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Dominance/bully problem?!?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I posted yesterday about my 7 yr old female, Socks, going to the bathroom in my room and on my bed. Well, I talked to the vet today, and she seems to think its more of a behavioral problem than a medical one - the doc thinks our younger (2 yr old) male, Pippin, has been bullying her so much that she is afraid to leave my room. This is where she retreats whenever the males (both of them) chase her - the younger one does this much more, the older one (Muffin, about 8 years) doesn't do it often. All of them have been fixed.

Socks has always been very skittish and nervous. Loud noises send her running (wont even stop to see what it is). My family rarely sees her outside of my room. She waits until night time to go downstairs to eat when they are fed in the afternoon, and will usually run if she hears someone come in the room. Just as a few examples. But we've never had the pee/poop problem before. I'm just afraid this is making her even more anti-social and the stress from Pippin is driving her actions.

Pippin was a feral cat, I took him in after I found him in a parking lot when he was about 2 months old. He ALWAYS starts fights with both cats. I have never seen other 2 begin a fight. I always just thought it was him being a "tough guy" outdoor gone indoor cat - always stalking and pouncing on the other 2. The older male fights back and I THINK is the alpha of the household (I often see Pippin roll onto his back while fighting while Muffin sits or stands a few inches away ready to swipe back if necessary - I've read a bit about this position being submissive). I have been reading about about dominance and hierarchys here, and was wondering if Pippin is still trying to make a bid for his dominance by always initiating fights the other 2 cats. Is he being extra rough on Socks because of this and because she won't fight bacK? Does his being feral possibly have anything to do with this?

I was just also wondering what others in my situation have done about this - I am currently setting up a litterbox in my room to see if she will use that and NOT my blankets! And advice would be GREATLY appreciated (especially by Socks!) Sorry this is so long!!
post #2 of 2
Set up three litter pans, not one, and not two. If you have to slide a few under the bed. You want to put them someplace where she feels safe, where if she is ambushed, she can get out quickly.

Sounds like Pippin was the alpha outside and that is hard to diminish in a feral cat. The rolling over can either be a act of submission or an act of war. A cat on his back has all weapons up and ready- claws and teeth and this is how they fight among each other. The tip off is the tail and the ears and their position. Tail tucked between their legs they are protecting their vulnerable parts and ready for war, ears flat- its war.

I would screen off the room that Socks is in. That will protect her and not make her feel isolated. I would feed near the door, one cat on one side the other cat on the other side. Sprinkle a tiny bit and I mean a tiny bit of catnip at the doorway first- sometimes the catnip will make ferals aggressive, sometimes they just become playful and loving. It depends on the cat.

I would invest in several comfort zone room diffusers and burn one in the room where Socks is and one out in the main house.

I would make sure that Pippin is fed (his bowl put down first) that he is greeted first, that he is played with in another room first. By feeding first, I mean put his bowl down, let him take two bites then feed the other cats.

Good luck, and it just takes time-
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