toby's always been a little bit of a cautious cat, and seems to loves attention but doesn't really like being held or will let you pet him for a minute before walking "just" out of reach and sitting down again. James has always been more of my cat, but over the last few months it seems like he's gotten to the point where he can't stand Toby getting any attention from me, even if I'm already petting/holding James. When I'm paying attention to James, if Toby walks by James will just glare at Toby. If James sees me petting or holding Toby, James will wait for me to put him down before chasing Toby across the house. When they "play fight", it seems like Toby's really getting the raw end of the deal and will sometimes will end up cowering behind my husband by the end. This morning James actually cornered Toby and swatted/bit him pretty aggressively when he tried to get around James to escape.

It seems like this behavior's gotten to the point where Toby is actually afraid of coming near me and has made him even more skittish lately. Whats the best way to get James to back off and share? My husband has suggested that we need another cat that either will take the alpha spot or will be a friend for Toby so he has some backup, but I think he's just using that as an excuse to get another cat :P Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 3
When was their last visit to the vet? Health issues trigger aggressiveness in cats.
On the other hand, you could be without meaning to, encouraging the bullying. Have you tried giving James a time-out when he misbehaves? Or praise him when he is being good to Toby? My Buddy and RB Wawa disliked each other from the start. I used to isolate the aggressor with a reprimand (NO/ hiss). After a while just a NO or a hiss would be enough to prevent violence.
You can also use Feliway/Rescue Remedy to help calm your boys.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
They both were at the vet's about 6 months ago and got a clean bill of health other than being on the heavy side. We've been cutting back on their food as a result and trying to play with them more to get them more active (which Toby loves, but James mostly ignores). I guess he could be grumpy due to the lower food amounts, but this is happening outside of feeding times.

I tell James NO when I see it, and my husband gave James a timeout when he caught him cornering Toby. James was being nice this morning by bathing Toby while on the bed (much to Toby's annoyance), but right after I praised him for it he switched from licking Toby to biting him on the head... Doh! I kicked him off the bed for that one.

We do use Feliway and I just realized today that our diffuser is sucking fumes, so that could be contributing to the issue. I'll pick up a refill today and cross my fingers that it helps fix it...
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