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How can you tell......?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have 2 male cats, how can you tell which is the dominant one? One never seems are more "in control" than the other (sometimes one seems dominant, other times the other seems dominant). We feed them out of 2 different bowls at the same time, so I can't tell that way. Can someone tell me some other ways to determine this? I was just curious....
post #2 of 5
Did you get them at the same time? are they the same age? there might not be a clear dominant one if they both came to your house at the same time or they might just be too good of buddies to worry about the dominence thing. The way I can usually tell (especially in dogs) is the door trick. Open a door to your room baack porch or somewhere they want to go behind closed doors and see who pushes through first that is usually the donimant one
post #3 of 5
Some researchers of cat behavior believe that cats show what is known as "relative dominance," i.e. the order of dominance among a group of cats can change depending on the situation, the location, the time of day, etc.

For instance, you can have a cat who is dominant at feeding time first thing in the morning, then retires for a nap or whatever, allowing a second cat to be the dominant one for playtime or feeding. Cats who are lower on the totem pole will sometimes stake a claim to a particular chair and behave dominantly toward other cats who want to sit in the chair. Or one cat might dominate a windowsill during the morning when it's sunny, and a different cat might dominate the same location later in the day.

IME, the one who most often demands to be fed first is the one who's the most dominant overall. The pecking order isn't always clearcut, however. I personally think one of the alluring things about cats is that they don't fit nearly into "cat"egories.
post #4 of 5
How to tell which cat is dominant:

Sinéad: In terms of hierarchy, there are a few ways you can tell who is the dominant cat in a territory--whether that territory is a bed, a room, or a whole yard.

Siouxsie: A dominant cat will walk through the middle of an area, while a lower-ranking cat or a cat in someone else's territory will walk around the edges of a room. Usually the cat walking around the edges of the room tends to skulk, or move very quietly, especially if the dominant cat is in the room at the same time.

Sinéad: A dominant cat will easily get another cat to move from the perch that cat wants. So if one kitty is sitting on top of the cat tree and a higher-ranking cat comes along, the lower-ranking cat will either move as soon as the higher-ranking cat shows an interest in his seat or will wait until the higher-ranking cat stares him down or gives him a swat with the front paw.

Siouxsie: Dominant cats will tend to sit in physically higher locations. For example, I'm Top Cat in my house, and my favorite perch is on top of the kitchen cabinets, where I can survey my whole domain. If I want to share Mama's bed with Sinéad and Thomas, I will sit on the pillows so I'm a little bit higher up than the others.

Sinéad: Dominant cats will eat from other cats' dishes if they finish their meals first. This can be a problem if your dominant cat is on a diet because he or she is overweight.

Siouxsie: We dominant cats don't always have to growl and fight to assert our dominance, either. Stare-downs can be quite effective, and they're so subtle that humans generally don't notice them. The cat who blinks or averts his gaze first has lost the stare-down.

Sinéad: Dominant cats also make sure their scent is well distributed. If a lower-ranking cat rubs his scent in an area, the dominant cat will come along and mark that same spot with her scent. That's also why your cat friends may rub their heads on you after you've come back from visiting another cat's house.
Excerpted from this article: http://www.paws-and-effect.com/pawsandeffect73.html
post #5 of 5
I've often wondered that myself. Zakk is more dominant when it comes to eating then Rocky. He has to eat first and will eat out both bowls. Rocky eats after. Rocky is more demanding of attention.. He will also start most play fights, and zakk ends up on his back batting him off, until he's had enough. If Rocky wants to sit somewhere, Zakk will often leave. Maybe he feels its not worth the trouble. Rocky is about 3 pounds heavier, but is sick occ.... Hmmm. So far with the kittens Suzie is submissive to Rocky, and he likes her and grooms her. Jelly isn't staying, but sometimes I think he is testing dominance. Zakk doesn't like to visit too often, but doesn't put up with them bugging him.
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