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Problems with dominant cat being a bully.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Like many people out there, we have a multi-cat household.

We bought 2 cats at the same time and brought them home from the humane society at the same time. There was no territory to defend as both came home at the same time.

My girlfriend picked Cupid and I picked Charm. Charm is 8 months old and Cupid is 7 months old.

Based on Cupid's behaviour, we pretty much feel that he is the dominant cat, but sometimes he goes too far.

I know that we are not supposed to interveen when it comes to which one is the dominant cat, but I feel bad for Charm, and she looks quite unhappy.

Sometimes they play together or sleep next to each other, but whenever Charm has a toy, Cupid comes by and steals it from her. Whenever she is being pet he will come and wedge himself between her and I. When she eats, she looks up every few bites to see if he is coming. IF she finds a quiet spot to sleep, he'll go and bug her until she leaves and then he sleeps there. Cupid also walks by sometimes and without provocation will just smack her.

Now granted my emotional strings may be pulled a bit her, as I picked Charm and she's my baby.

But I also know that when Cupid went to get neuteured, she was sooo much happier. She was affectionate, she slept with up, she had energy. To me, it's like that's the real her, the cat she wants to be, but Cupid won't let her.

In fact, it's almost like Cupid getting neutered made things worst. Since he got neuteured, he's been climbing up on the table, counters, and has been more of a bully with her since the operation.

She was also fixed about a month back (vet couldn't do them both on the same day because she was on meds).

I know not to interveen in domanance issues, and I don't want to have to seperate them because often they behave, but I also want Charm to be happy.

Any advice?
post #2 of 6
I would turn to Nature to help out here and I would turn to the Bach Remedies. Investigate either Beech, Impatience, or Vine and start putting some either on the tongue or in the food (canned) of Cupid to see if it mellows him out.
You can find these essences on Organix.com

He will still be a bit full of testosterone for a few more months, as he has some still stored up inside and it takes awhile to dissapate.

I would feed Charm in a separate room, but let Cupid have his food bowl first. Play with both of them separately with undivided attention for about 15 minutes a day and invest in a Feliway Room Diffuser Comfort Zone plug in and put it in your main room. If you don't have a nice tall cat condo, invest in one of those as well-
post #3 of 6
I actually want to know too. Willow is a 2 year old, and we got Buffy when she was 4 weeks old, and Willow became the mother for her that buffy lost (she was orphaned at 4 weeks). Buffy is now 10 months old and was spayed about a month ago, and ever since she was spayed, she won't leave Willow alone. Mostly it happens at night, but Buffy will suddenly leap onto Willow, trying to get her to play. Willow will kick her off and resume whatever she was doing. Buffy will leap on her again, and they start rolling, Willow trying to get Buffy off, and Buffy trying to stay on. Willow eventually wins (either by herself, or someone else clapping their hands and sending them both running), but Buffy is soon back and on her back again. It gets really sad when Willow is walking away, and suddenly falls over onto her side in the middle of the hardwood floor, exhausted. Naturally, here comes Buffy again. Then Willow starts to panick and runs around the house, Buffy hot on her heels. When she realizes that Buffy can't be shaken loose, she comes back to the original room and lets Buffy attack her. Eventually, her maternal instinct takes over, and she tries to disclipline Buffy. It doesn't work. Willow will think she's won, but Buffy is quietly creeping up behind her, and you know the rest...

Soon, Willow is just sitting there in the middle of the rug, her eyes closed. She's exhausted, and just wants some rest, but alas! Here comes Buffy...
post #4 of 6
My guess is that part of it is Cupid's age: 7 months is the start of the period where they try to exert their dominance but are not mature enough to pull it off successfully. I call this their bully age.

My Koko (a female) at about 8 months old started in on Little Oscar (3 months younger and the only cat in the house that is smaller than she). She would stalk him and smack him whenever she saw him. Oscar would cower and run away every time they were in a room together. Since Oscar is not only tiny but a bit skittish to start with, Koko was forcing him to hide more often than not. I was losing the socialization battle with Oscar and that was not acceptable to me.

In this case I decided to intervene on Oscar's behalf. Each time that Koko got into that crouch position towards Oscar, I distracted her. If she was beyond crouch into attack, I would intercede, pick her up and give her a big no. On the flip side, I encouraged Oscar to come out whenever I was in a room to watch him and gave him some confidence that he wouldn't be attacked. I would also reward Koko when she was with Oscar and not attacking him.

One month later: Oscar comes out in the open and really plays for the first time. Koko and Oscar eat out of food bowls side by side. Oscar still cowers with Koko around, but no longer flees the room. We have more to go, but have come a long way.

Normally, I won't interfere with a dominance issue. But if done by a young cat (who hasn't yet earned the right to be dominant), or if it gets bloody, I do step in and help settle it.
post #5 of 6
My Peaches used to be a big bully. She's mellowed out a bit the longer the other cats are with us. She was just out and out nasty to the other cats. I started putting her in "time out" I know it sounds funny but it works! When she would start picking on the others, I'd put her in a room by herself. Of course there would be a litter box and water in there. But she'd be by herself and ignored and she absolutely hated that! I don't think cat's have a long attention span or short term memory (from what I've read) so I never kept her in there too long. Just long enough for her to get the message. Maybe 30 minutes or so. Good luck with your little bully! I know what it's like and how frustrating it is!
post #6 of 6
Originally posted by mzjazz2u
I started putting her in "time out" I know it sounds funny but it works!
By distracting Koko or picking her up and away from Oscar, she is getting my version of the "time-out". I totally agree, time-outs are good tools to use with cats. But you need to use them consistently and at the time the bad behavior occurs.
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