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Selfish Cat?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I believe that animals can express pain, depression, joy, and even jealousy, but is it possible for animals to be selfish? just like people can?

The reason I am asking this (and the following question) is that my cat Lily will often throw her body over a little cat scratcher in their outdoor cat pen. Whenever Autumn ventures nearby, she gets whacked in the face by Lily. Lily also has a habit of seeking Autumn out for a grooming session. She will put her head down, lay her ears flat, and shut her eyes. Autumn happily obliges until Lily gets licked in the "wrong" spots. Then Lily will start to bite Autumn (Lily bites at people too when they rub her near her shoulders. Her skin flinches alot and I believe she has very very sensitive skin and that is why she is so snappy when touched by humans or licked by Autumn). Sometimes Autumn will put her head down and shut her eyes, waiting for Lily to return the grooming favor. Lily NEVER does!! She takes all of Autumn's affections and gives none in return. Will this damage Autumn's psyche? Will Autumn get "hurt" that Lily isn't grooming her? or that Lily winds up biting at her? Lily is almost like a petulant child. She really is a very intelligent cat and does seem to exhibit very selfish behaviors. Am I nuts to think so?
post #2 of 5
Alot of cats do what Lily does to Autumn. I do believe that it is selfish of her but then when you think about it I don't think it will harm Autumn not being licked. Lily is probably spoiled and wants everything to be her way. How old are they both?
post #3 of 5
catlover...most pairs develop one cat that is alpha. Lily is probably the alpha cat. I have a brother sister bonded pair and I make sure that there are at least 4 scratching posts....the reason is because Tigger will try to dominate them...and I have found that if I only have 2 he will claim both...but 4 seems to work and allows Habenaro (my female) a chance to enjoy her own scratching posts. Also...it is not usual for one cat to display affection and then start to bite the other cat (again...alpha behavior)...if you see Lily starting to do this...you could throw a dark towel over them to split them up. I will again use my cats as an example...Tigger will nicely lick Habenaro for a while..but then he'll grab her neck....at this point Habenaro will use her feet to kick him off and they run away. If Tigger chases her and I think that he is being a bit rough...I will distract Tigger with a feather toy (this always works). This allows Habenaro a "reprieve" from her brother. Again...what you are describing is very typical in my household...my 2 cats love each other...but they are still cats and ultimately...one wants to be the alpha.

post #4 of 5
She is not being selfish, she is being territorial.It is her scent on that post, therefore it is hers. She is protecting it from the others, for as they scratch on it, her scent will recede.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Also...it is not usual for one cat to display affection and then start to bite the other cat (again...alpha behavior)...if you see Lily starting to do this
That's just it though. Lily ISN'T affectionate at all with Autumn. She has NEVER groomed Autumn. She will solicit grooming FROM Autumn and then turn on her. Also as to the alpha role I am a little confused. Lily seems to be alpha, but then again, Autumn always stands up to her and will chase her off my bed sometimes. It just seems like Lily only takes takes and takes from other cats and people too. She rarely exhibits affection with me either. Only when she is outside or wants food or catnip (maybe she IS spoiled!)

Thanks for the replies. I guess cats CAN be "selfish" in their own feline way. Lily is a taker not a giver. I just hope Autumn doesn't become that way too.
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