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Another bullying problem - need help!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
We have four indoor cats in a huge apartment with access to a huge (fenced-in balcony). All are spayed/neutered, two are female, two male. There are no problems with the females, but in the last month or so, our youngest cat Jeffrey (18 months, rescued of the streets) has started bullying George (v docile 10-year-old). It used to be the other way round when Jeffrey was smaller. George would jump on him and scare him half to death. Now Jeffrey is bigger and the tables are turning. I guess he is trying to establish his alpha status now (?)

Anyway, a few weeks ago they had a big fight which resulted in George getting a massive abcess on his face, which had to be drained by the vet. SInce then, he has been spending a lot of time hiding away in a box in a cupboard. He does come out sometimes, but quite often Jeffrey will come and start yowling at him if he does this. George growls back, but then usually retreats to his box.

So the question is, how do we persuade George to spend less time in his box? I thought about closing the cupboard door and not letting him in there, but that seems cruel if he feels safe there. Should we try to reintroduce them, or should we just let them sort it out for themselves? The vet said that when they have their altercations to give the attention to Jeffrey, reinforcing his status as the alpha cat, and ignore George, thereby acknowledging him as the weaker one. This makes sense, but seems so sad!!!!

George is eating fine, and comes for a small walk with me every evening (no other cats allowed!) and purrs his head off. He seems okay, but surely he must be depressed? Quite often now he doesn't cover up after he has used the litter tray - I think he is in a hurry to get off in case Jeffrey comes to ambush him.

Does anyone have any ideas how we can boost George's confidence and at least try to get him out of the box, as well as to make him and Jeffrey get along a little better???
post #2 of 4
I have a very similar issue, four cats - small space - two competing boy kits - lol - so I subscribed to your post to see what people said to you too... , so here's the advice I can derive that might assist you from my own posting.

It sounds like your Jeffrey needs some kitty Paxil - - perhaps putting something like Rescure Remedy - a natural herbal extract that has proven to calm animals - into his water - will bring the energy level down a little bit. I'm sorry to say, I'm not sure about the effects on an already sedate cat, from what I understand so far it only has a needed affect and is otherwise harmless. Other calming things are diffusers that imitate their happy pheremones.

I feel that perhaps if the new guy was a little less dominant, the poor George will venture out again.

post #3 of 4
I have three cats and my two females don't get along so well. In the end Jermima (the new adult arrival) was so scared of Katie that she wouldn't even go to the litter tray, so we had no option but to try reintroduction. I have tried Rescue Remedy and Feriway as well but with limited results. Anyway, we separated the cats and they only saw each other at mealtimes, when I fed them about a foot apart. Then we would separate them again. After doing this for three weeks, we have now started a slow introduction process. First we put Katie on a cat harness and let Jermima walk around freely to give her confidence - but that seemed to only upset Katie, and it was hardly a positive experience for her. So now we have started to play with Katie during the introduction time. I sit with Mima while my husband throws balls around for Katie, and after about half an hour she is so exhausted she flops in the chair next to Mima and goes to sleep. Last night was the first time Mima was able to walk past Katie without being chased. I was thrilled! We limit the time to around 1-2 hours, and then separate them again, but I hope to increase the time in the future. I have found that by separating them and then giving the "victim" plenty of time to play in the rest of the house without the other cat present also helps alot to build confidence. Good luck!
post #4 of 4
Sally Meyers gave the exact advice I would give....I think the two cats need to have a period of time in which they are separated and then once George feels more confident and comfortable being out and about, you can begin a gradual re-introduction.

Good luck!!!
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