I have rescued and fostered many pets over the years. Keeping my pets healthy and happy is my number one priority.
How to Deal With Bully Cats and Aggressive Behavior
For those who are casual cat fans and not multiple-cat owners, you may not realize that there is a hierarchy of order within any group of cats. Each cat has a role within the cat family and within a given place.
Bullying often occurs when adding a second cat to the home. When a new animal, most notably another cat, is introduced into a household, it turns this hierarchy upside down and creates chaos while everyone reestablishes their place. Sometimes, within that situation, one of the cats becomes a bully and the other the target. The most common bullying scenarios include:
- A new cat attacking another cat
- An adult cat bullying a kitten
- A kitten bullying an adult cat
- A cat bullying a dog or puppy
- Multiple cats in the household bullying one cat
- An outdoor or stray cat bullying a household cat
There are some ways to both help the cat (or dog) being bullied and to redirect the bully cat. Below, we'll address each of these scenarios, analyze the situation, and look at ways to correct the problem. In addition, we'll address how to determine if your cats are playing or fighting, how to break up a cat fight, why it is important to spay and neuter, and how to deal with stray and feral cats.
Video: The Things Cats Do
How to Stop Cat-To-Cat Aggression
I encourage you to watch the Simon's Cat video (above), as many of the problems that occur when a new cat is introduced into the home are depicted. Some of the behaviors you are observing as abnormal may actually be quite normal.
Say a new kitten is being introduced to the home. Immediately, the established cat begins hissing. He feels that he is now in competition with this new cat for:
- The litter box
Introducing a New Cat to the Home
There are ways to help minimize a cat's stress when a new cat is introduced into the home. If you help to ease the transition, you also reduce the need for either the established cat or the new cat to feel the need to bully.
Territory: Introduce Your Cats Slowly
Introduce the new cat slowly. When you first bring the new cat home, keep him or her in a separate room away from the other pets in the house. If possible, allow them to interact under a door (let them hiss, fight, and stick their paws out if they must).
- Use a Carrier: Bring the new cat out into the home in a cat carrier. Allow the other pets to sniff, interact, and even hiss. This is all part of their introduction.
- Supervise: Allow the other cat out into the house for short periods of time while you supervise. Be ready to separate and move the new cat back to its room if the situation gets too stressful.
Hissing, paw-slapping, and arching of the back are normal behaviors. Establishing a new pecking order takes time—sometimes months. I even once had an older cat that took about a year to acclimate and find his place in the home. The key is to be patient.
Food: Offer Separate Cat Food Bowls
If you think about it, most domesticated pets still have remnants of their feral ancestors. One of the resources that was the hardest to find in the wild was food. Even though the cats in your household get plenty of cat food and water, some of that territorial instinct remains. After all, in the wild, it could mean the difference between life and death.
As cats become acclimated, they may be fine with sharing a food bowl, but until then and even after the new cat is let out into the shared areas in the home, make sure to maintain separate food bowls and keep them in different parts of the house if possible. Also, consider feeding food-driven cats separately (supervise or separate into isolated rooms).
Litter Box: Provide Enough Litter Boxes or Litter Trays
Another important component with helping a new cat to get established and to prevent bullying behavior is to have enough litter boxes. When a cat uses the bathroom, he or she is at its most vulnerable. If the cat feels threatened, he may forgo the litter box and find a "safer" place to do bathroom business.
- One Litter Box per Cat Plus One: I have a cat who likes to take advantage of other cats using the litter box to pick a fight. To help alleviate this problem, I have added more litter boxes in other parts of the house.
- Create a Safe Environment: If you have a cat that is bullying other cats in the litter box and the litter box is covered, consider taking the top off, at least for a while. This allows the dominated cat to feel like he or she can see around and fend off an attack.
- Keep Them Clean: Make sure the litter boxes are cleaned at least daily to encourage use and prevent misuse.
“The rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, plus one extra.”
— Jackson Galaxy, cat whisperer
How to Stop Cats From Fighting
One common myth in the cat world is that cats will "work it out." This is rarely true. Not only will the situation escalate, but your cats or pets are at risk of serious injury. Play it safe, and never use your body to break up a fight.
Methods for Stopping Bullying Behavior in Cats
Consider these alternative methods for preventing cat aggression:
- Do Not Punish: As mentioned, never get physically involved. Cat bites and scratches are serious and require medical attention. Do not use physical punishment. You will damage your relationship with your cat and cause fear; your cat may even begin to redirect on you.
- Use Diversions: If two cats are fighting and you need to break it up, startle them. Try a loud whistle, try throwing a soft towel, use a squirt bottle with water (for emergencies), or use a broom or similar object to separate or startle them without hurting them.
- Verbal Reprimand: Make sure you tell the bully cat "no" in a firm and solid voice when he or she is being dominant. Saying "no" while redirecting the cat will help the cat to learn which behaviors are acceptable and which are not.
- Spray Bottle: A simple spray bottle (like the kind you might use to water houseplants) can be an effective tool against aggressive cat behavior; the water doesn't hurt the cat. Be sure that the cat only gets a squirt of water when it is displaying the unwanted behavior. Couple this with a firm "no."
- Offer a "Safe Space": Consider employing an electronic cat door or cat flap so that the timid cat can occupy a space that is only accessible via an embedded magnet in the collar and seek refuge from the dominant cat.
For your safety and the safety of your pets, never get physically involved while breaking up a fight. Cat bites and scratches require medical attention. Never hit an animal that is misbehaving. The message they get from being hit is that their owner is a bully and is willing to hurt them. This is not a great way to establish a loving pet/owner relationship.
- Don't Change the Environment: Some people think that the social dynamic just needs to be "balanced out." Adding more animals to a hostile environment will only create further stress and dysfunction. It is best to wait for resolution and stability before changing your pets' environment.
- Use Behavior Modification: Cats may not be willing to train like dogs, but their behaviors can certainly be modified. Use cat wands, treats, and the like to distract and create a zone of neutrality—try feeding treats to both cats when they are around each other. Get them to associate something good with their shared space.
- Reduce Stress: Is there stress in your house? Construction next door? Moving? Renovation? Offer your cats a safe place. Stressful noises and events may trigger aggressive or uncharacteristic behavior. Find a quiet room for your cat if your neighbors are making noise next door. Try playing soothing music—there are cat-friendly soundtracks available. Offer secure "hidey" beds and places to seek refuge.
- Pheromones and Calming Aids: Cat pheromones may be purchased commercially. Feliway is one such brand that comes as a spray or wall plug-in and is available for multi-cat households. Some commercial pet stores offer calming, cat-friendly essential oil blends (make sure anything you purchase is cat-safe and veterinarian-approved because some essential oils are toxic). Oral prescriptions (for anxiety or mild sedation) may be beneficial in extreme cases as well. Talk to your veterinarian.
- Behavior Specialists: Consult with a qualified veterinary behaviorist or professional in the field. Often, these professionals can observe triggering issues that aren't obvious to the common cat owner. Sometimes, pain and chronic illness may feed aggressive behavior. A painful cat may feel vulnerable and try to defend itself.
- Rehoming: This is a LAST resort and should be considered if both cats are in immediate danger on a daily basis, and their quality of life is affected. Consider interviewing friends or acquaintances who are looking for an animal companion. If you are without options, consider surrendering your cat to a no-kill shelter. This decision is emotional and extremely difficult, but consider the quality of life and safety of your animals.
Video: How to Keep an Aggressive Cat Away From a Passive Cat
Scenario One: New Cat Attacking Other Cat
As you've read, there are ways to help minimize a cat's stress when adding a new cat to the home. If you help to ease the transition, you are likely to also reduce the need for either to bully.
Why Is My New Cat Attacking My Other Cat?
A confident cat will often go after a passive cat. Let's say you've done a wonderful thing and adopted a second cat, you've taken the time to introduce them slowly, but your new cat continues to go after your current cat aggresively—staring contests, stalking, hissing, growling, scratching, swatting, and blocking.
Have you provided adequate food, litter boxes, territory, and love? Practice patience and employ the above-mentioned techniques. It may take cats anywhere from a few weeks to months and even over a year to finally settle in with one another, depending on the personalities.
Scenario Two: Older Cat Bullying Kitten
So your adult cat is bullying the new kitten. This is a fairly common scenario and not one that can be predicted until the moment of introduction.
Why Is My Older Cat Bullying My Kitten?
Cats don't reach social maturity until 2–4 years of age, so your kitten is a sitting target. A proper introduction is everything, so be diligent, patient, and thorough about introducing your new kitten to your resident cats. Most of all, make sure your kitten has a safe environment to retreat to and a chance to establish itself in the home without the lingering presence of the bully. Supervised interaction is necessary to keep your kitten safe.
Scenario Three: Kitten Bullying Older Cat
Although one would think that an adult cat may be more established and dominant than a new kitten, it is not uncommon for kittens to dominate and bully adult cats. While it is often beneficial to get littermates, this is not always an option. A kitten may arrive in our lives for many reasons—we acquired a stray, felt the desire to adopt—the possibilities are endless.
Why Is My Kitten Bullying My Older Cat?
Although a bully kitten may be small compared to your adult cat, one day the kitten will catch up in size and the bullying behavior and aggression will be even more problematic. The above intervention techniques can be applied, but also consider several tips for adoption success (see below).
How to Choose the Right Cat
Adoption is a wonderful thing. You are saving a life. As a human, imagine randomly being assigned a roommate you've never met—this is exactly what your cat and household pets are experiencing. So, how do you choose the right cat for your household?
Work with adoption specialists to discuss your current cat (or dog's) personality, lifestyle, and traits. An older cat may be better paired with an older dog (and some cats may be labeled "dog-friendly" due to past living situations). A rowdy kitten may pair greatly with an energetic dog, but not do well with a senior cat. Consider your current pets' traits before making a selection based on more superficial characteristics.
Video: Cats Bullying Dogs
Scenario Four: Cat Bullying Dog or Puppy
Despite the old adage that dogs will chase cats, it's often the other way around. While it may make for a funny video, cats bullying dogs and dogs being afraid of cats actually creates a stressful situation for both animals.
Why Is My Cat Bullying My Dog?
The cat is feeling defensive (notice how some of the cats have flattened ears in the video), and the dog is scared and anxious. This is not good for either pet long-term. If you are establishing a dog-to-cat relationship, some of the advice mentioned above applies:
- Introduce them slowly. Allow the established pet to stay in the main part of the home and place the new pet in a closed room or crate. Introduce them slowly and keep the dog on a leash.
- Give them time apart. Give the cat and dog breaks from each other. While they are new, make sure that they sleep apart.
- Make sure to show both pets attention and love. When they are out together, reassure both pets with love, attention, and treats to let them know that you care about them equally.
- Discourage bullying behavior. Try to discourage bullying and domination by either pet. It is not only stressful but can lead to injury.
- Keep your cat's nails trimmed. Unless your cat is getting bullied by your dog and needs its claws for defense, cat claws can hurt, and they are especially dangerous if used near the eyes. Help your bullied dog out and keep those nails short.
Scenario Five: Bullying and Fighting in Multi-Cat Household
As always, multi-cat and multi-pet households make for an interesting dynamic. That's why it's important to socialize your pets and consider new family members that seem capable of handling the current dynamic. When looking to adopt from an animal shelter, consider littermates, bonded pairs, or cats that are housed with other cats, rather than cats that would do better in a single-pet household.
Why Are My Cats Gaining Up on One Cat?
This behavior is also known as inter-cat aggression. Again, ask yourself that important question: Have I provided enough food, litter boxes, territory, and love? Remember to offer one of each resource (cat tree, litter box, food bowl, etc.) per cat plus one extra.
Multi-Pet Households Can Work
The key to having a harmonious, multiple-pet household is patience, love, and a little bit of training. Aggressive cats can learn to stifle their behavior. After the posturing, hissing, and fighting is over, the cat may discover that he or she has a new best friend. Sometimes too, aggressive cats simply need more play or stimulation to extinguish their extra energy.
A bully cat can be a frustrating experience. Keep working with your pet and consult a vet if the behavioral issues are worrisome, a pet gets injured, or the situation does not improve.
Scenario Six: Outdoor Cat or Stray Cat Bullying Resident Cat
Unfortunately, keeping your cats indoor-only is the only way to prevent an altercation with outdoor or stray cats. The terror can still persist through the windows and via scent—stare downs and territorial marking—and even lead to spraying or redirected aggression in the house. Cat flaps and cat doors make this problem ever-more-real, as neighborhood cats entering into a cat owner's home has been well-documented with video footage.
Why Is My Cat Being Bullied by My Neighbor's Cat?
Bullying is, unfortunately, a symptom of the feline world. It's also rooted in survival. Out in the real world (outdoor-cat-life), the stakes are even higher. There is a need for territory, food, and dominance.
First and foremost, if you notice a bully cat lingering near your home and you have indoor-outdoor cats, make sure your cats are properly vaccinated. Bite wounds are the source of several infectious viruses, including FIV, FELV, and the less common but deadly rabies virus.
Try Some Natural Cat Deterrents
Cats are both curious and neophobic—that is, if they come across something new and potentially terrifying, they will avoid it at all costs. If you have an especially aggressive stray cat in the neighborhood, consider natural deterrents:
- Motion-censored spotlights or sprinklers
- Motion-activated noise deterrents (ultrasonic sound)
- Tactile and sensory deterrents (chicken wire laid flat in high-activity areas)
- Human intervention (ask your neighbor to regulate their cat's whereabouts)
Are My Cats Playing or Fighting?
This is a common question asked by cat owners. While mock-fighting is normal and is an important part of the development of any cat (these behaviors include stalking, chasing, and pouncing), it is sometimes difficult to determine whether cats are playing or fighting. In order to make that determination, let's take a look at some important clues:
- Body Language: Take a look at the cats' posture. Upright, forward-pointing ears or ears that are mildly angled back indicate general friendliness or playfulness, whereas flattened ears angled back indicate hostility, irritation, or aggression. Are claws sheathed or unsheathed? Pawing is totally normal so long as the claws aren't out, but watch out for unsheathed claws coupled with a cat that is leaning back and swiping. Also, watch out for hair standing on end (piloerection) and a burled tail—these signs indicate a hostile climate.
- Rules of Fair Play: Do your cats take turns? Starting and stopping play is normal, whereas true hostility climaxes fast and is enduring. Do your cats take turns dominating? Some biting or nibbling is totally normal so long as it is noninjurious, but biting in sensitive areas is off limits.
- Vocalization: Growling and hissing is a solid indication that things aren't friendly. Yelps may also indicate which cat is being attacked. Silence usually means that fair play is commencing.
- The Aftermath: Do your cats avoid each other after an encounter, or are the cuddling, grooming each other, and sharing the same cat food bowl shortly after? Oftentimes, hostility will persist. Play pals will typically return to their usual activities once they have tired.
Cat Communication: What Is Your Cat Saying?
Feline Social Behavior: How Do Cats Communicate?
When you have more than one cat in your house, there is a social structure. Depending on the personality of the cat and the age, the cats may seek each other's company, may ignore each other, may actively dislike each other, or may have a bully/victim relationship.
Cats are solitary creatures by nature and not pack animals, but both feral and domesticated cats have adapted to group-living. Feral colonies, for instance, may form around food sources. These colonies are considered matrilinear and consist of females and kittens, similar to a pride.
According to the International Cat Care charity, cats will generally establish a homing zone as well as hunting territory, which may overlap into neutral grounds upon which social interaction (both positive and negative) may occur. Their social structure can be much more complicated and less reflective of a hierarchy than as seen with dogs. Bonding is often dependent on blood relation between littermates, mothers, and kittens, and male cats tend to be pushed out of colonies once they reach sexual maturity and take to a more solitary life.
Cats Use Scent to Communicate
Cats rely heavily on olfactory communication and mark their territory using scent glands. Scent from urine, feces, and anal glands aid communication; unneutered male cats are notorious for "spraying" a strong, odorous, oily urine to establish territory. Pheromones (chemicals that trigger social responses) are excreted from the mouth, face, lower back, tail, and paws of the cat and are master communicators as well.
Some feline behavior specialists recommend synthetic feline pheromones for use within trouble-prone households, both for highly anxious cats and multi-cat households.
Why You Should Spay or Neuter Your Pet
If there are behavioral or bullying issues between your cats, making sure that they are fixed (spayed, neutered, or sterilized) is the first step in reducing the problem. This not only calms both pets down but is also important as a public service.
According to the ASPCA, 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats) every year because of a lack of homes.
Allowing your pet to reproduce adds to the problem of pet overpopulation. Be a part of the solution. Here are some of the additional benefits of spaying and neutering:
- Diminished marking and spraying of cat urine outside of the litter box and around the house.
- Reduced reproductive behaviors, such as when a female cat goes into heat (yowling, vying for affection, and hyperactivity).
- Removed risk of reproductive cancers—mammary, testicular, uterine.
- Reduced roaming, escaping, and disappearances (related to reproductive behavior).
Frequently Asked Questions: What to Do About Stray or Feral Cats
Stray and feral cats are starkly different. Stray cats have either been lost or abandoned but warm up to social interaction. Feral cats, on the other hand, have not been socialized with humans and are extremely fearful. Their offspring, if not captured and socialized within a given window, will become fearful of humans as well. Stray and feral cats often either free-roam or join an established colony.
Take action accordingly and never handle a fearful cat. On the other hand, if a stray cat is friendly and seemingly healthy, has a collar, or can be scanned for a microchip, consider reuniting the cat with its owner. As for feral cats, refer to your local Trap-Neuter-Release or TNR program.
What Is Trap-Neuter-Release or TNR?
TNR programs offer a nonlethal means to lessen the feral cat population over generations. These organizations work to humanely trap feral cats, neuter them, and release them. Volunteers will then follow up and continue to monitor these feral colonies in order to watch for signs of disease and to remove kittens that may be rehabilitated and adopted out. Here are some of the benefits:
- Vaccinations and herd health management
- Tipping of ears to designate previous spaying and neutering
- A reduction in pet homelessness
- Reduced sexual behaviors (marking, fighting, and foul odor)
- Reduced feral offspring
Video: Hero House Cat Saves Boy From Dog Attack
When Is Bullying Behavior Good?
As odd as it sounds, sometimes, your cat being a bully is exactly what you need. In this case, an aggressive dog meets a bully cat, and the result is wonderful.
This cat saved its four-year-old owner from a dog attack. As the dog pulled the child off his riding toy, the cat bravely chased the dog away. In this case, the best action is rewarding the hero with some treats, a new scratching post with catnip, and lots of pets and snuggles.
This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional or licensed animal behaviorist. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress or questionable behavior should be seen by a veterinarian.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: I adopted a new four-year-old male cat. I have five cats already that are about same age, and only one is male. The new cat bullies all of them, but is especially hard on the boy. Now, my boy cat keeps peeing everywhere even though I have six litter boxes, and he has no internal issues based on what vet says. What could be the problem?
Answer: The problem is, in a word, stress. New dynamics were introduced. The boy cat needs a place of his own (a bedroom or bathroom) and a slow reintroduction to everyone including the new cat. This is not uncommon.
Question: We have two grown female cats and a 2-year-old male that continually attacks the females. We actually caught him trying to eat one of them one day (he had his mouth wrapped around our other cat's head). We don’t know what to do anymore. Can you help us?
Answer: He is likely still being playful even if it doesn't look like. Try clapping or spraying a water bottle when he is engaging in this behavior.
Question: We have a cat that isn't even a year old, but very recently we got another kitten and our old cat won't stop hissing or growling at the new one. He will try to attack the little one when he gets the chance, they're both males. What can we do to help them get along with each other?
Answer: You didn't mention how "recent" recently is. Remember that cats take, what seems to us, a long time to adjust to new mates. Hissing and attacking are normal reactions. You will likely want to keep them separate for awhile and do a slow introduction of a period of days to weeks. Having toys that you can use to interact with both of them also might get them to relax more around each other.
Question: My older female cat won’t stop attacking my younger female cat. They are both spayed and have separate bowls, toys, etc. I have tried all of your suggestions and more! What else can I do?
Answer: Start over and separate them. Do slow re-introductions while keeping them in different rooms most of the time. Put one in a crate and let the other one roam in the area. Let them hiss at each other. Switch the next time and put the other one in the crate and let the other one roam. Cats can take months to acclimate, and some will only ever get to the point of being buddies. At best they may tolerate the other's presence.
Question: My eight-year-old Siamese cat attacks and chases my two kittens. They are all females. The older one is fixed, but she searches for the kittens and attacks them. They all have own litter, food, and water, and my older cat likes only my room as it's her safe place. How can I get my cats to get along? My kittens are scared to death of my older cat.
Answer: Siamese cats often have dominant personalities, so your older cat is likely just establishing her dominance. Since the kittens are so young, this may be a good thing as they can establish their roles in the household and know that she is the queen bee. Make sure she gets lots of attention from you. Siamese cats also get very jealous and need to know that they have your attention. My first Siamese hated when I brought home his six-month-old tabby "brother." They had much the same interaction. I lavished a lot of attention on the Siamese to let him know that he was still king. They eventually got so close that they slept curled up together. When the brother passed away of cancer, my Siamese mourned his loss and would walk around looking for him. Make sure your established cat feels no threat from the younger ones in regards to your attention. Give her treats and pets and whatever she likes. Once she knows she is safe, she won't feel that she has to compete.
Question: We have a male Siamese mixed cat. He's about three years old. We also have a 7-month-old daughter. Cinders lived with my mother-in-law until a month ago when we moved in with her. Now he will randomly attack my daughter. Is there a way to get him to stop? We don't want to get rid of him.
Answer: He's jealous. Siamese are super smart. Try to make sure you spend time with him. Maybe get him some toys and cat nip to entertain him. It will pass as the baby gets older. My Siamese did the same when my kids were babies.
Question: About two months ago, my black cat was attacked by an outdoor cat and was very frightened. " days ago my other tabby cat was also attacked by the same cat. NOw, the black cat smelled the outdoor cat on the tabby and keeps attacking him because he has the smell on him. We bathed the tabby apart from his face, and it has made no difference. It is so bad that we have to keep them in separate rooms now. Will this fade away in time? Also, do you have any additional tips?
Answer: It sounds like everyone is stressed because of the incident. This needs some time and a calm environment. Maybe start getting them together again by creating pleasant experiences such as giving everyone treats when they are together.
Question: Soon, I will move into my boyfriend's house with my two male cats. Outside, there is a male cat my boyfriend occasionally feeds. I am really worried that he will hurt my young cats if they cross his territory. I am also worried my cats will run away (we can't keep them in the house all the time). What can I do to prevent this?
Answer: I think the only sure way is to keep them in the house. Cats live longer, healthier lives if they are indoors.
Question: My older cat is losing weight rapidly because the younger cat is bullying her away from the food bowl. She's lost two pounds in the last year. Is this "playful" behaviour?
Answer: Can you make several spots around the house for food? You can also feed the cats in two separate rooms once or twice a day to help curb this behavior.
Question: I adopted an eleven-year-old old female. I did the slow introduction, but she has been nervous around my four-year-old male cat and my one dog since day one and is always hissing at them. My male cat has accepted her in the home straight away and didn't know how to respond to her hissing. He has suddenly changed and has become a bully towards her by sneaking up on her and chasing her in the garden, making her too scared to go outside to the loo. How do I stop this?
Answer: I have adopted senior cats several times. They are really, really slow to acclimate. I had one cat then spent up to 80 percent of her time in my bedroom, closed off to the other cats. It took about a year for her to get where she would tolerate them being around and they would tolerate her. Even then, sometimes scuffles would break out. I would give her another break by putting her back in the bedroom and allowing her to take some time away from the others. Thanks for adopting a senior cat. It can take time---a long time. But getting love and acceptance from you and realizing that she is safe will help. Cats have to hiss and chase as they figure out the new pecking order. It takes a lot of patience.
Question: I took in a two-year-old cat from a friend that was moving and could not take him. I already have three cats. He gets along with two of them, but not the third. He stalks her to scare her, and then goes after her. She hisses and growls and runs to hide. I don't think he intends to hurt her; I think that he thinks it is a game. This has been going on for almost a year. What can I do?
Answer: I would give the 3rd cat a break sometimes. Either put the newer cat in a room or give her a place where she can go and sleep and relax. Some cats will barely tolerate each other, and some get along relatively quickly without much fuss. You can also try giving them both a treat in each other's presence or a bit of canned food. Make every time they are together something pleasurable from you, and it might cut down on the behavior.
Question: I have two cats (brother and sister), who have been getting on well for years. However, recently, the brother has been hissing and generally being mean to his sister. How do I stop him?
Answer: He may not be feeling well. Cats can have personality changes when they are ill. Check him over and if there is any change in his weight or appearance, get him evaluated by a vet. Otherwise, try to make a pleasant environment for both of them by doing things like feeding them treats together, etc.
Question: I have a newer senior cat addition and performed all the steps. My other cat is younger, but the older cat has been seeking out the younger cat and fighting. I redirect him and tell him off, but he actively goes back to fighting my other cat. It has come to the point that I'm ready to rehome him. I don't know what else to do, and it is becoming very stressful for all. What can I now do to resolve this?
Answer: Cats need what seems like a LONG time for us to acclimate and decide how the tribe is going to work. Sometimes cats, at best, co-exist, but never really get along. However, I've also seen cats that seemed to hate each other become best friends two years later. I'd find them sleeping beside each other and grooming each other. Put the bully cat in another room to give the younger cat a break. Also, realize that they will work through it, but it literally can take months to a year. Cats can take their sweet time.
Question: If a newcomer cat charges and attacks the resident cat, even beneath a door, what can be done? The resident cat scared and timid, while the new cat is fearless and aggressive.
Answer: It needs time. If the new cat is doing that, it is stressed. I would suggest at least several weeks of them being apart. Once the new cat has settled in the separate room, you could try putting it in a crate and bringing it to the room with the resident cat. It may get upset and charge again. But it will be in the crate. This is okay. Cats take time. I just went through an incident with a cat I've had for about six months. One of my older cats (14 years old) decided she didn't like her anymore, even though they had been sleeping together on the couch just a week before. In turn, this put the younger cat on her guard, and she started charging and hissing at my other cats (I have five total). It's taken about six weeks, but it is starting to get worked out. I would separate them when they were fighting (put one in a higher spot, and move one to another room). Cats take time. They do have an order. You need to take the time to let that develop as well.
Question: We have two male cats, ages nine and eleven, and recently introduced a third (a stray male kitten). The new guy will eat his food quickly, and then push the other cats out of their bowls to eat their food. We've been telling him no and using a spray bottle, but he continues the same behavior shortly after. He knows not to do this, as he backs up when I give him a look now. He just wants to do it anyway. Do you have any tips on teaching him to stop trying to steal food?
Answer: My sister adopted three sibling kittens, and one of the siblings had that issue. She found a great solution. She feeds all three of the now cats in slightly different locations. The aggressive eater is fed first in a bathroom with the door closed. The others are fed in other places. When they are done, she lets the one who likes to eat everyone's food out of the bathroom. It definitely works.
Question: I have 4 cats. They are 11 yrs, 9 yrs, 9 yrs, and 4 yrs old. The youngest we recently brought home (about 6 months ago). He knocks over everything so I use my water bottle and tell him no. But then he beats up the other cats. Almost like it was their fault. He's such a cute cat and I think he had a really rough start in life so I don't wanna get rid of him. I just don't know how to stop the knocking over things and then him taking it out on the other cats?
Answer: Well I think he may be confused and getting angry as to why he's getting the water bottle treatment. Cats knock over things. It's part of their curiosity and it's how they find out about things. I suggest that 1. Make your home more cat proof and remove things that would be problematic for him to knock over. 2. Get some interesting cat toys and cat nip interactive toys to keep him occupied and interested. I highly doubt he's making the connection between the water bottle and knocking things over. You may just be causing him more stress which he is then using on the other cats. I suggest stopping that immediately and just letting a cat be a cat.
Question: I have a new cat who is afraid of my other two. I try to keep her separated from the others because she will occasionally attack them. How can I best integrate them?
Answer: It can take anywhere from weeks to months for the "dust to settle." Meanwhile, try bringing her out in a crate and letting her be in the same room as the others but safe in the closed crate. Let them be in separate rooms but play under the door. They are all relatively young so they should integrate. Just realize that some fighting and hissing is normal during this process.
Question: I have three cats that have been together since they were six weeks old. They're now ten months old, and one won't stop hurting another. It only started a few months ago, but I can't stop it. Any advice to stop it?
Answer: I'm not sure what you mean by "hurting" the other cats. Are there bloody wounds or other signs of injury? If not, then it may be that as they are reaching their adulthood and working out the pecking order. Cats can also play kind of rough and even look a little mad, but really they just play around.
Question: I have a four-month-old kitten that is "food bullying" my four-year-old cat. The kitten is male; the older one is female. My older cat is losing weight, and I'm not sure how to make him stop trying to steal her food. What can I do?
Answer: The kitten is still pretty young and is just learning how everything works. You need to feed them separately so that the older cat gets the food she needs. You can also try supervising during meals and redirecting the kitten to his bowl when he tries to start bothering her. He is trying to figure out how everything works right now and, at that age, they are super playful and it may appear as bullying but is more than likely just an abundance of energy and enthusiasm.
Question: I have a male cat who's fixed. He's around two-years-old. He attacks my oldest cat as well as my newest cat. My newest is pregnant. What should I do?
Answer: I would suggest giving the pregnant cat a place of her own to rest and be comfortable, even a bathroom or a bedroom away from him may work. The two-year-old male is still pretty young. Did he recently get neutered? The hormones may still be working themselves out. After your female cat has her kittens, I suggest making sure everyone is spayed and neutered. This will likely cut down on the tension, and also help control the surplus pet population.
Question: I have two cats. The older one is extremely possessive of my person, and seriously intimidates the younger one by its presence. It´s getting worse. What should I do?
Answer: My first thought is that this sounds like a personality thing. What we, as humans may see as bullying, may merely be a timid younger cat that naturally sees the other cat as more alpha. I have a cat that I rescued from outside when he was six-months-old. He was semi-feral at the time. He is a HUGE tomcat. Of my current five cats, he is the most timid, and naturally defers to all the other cats and my dog. Even my newest rescue, a tiny five found tortie intimidates him.
If you feel that you're not able to give the other cat as much affection as he or she wants, I suggest trying to make time spent with you super pleasant for both of them. Get some treats and be sure to feed several to the dominant cat first to keep him or her occupied. Give the other one some treats as well. Pet them and talk to them.
For the most part, remember that the arrangement these two cats have may just be what is natural for them. It will definitely evolve over time. I've noticed that about my cats. But it changes slowly over months and years. Make your home a positive experience, and your interactions with both cats positive.
Most of all, feel flattered that one cat is very demonstrative of his or her affection for you. It's a compliment for sure. Hang in there.
Question: We have two cats (three and two years old) that keep fighting. The vet says that because the one is “hunting” the other it’s trying to establish dominance. Is there a way to diminish that?
Answer: Time. Allow them to work it out and establish their positions in the home, and it will work itself out.
Question: I have a 70-day old cat, and today, we brought in a younger, 40-day old cat. The younger one is really scared since this is a new home. When she’s eating or playing, he will come in, start sniffing her and paw slap her. At first, she didn't react but now she is slapping a bit back, and he hisses; she only hisses when he slaps her. I don't know if this is normal, because when she starts hissing, I take him out of my room. What should I do?
Answer: This is absolutely normal for cats and is part of their "getting to know you" process. As long as they are just slaps, I would let them work through it. At these young ages, they will likely be very good pals later on.
Question: 10 month old neutered Male Maine Coone, just adopted a 2-month-old female Norwegian Forest. He was at first very angry. Today he goes back and forth from dominating or/and grooming and staring at her. Attempts at play are few as he has no idea how big he is. Does this sound like a good start to introducing my cats to each other? How can I encourage gentle rather than referee rough or dominant behaviors between my cats? They for have their own rooms to eat, drink, litter box and windows.
Answer: This does sound like a good start. Remember that often in cat groups or even in pairs, they do establish dominant and submissive. So some "discussion" among the cats about who is going to be dominant is okay. I would only worry about refereeing if it gets too far out of hand. It is good that they have their own rooms for breaks. Just keep letting them be together for short periods of time. Gradually increase that time. It sounds like you will likely have a pretty good transition. There could be minor setbacks but overall, it sounds like these cats might ultimately be friends.
Question: I have introduced a new cat to an existing cat in the home. They hiss and growl at one another and are occasionally aggressive, however, they do eat together. What more can I do?
Answer: It sounds like it's not going too badly, actually. Especially if they are eating well together. I would continue to give them time and let them work out their routines.
Question: I have a cat at home and brought home a new kitten. The two cats hiss and slap at each other, but the kitten is the one who hisses more. Sometimes my older cat will sit and watch the kitten, and sometimes they will engage with the hissing and slapping, following each other around afterward. Once one cat is done, it's like the other cat comes running for more. Is this normal? Does this mean that they were getting along?
Answer: It actually sounds like they are on the right track. Kittens are often easier to acclimate than two adults. In a home with at least one other cat, any new cat will have to establish its rank. Allowing some interaction - within reason - is okay (hissing and slapping, too). But yes, this does sound good. It sounds like they are reaching an understanding.
Question: Our fifteen-year-old cat does not like the three-year-old we found six months ago. He goes to his room when we're not home. The new cat just wants to play and chase her. She hisses at him. They don't really fight, but I feel like she stays in our room a lot to avoid him. When do we just let him be free in the house? How do we get her out of the room more?
Answer: It's a lot to ask for a fifteen-year-old cat to adjust. Likely at best they will get to tolerate each other. I brought in a young, adult rescue cat last fall. My fifteen-year-old cat and this cat still don't really like each other. The rest of my cats are younger and have adjusted. I would just let the fifteen-year-old go where he feels comfortable. They need to sleep a lot at that age, so he likely is just looking for somewhere quiet to hang out. It sounds like they are not doing too badly, considering the circumstances.
Question: Can you suggest a strategy to deal with an aggressive older cat? Ours seems to bully two younger kittens.
Answer: It sounds like your aggressive cat has gone through and change and still doesn't quite know if she's "safe" in her place as far as being the lead kitty. I often see only cats have a harder time transitioning. If the other cats aren't having any issues like not using the litter box or not eating then I would personally let the situation work itself out. Make sure the aggressive kitty feels loved with lots of attention. As hard as it is to watch from the human perspective, from the cat's side they all have to work it out. And some just know that that's how a particular cat acts. Punishing the aggressive cat will only make it more aggressive so I don't recommend that. Usually love and reassurance work best.
Question: My ten-month-old male cat is obsessed with milk, to the point making a cup of tea around him can be very difficult. He has a varied diet of wet and dry food, but still prefers milk. I know cow's milk is harmful, so I was wondering how much kitten milk he is allowed per day, if any?
Answer: As long as it is cat milk that should be okay. Some cats are funny and just get fixated on things like that. If he is at a good weight and not having stomach issues, I'd just give him some when he is trying to take yours and not worry about it.
Question: My younger cat is a male, and he bullies my older female cat. He watches her while she eats, and when she's done, he will attack her, jumping at her and biting her neck. Then he will eat from the bowl. He waits for her at the doorway of the bedroom and bathroom (after she goes potty) and attacks her. I strongly say no, but he continues to attack on a daily basis. How do I get him to stop attacking her?
Answer: Usually younger cats are just more energetic and playful in general. While some of this may seem like bullying to us, this may just be the way these two interact. If the other cat is continuing to eat, drink, and go to the litter box, then it should be fine just to let it go. I have one cat who occasionally runs into the room and pounces on her sleeping housemate. They tumble, the other runs off. Then it's like nothing happened. It just seems to be that some cats interact with others that way. What may seem weird to us is okay to the other cat.
© 2014 L C David
Alexandra on September 08, 2020:
Thank you for your article, a lot of good tips, unfortunately I have tried them all so I am looking everywhere, anywhere that can help me.
I have a 4Y very fearful not too affectionate spayed female cat. 7 months ago I introduced a neutered 2 Y old cat very very affectionate with people but does not seem to like cats. I introduced them slowly, keeping them separated, exchanging sent, multiplying resources, adding pheromones, but my new cat keeps attacking my female cat ... he does not even wait he just jumps to attach her immediately :( I had him on fluoxetine (I have had couple of consults with behaviorist) but did not notice anything, now Ill move to clomicalm...I feel desperate and will be hear broken if I need to relocate my new cat...
is it possible to change a territorial, dominant cat? I don't know his past as he was abandoned but I suppose he was not socialized and basically is acting like this because he is territorial...from the window when he sees cats he jumps against the window showing same aggressive behavior
Melanie on September 03, 2020:
Both of my cats are neutered but since i've stopped letting them out my four year old male won't stop harassing my 3 year old female.. He has a playful attitude but she's hisses, growls and even screams sometimes. I don't know what I should do to stop this kind of attitude.
Sarah Fairclough on September 01, 2020:
We have 2 female cats who until yesterday have been living peacefully together.
They have play fighted in the past so I know that this issue isn't that.
Yesterday for some unknown reason, one cat attacked the other. There didn't seem to be any trigger for this attack, but if was quite vicious as the one cat pinned the other against the wall to attack her.
We've since separated them, with one having the upstairs of the house and the other having the downstairs.
We tried reintroducing them today slowly but the aggressive cat snarled and spat at not just the other cat, but me too as I was protecting her.
Any advice is welcome. This is really out of character for her to behave this way. I've never actually heard her growl until now.
Jacqui smart on July 22, 2020:
Thank you for your article.
Pls could u give me advice on my cat?
I adopted a female cat about 5 years ago.
At that stage my two neutered males were 10 & 5. She was about 1 year old.
Since then my older male started spraying in the house and the two would fight on a weekly basis.
I hoped it would get better.
Problem is that she also sprays everywhere!
And she's been spayed.
Now my older cat has passed away and she's bullying the other one.
He's pulling his hair out and prefers to stay in our bedroom . He'll come out to eat and will go outside occasionally. We live in a house and they have a big garden
He tries to dominate her..stands over her all fluffed up, meowing loudly.
Is this going to get better or worse?
Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Bahahaha on July 11, 2020:
Thanks Arm Chair Expert but i prefer the advice of someone actually trained in Cat Behaviour not someone the cat trained with their behaviour
Nate on March 17, 2020:
I have two cats male and female from the same litter. They’ve been best friends until this week when I moved to a new house. Now the male bullies the female. She is very passive and he is aggressive. He hisses and chases her constantly. Is there anything I can do to make them friends again?
Kaily on February 07, 2020:
We recently adopted a cat that the vet says is around two years old, he's mostly very friendly with adults and kids, sometimes he'll randomly bite if you pet him in one spot for too long. Before we were able to get him neutered, he had a run-in with the neighbor's cat - the neighbors cat came over to our yard to say hello, and after only a few minutes, my cat snapped and started chasing the neighbor cat and started attacking him.
We got him neutered soon thereafter, but he still has not calmed down with bullying the neighbor cat. My cat when he's let out will literally go seek the other cat out to fight him - he will immediately go to the neighbor's house and if the other cat is outside, my cat will pick a fight. Like....literally seeking him out. I don't understand?
I don't know what to do. We are considering re-homing him because this is really becoming an issue. We cannot keep him indoors at all times because he was previously an outdoor cat and we have a senior dog that wants to eat him. We talked to the neighbors and asked if their cat is usually indoor or outdoor, but he's mostly an outdoor cat. We thought about doing a catio, but in the meantime, we have no where to put him so we've created a space in our insulated garage until we can figure something out.
Please help, any recommendations would be so helpful.
Dani on November 16, 2019:
We recently moved in with my parents until we can save up for a house. We brought two cats with us and they had one cat. All are females that have been spayed. One of my cats is bullying my parents cat. They are allowed upstairs and there is no way to separate them downstairs. My cat Jinx will knock over the cats water so that hers is the only one left (I switched bowels to one that cant be knocked over so she scoops the water out). Know I know she is bullying the other cat in her litter, we tried taking the lid off but the other cat is now refusing to use her litter box. I don’t know what to do to get my parents cat to use her litter again and to stolid my cat from being a bully. Help
Julie Goode on September 28, 2019:
Two years ago my sis brought her four yo female cat home. My 12 yo female accepted het after about a one week into phase and they became inseperable. 8 months she left with her cat..
Jump ahead to now and the roles reversed. My now 14yo cat and i moved in with her and her now 6yo cat.
My cat wants to accept her but her cat swats at her for no reason, usually after sitting in the same room together, or when walks by her.
My cat has become shy and hides in my blankets for most of the day. I do give treats and wet food together so there sis by side and the do fine. They can sit near each other and are ok.
Any suggestions? Its been 3.5 weeks now
Ayesha Baber on July 24, 2019:
Tarun Sharma on May 12, 2019:
Very nice article
Alicia Murray on April 16, 2019:
I took in my grandmother's 12 year old female cat a month and a half ago. I have a 10 month old kitten that is the resident cat. We have been doing the bowl feeding on sides of a baby gate, slowly inching them forward, and that is going relatively well but the the new older cat still is not accepting of the kitten. A large part of the day she is in my bedroom, but I have been giving her times of the day to be out upstairs, while I keep th kitten downstairs. When seperated, She will occasionally lunge at the gate and when I have done supervised visits she has gone after her and they end up in a big cat fight ( no one has gotten hurt). We have done the scent swapping, and continue to take it slow, but I am beginning to feel hopeless. I really do not want to rehome her but I also do not want her to have to be confined to my room all the time and be stressed as well as the kitten. They are both very sweet cats seperately, affectionate, social, and love attention. Any advice would be so appreciated.
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Darleen Allen on January 21, 2019:
We had only one cat and I don’t know what would make her so mad,and she would get mad a lot.Our vet wife hated her she was always saying I would get rid of that cat I would tell her I couldn’t get rid of her I loved her.Kevin was husband he would help me toe nails trimmed and she had trouble with anas gland she had been fixed.sometimes she was sweet as she could be.our house was really clean she was never outside,but had crazy mother wild she run the ever place and had kittens in and old building an heard them crying plus it was 100 degreesetook all them to vet but she was only that made it.even yet I still don’t know why she get so mad.
Matthew c. on January 16, 2019:
We took in a very young kitten. our older female cat was very aggressive from the start and we have to keep them completely separated we have tried to have some supervised time with them but ultimately it lead to our older cat attacking the new cat. Kitten is now a juvenile and is terrified when she sees the other cat.
Is there anything we can do or should we try to rehome the juvenile
multicat mom needs help on October 23, 2018:
Three years ago we got a female cat, then two brothers a couple months later. All cats were under 1 year old when we got them (female is the oldest by a couple months) and they have grown up together. All have been spayed/ neutered from the time we first got them.
When the boys were small, they were all very sweet together. But once all of our cats were about 2 years old, the dynamic went bad. The boys gang up on their sister terribly. She's smaller and not as strong, and also very passive and neurotic, so fights start very easily. One of the boys is an alpha cat who can be a bully while his brother is incredibly sweet, but at the flip of a switch will suddenly be very aggressive to his sister.
We live in a good-sized 3 bedroom house with multiple litter boxes, water bowls, toys, etc. spread throughout the house. We do not free feed but rather give them breakfast and dinner all together at the same times every day, and all the cats always finish, so they are not competing for food.
The fighting and bullying has been a problem for at least a year now, and we were hoping they would get over it with age, but it's starting to get worse. We started using Feliway a few months ago but it hasn't seemed to make a difference. They can be generally territorial of resources, with the boys guarding my lap/ the pantry where the food is kept/ doorways to rooms they like, but fights also seem to break out for no reason. Sometimes it seems all it takes is for the boys to catch sight of their sister, and then they are running her down. The fights are getting ugly, with the boys pining her down once they catch her and biting/scratching mouths/clawfuls of hair out of her before we can distract them. The female cat seemed to have developed litter box anxiety because they have attacked her while she is using it, causing her to now do her business all over the house.
We’ve tried to separate the girl cat in a guest room a few times to give them some space but that doesn’t do more than damage the carpet on both sides of the door as all our cats desperately try to open the door. Our female does not seem to understand we are trying to protect her and give her space, and locking her up only seems to upset her. Similar results whenever we try locking up a different cat to give them a break from each other.
I’m at my wits end with these cats and am not sure what more I can do for the girl cat aside from sending her to stay with relatives. I’d appreciate any input.
L C David (author) from Florida on October 12, 2018:
It's very rare for cats that live together to do major damage, even with claws. It sounds like her mother instincts are still working themselves out. Spaying her will also calm her down. Cats can get more aggressive and grouchy when they are in heat. And they can go into heat pretty soon after the litter is weened , so some of that may be going on as well.
L C David (author) from Florida on October 12, 2018:
Honestly, it is very hard for a cat Willow's age to adjust to a new companion. That doesn't mean they can't tolerate each other but she just doesn't have the energy of a two year old cat any more and will not be likely to want to play. Supervise them when they are together and try to redirect his energy to a toy or treat so that he will give her a break. Make sure she has time away from him to nap as older cats need lots of rest.
L C David (author) from Florida on October 12, 2018:
Yes. You've hit the nail on the head. Unneutered male cats are often more territorial and aggressive. It will take several months after the neutering for him to work out all the hormones. In the meantime, try crating one of them and putting them in the same room. Don't worry about them hissing and fighting. That will happen. You can even take turns with who gets crated. This allows them to be safe and get more used to each other's smells. Make sure you save the water bottle for truly bad situations. Too much of the water bottle can make them associate bad things with each other, possibly making them more aggressive.
L C David (author) from Florida on October 12, 2018:
So I think the change here was them being recently fixed. While this is definitely a good thing in the long run, they feel different after being fixed. Their hormones and needs change. So all are likely adjusting to this. I brought in a recently neutered male cat this summer (he was likely just at one or a little under). I've noticed that his personality has mellowed and changed from when he first got here. He went from being kind of a bully to being laid back and getting along with everyone. I would give it some more time and try to feed the bullied cat separately. Even just putting her in a bathroom to eat will allow you to make sure she is getting enough food during this transition time.
L C David (author) from Florida on October 12, 2018:
If you think they are battling for attention then I'd suggest having a plan to engage both of them when you are together. Treats, interactive toys (such as cat fishing poles) and other items where you can play with them is good thing. If they seem to enjoy being brushed then you can brush them as well. Two people or two hands would work just as well so both cats feel like they are getting attention.
Helpneeded on October 04, 2018:
Our adult female cat had kittens we kept 2. We have 7 cats in total now. She was.fine with the other adults before and with the kittens up until about a month ago. She has become increasingly aggressive. She hisses and smacks at all of the other cats for seemingly no reason. She has been laying in a relaxed stance near one of the kittens and then smacked them and ran suddenly for no reason. She still let's her mom the eldest car groom her and is least aggressive with her but still hisses and smacks at her as she goes by at times. She is most aggressive with one of the adult males who is fixed and a very laid back cat as well as the 2 10 month old kittens. She is not fixed yet but will be soon. She uses claws sometimes and we're worried about her hurting the other cats. Any ideas or suggestions?
Tydus on October 04, 2018:
My kitty Tydus is a fresh two-year old male and is my pride and joy. I currently live with my parents who have my childhood cat Willow who is 17 years old. Tydus frequently wants to play with Willow and will pounce and play with her but she doesnt like it and growls, hisses and then attacks him roughly to the point he yelps and whines even though she doesnt have claws and he has never been bleeding after their excursions. What can i do to help them get along a little better? We have two seperate feeding sites and litterboxes for both cats in seperate places of the house.
Baxters Mom on October 03, 2018:
Got Baxter six weeks ago. He is a healthy, happy, large, energetic, non-neutered male kitten 5 months old. He is due to be neutered in 30 days. We decided to get him a friend and adopted from a rescue a smaller, younger, fearful but friendly male neutered kitten. I would guess he is a month younger than Baxter. He has his own bedroom with food, water and litter box. Baxter and no-name play with their paws under the door. We have tried several times to let them meet each other, but Baxter goes in for the kill as soon as the new kitten is in his view. The new kitten screams and we spray with spray bottle to break it up. The kitten doesn’t hold a grudge and when things are calmer doesn’t avoid Baxter, but Baxter makes sure he regrets not fearing him. I guess my question is whether or not The fact that my 5 month old kitten is not neutered yet might be playing a major role in this laser focused aggression.
Liz on September 20, 2018:
We have three cats, our latest addition is a 3 year old male (Nibbler) that we got about 4 months ago. Our oldest one (Thrax, 6 years old) was our first one and our other male (Monster) is also 3 years old and was raised alongside Thrax. Monster was actually a feral kitten when we got him and he only seems to respond well to me when it comes to human interaction. We introduced Nibbler nice and slowly and all three cats were getting along up until about 2-3 weeks ago. I started noticing more fighting amongst all of them and Thrax even got herself a nice little bite mark above her eye. I noticed that it was mostly Monster starting the fights but haven’t noticed a pattern as to where he usually picks fights or when. I’ve started isolating him when we aren’t around to supervise in hopes that he would find the isolation not worth the effort of fighting but it hasn’t helped. About 15 minutes out of his room and he’s hissing and picking another fight. It’s very frustrating and I don’t know what to do. I can’t release him to a shelter because I don’t think he’s adoptable. I can’t very well just put him back out on the streets and I do love him but I’m at my wits end. What can I do?
Meela M on September 16, 2018:
I have 5 cats at home. They used to be living in harmony even when they were territorial (the teams up used to be 2 males, 2 females and 1 female). They all are adult cats and had separate territories. The males are recently fixed, the females are fixed too apart from one. Anyway, recently the male cats cannot stand each other, they keep growling at each other for hours and sometimes even fight. So, I tried separating them. But after doing so, the male cats attack a female one and my another female cat is literally scared of them so much that she does not even eat and drink properly (not totally stopped yet). I love them as my own and cannot think of being parted with any of them. And I am running out of spaces as well (all the rooms of my apartment are already occupied as the had already marked their territories in all the rooms, now I don't even have any more room to offer. By the way, there was no change in the settings. What do I do?
EHampton on September 14, 2018:
We recently took on a stray cat. We have a dog and an older resident cat already in the home. Our resident seems stressed and has sprayed two areas of the home. Our new cat is somewhat of a bully stalking and chasing our resident cat. It has only been about one week. Our resident cat does not seem interested in fighting or "fighting back" with our newbie. Any advice on how to smooth things over? They seem to do better when we aren't in the room but it seems like a battle for attention when one of us is around both of them together.
L C David (author) from Florida on September 14, 2018:
Trying to reason with a cat doesn't really work so well. I would suggest perhaps getting the dog some anxiety meds such as Prozac. Also, removing your dog from the situation when the cat is attacking help to reassure her that you have her back. My guess is that they will work it out eventually but meanwhile you need to destress your dog. Talk to your vet about options.
L C David (author) from Florida on September 14, 2018:
Is she fixed? If not, that will help. She is also very young. She will calm down as she gets older. In the meantime, if it gets to be too much, just pick one of them up and move them to another room for a quiet period away from each other. She's got baby in her that still wants to come out.
Mum2many on September 08, 2018:
I have 7 cats - the youngest 4 coming from 2 different litters. The 'baby' two cats are 4 years old. I have a dog who has always been here. The youngest female, Tinkerbell, is a compulsive bully. We have the plug in devices to help calm the home. We do not have cat litter and they all have their own plates. My dog is terrified of tinkerbell and it's getting worse not better. We fear that the dog is now sick due to it as £3500 worth of tests and explorations can not find anything physically wrong with her (the dog). If I tell tinkerbell off she gets angry and takes it out on whoever is closest. Any suggestions?
Kat on September 04, 2018:
I have a 7year old female cat and recently adopted a 2 year old female (both spayed). My resident cat is very timid and wont come out from behind the sofa when i try to do introductions. The new, younger cat is sweet natured and relatively confident but when allowed in the same room as the resident, older cat she charges her like shes going to attack. As the older cat is squashed in the corner aready im worried she cant get away and have stopped the new cat before she gets too close. Ive been told i need to just let them 'sort it out' between them but im terrified one of them is going to get hurt. Can you offer any advice as its stressing out the whole household.
Nanna Moon on September 02, 2018:
We have 2 cats. Our male is 3 and very laid back. We have had him since he was born. We got a 5-6 week old female in May. Since she came home she has been very active and continues to run and play. About June she started being aggressive towards our older cat. She fights or tries to fight him til he screams in pain. Nothing we have tried seems to curb her exvessive running and now jumping, or her fixation on her bullying behavior. Please help.
Brianna Tuckey on September 02, 2018:
I am at my WIT'S end with my 5 year old female spayed cat! She was never an only cat, but the two elders we used to have passed away recently, but right before the last one did, we started bringing in a new cat, who was abandoned by my house and has been living outside. When we first brought him in, she surprised me. She didn't hiss, attack or swipe so I thought this could work, they could adjust. But now, three months later, she still can't be left alone with him, she attacked him one night two weeks ago and won't let him come down the hallway, and is overall being a bully. He never has once been hostile with her and is scared of her, to the degree he peed on the floor since he's afraid to use the litterpan because she won't let him down the hall. Both cats are neutered/spayed, different genders, and I've tried everything except the squirt bottle, which I have mixed feelings on. No shelters in my area are willing to take him, so I have to keep him, and want to keep him. But she's just making things miserable and I'm losing sleep over it. What the hell am I supposed to do in this situation?
Jen on August 28, 2018:
We got a little kitten about a month ago. He's about two-three months old. My older cat whos about 5 or 6 she trys to go to the bathroom but the kitten follows her and proceeds 2 try to bug her. I assume it's out of playing because he trills and jumps. But my mom and I actually get quite mad because the older cat just runs upstairs (or downstairs) to the other litterbox while the little one follows. We've tried picking him up and setting him in an other room away from the older cat but he just goes back to her. We're thinking about using a spray bottle because verbal communication isn't working. And although we know that kind of stuff shouldn't be used we have no other ideas. Help??
Katie on July 14, 2018:
I have two cat about 5 month old and they are both very sweet but I just got another kitten and one of my older cats is becoming more aggressive towards me and the kitten i don’t wanna half to get ride of the kitten but I don’t want my older cat to be unhappy what do I do
Katie on July 14, 2018:
I have two cats that are about 5 month old and they are both very sweet but I just got another kitten and one of my older cats has been aggressive toward the kitten and me can someone tell me how i’m can make everyone get along
Courtney on July 07, 2018:
My mom has a 9 month old kitten and I have a 7 years old cat. Both females and my apartment no longer allows animals. I brought my cat to my moms and made my cat stay in her bag for about an hour before I left her out. As soon as I let her out she ran into a room and went under the bed. My moms kitten ran away from a loud noise under the same bed. They were fine for about a day and then my cat started to hiss, attack, eat the kittens food and use her litter box. My cat came from my moms home where she shared it with an older cat and then when I moved she was the only animal for 4 years. Now I had to take her back to my moms and its a different animal there she may be acting different because of that but I need her to stop bullying the other animal or I will have to take her to the ASPCA.
Mickie on June 19, 2018:
Just need advice
Christine Mac Donald on June 01, 2018:
cannot get our new stray of a year on a feeding schedule , she also comes to life at night all night for food .and is a bully with our 19 year old it is so bad that we are fighting in our home over her
Josh on May 21, 2018:
Hi, I was wondering what to do when two cats who used to get along well (slept together, groomed each other, played a lot) no longer do. They're not fighting but one cat (a female who's more calm and independent) always seems to get "punked" by the other cat (male, younger, more energetic and playful). For example, we have separate eating areas (easily accessible to either cat) for each cat with the same bowls and the same food. The male cat will start eating his food and stop midway (still food left) and go to the female cats bowl, push her out of the way (not aggressively but just weasel his way in) and eat from her bowl. She doesn't get angry, she just leaves, even though she was still eating. I feel like she's being bullied but she doesn't lash out or respond except for just leaving. The male cat also often will sit on her while she's just lying down and she'll quietly try to leave and get away and he takes her spot. He often takes her spot on the cat beds or boxes we have lying around for them and she just yields and leaves every time without a thought or sound. Should I be concerned with this behavior? They were adopted together 5 months ago.
Tracy Jenkins on May 08, 2018:
All this is fine and makes perfect sense. Until my hubby and I go to bed or worse yet, go on vacation and nobody's in the house to referee the cats. We've come to the conclusion that the 'culprit' is our 4 year old male, Obi. He loves nothing more than prowling around the house waiting for the chance to pounce on one of his older 'sisters' (nobody's related though). Our oldest, Mynx, is about 9 years old now and it took her a while, but she eventually figured out that one good smack and Obi would leave her be. The younger of the two girls, though, Hera is a very gentle natured cat and flat out refuses to stand up for herself, no matter what. This situation has gotten so bad that none of the cats will eat anymore. We've gone through 3 different kinds of 'vet' food at the vet's suggestion but they just won't eat. And as I said we can't be home 24/7 to referee everybody. They share the same feeder and only have 2 litter boxes between them. We don't have the room to add any more. We live in a very small townhouse (although my husband swears it's a house).
Tracy Diamond on May 06, 2018:
I have a new younger cat that has been introduced to my older resident cat. My older cat is 5 yrs old and is spayed. The new younger cat is about 3 mos old now. They are both females. The younger cat is very active and aggressive. She has established hierarchy over my resident older cat. I don't like it. Is there any way to change this pecking order, or do I have to look in silence as my resident cat gives in to the younger cat being the alpha?
Nelson Smith on April 25, 2018:
L C David (author) from Florida on April 23, 2018:
Since they are mother and son, she likely doesn't mind and has chosen to be submissive. If you haven't yet, get both of them fixed. This will make sure that more cats don't end up on the street and may curb some of his tendencies.
carlos on April 16, 2018:
Hello, i have 2 cats, mother and son, rescued from the street, i notice the son is very egoist, he pushes his mother, even thou there is 2 bowls with food 1 for each. I put the bowl far away from each other but he runs towards his moms food to steal it :/ when i play with them i try to play a bit with mom also but he shoves her aside and she goes to a corner. im worried she feels sad. what should i do? :/
Heather on April 15, 2018:
We have an 11 year old female cat her sister died 18 months ago. We’ve just taken on a 14 year old female cat, who’s never lived with other cats. She bullies our old cat, who doesn’t want to come in the house. I’m worried she will force our old cat away. Any suggestions would be a great help. Thanks
L C David (author) from Florida on April 13, 2018:
My guess is that she is feeling protective of her babies. Mama cats don't like tom cats around the kittens as they have been known (in the wild) to eat the young of other males. So it is likely instinctual. Getting everyone fixed and having the kittens grow up or find new homes will likely help improve the situation. I would suggest keeping them separate until the babies are older or in new homes.
Adri Smith on April 06, 2018:
We found a female cat in the basement and she was pregnant and had 5 babies and she keeps chasing my malecat around like she's trying to kill him they get along Or they deal with each other some times and haven't fought over food or litter box but sometimes during the meal or right after she eats or goes to the box she'll chase him upstairs and if she catches him she sometimes knocks him down the stairs after she tears him up if he doesn't make it to his hiding spot or if he tries to go into my room where the babies are v she attacks him unless I'm in there sitting on my love seat what can I do to help? Obviously she isn't spaid and he is about to be he is only 6 to 7 months old so he's going to the vet soon.
L C David (author) from Florida on April 04, 2018:
So it sounds like you need to concentrate on the stressed cat. She may need to take something that will help her to cope. I currently have one high strung cat that is taking Prozac once a day. He is eight now. I got him from the shelter when he was four and he had all kinds of issues. Another option might be Xanax for the stressed kitty. These do all require vet visits. Your vet might also suggest a higher calorie food to help her gain weight. I also do want to mention that it's possible that her stress and weight loss are due to something else (some kind of illness) and that the tom cat's aggression just makes it worse. (I am assuming that the male is neutered? If not, I suggest doing that immediately.) That's an alarming amount of weight for the stressed kitty to lose. However, if I were guessing it sounds like she needs some help learning how to clam down.
L C David (author) from Florida on April 04, 2018:
First you need to make sure that there are multiple litter boxes in multiple places around the house. This doesn't have to be a permanent thing but does need to happen for a few weeks. You also may need to separate the new cat in another room with its own litter box, food and water. Allow it out when you are there but supervise and then give it a break in its own room when you are gone or at night. Usually this will work itself out over time but you need to definitely give the stressed cat a space of its own for a few days.
Shona on April 01, 2018:
One cat is bullying the new cat and the new cat has started urinating outside the litter box as soon as it happens
What can I do
Help on March 31, 2018:
We have three cats. Oldest is an 8 yrs old female, next in line is a 3 year old female (very submissive, weak, doesn't stick up for herself) and finally we rescued a third kitty Nov. 2017 (8 1/2 months old male whom is a BIG kitty.....bone structure, tail etc). He's is extremely dominant & both girls have submitted to him. Problem is he loves to bully the weak 3yr old female all the time where even interactive toys, water bottle spraying, firm tones of "no" have not worked. He has stressed out the weak 3 year old where she has lost almost 2 lbs in almost 5 months. We have done practically everything .... right from the start with slow introduction etc. She is extremely skinny even though they are all fed separately. Another words.... she's not eating much because she's stressed. Sometimes when he walks in the room she will remain in te room (which is good that she's not running under the bed away from him) but most of the time she does run under the bed. What next????
josie on March 10, 2018:
my cats are being bullys
L C David (author) from Florida on March 08, 2018:
Cats can sometimes take and incredibly long time to re-adjust. It may be several more months. I would keep doing what you are doing. If Frankie is better, you may have to let them "work it out" with each other.
After One Sick, 4yo Male Littermates Now Don't Know Each Other on March 08, 2018:
Hi LC, We have two male 4yo neutered brothers (they have their claws) and are indoor cats, we adopted them from shelter when they were about 4 mos old. 2.5 months ago Frankie almost died from urinary blockage and was in vet hospital four days. Since being home, Max no longer seems to know Frankie and basically wants to kill him. About two weeks after coming home Frankie went off all meds but he eats a urinary friendly prescription diet now. I'm sure he smells very different now. We've kept Frankie in a separate room, and we try to switch them so Max is in 'his' room while Frankie roams, and vice versa. Any attempts to have them near each other to introduce, eat, play, etc sometimes go 'ok' while we are supervising but unwatched (we're nearby and want to observe Max) we can see Max gets ready to stalk and on occasion goes after Frankie. We can tell it is not play for sure, there's no question. It is not getting any better and we are at a loss. We are doing some 'catification' type things but I really doubt it will solve the issues. What are your thoughts? Will they ever be able to cohabitate again? I think we know at this point they will never be buddies again like they were :-(
L C David (author) from Florida on February 25, 2018:
Cats can go through phases. I've had that happen and I usually kick the bully out and fuss at them. I have had a cat bully my dog as well and make her afraid. Have you tried a quick squirt of water when he is bullying the dog?
Rayvee marie on February 23, 2018:
I started to let my two year old male cat sleep with me on my bed and my dog sleeps there also she is female and 5 years old they got along fine but now she doesn't want to be around him and i don't know what to do. he started to swat at her today and now she doesn't want to walk past him i love both of them equally and i don't know if i want him with me or my dog with me. I need help on how to get him to stop bullying her
Elizabeth on February 11, 2018:
Here is my situation which I am trying to find a solution to. Abi is almost 14 years old. Felix is almost 5. We also have a third cat Luna who is almost 2. Luna and Felix are bonded and love to sleep together. Abi is a loner and has always been this way. Felix will randomly attack Abi. Usually when she is sleeping. He will stalk her then pounce and attack. This has reduced since we got Luna but not completely stopped. By the time we hear the hissing and fighting Felix has already run off. We don’t know why he is bullying her and can’t fogure out how to stop it. Abi is declawed unfortunately the other two are not. So she has no way to defend herself other than her teeth. We have plenty of litter boxes and all 3 eat at the same time in separate places. Any tips on how to get Felix to stop being so mean? He’s the sweetest cat otherwise, it’s only Abi that he does this to.
Denise moses on February 10, 2018:
I have a male cat he is a few years old and neutered, he bullies my older smaller female and now he's starting to bully my daughter's female kitten. The kitten and my male use to play and now he pounces on both of them. No reason at all. Now my older female doesn't like any other cats around her.
L C David (author) from Florida on February 08, 2018:
This does sound like a hard situation. It sounds like the smaller, bullied cat may need to be crated when you are gone. This would protect her and it might also allow the other cats to begin to get used to her without being able to attack. If you can buy or borrow a big enough crate, you can even put a small litter box and food in there. She needs to be supervised at all times when she's with the big cats. A spray bottle with water should be ready at the first sign of aggression. Best of luck with this tough situation.
Danielle on February 01, 2018:
Due to Financial issues I had to move in with some people 5 or 6 ago. They have 2 female cats and I have 2 female cats. Both of my females are very sweet, loving, affectionate, and wouldn't hurt a fly...well maybe a fly/bug they would LOL My roommates 2 female cats are the biggest bullies I have ever seen in my life! They constantly attack my smallest cat. Now all of these cats are grown but my little princess is very small. I believe she was probably the runt of her litter. Gypsy is my other cat she's not as small as Princess but she's not as big as these two bully cats. However, Gypsy will stand up for herself if she feels threatened. She is not one to attack, if she doesn't like an animal, for example when I got princess as a kitten she hated her. She would hiss at her and run away. Basically just keep her distance. But no matter how much she does not like another animal she will not attack them unless they attack her. Princess is even more non-threatening. Not only is she very tiny, she is the first one to accept new animals and try to befriend them. The 2 bully cats are very large, Tigger is about twice the size of princess and Shadow is about three times the size of princess. They both attack her constantly. They intimidate her with their staring, hissing, and growling. They chase her and attack her, she is basically living in a bathroom at this point. When she tries to come out within just a few minutes one of them if not both of them goes after her. They have injured her physically. I have to clean up hair and blood constantly from the bathroom sink. when she runs to the bathroom she's jumping on the sink to try to get away from them. I work a lot and when I'm not here I believe the behavior goes unpunished and is not redirected in any way. When I am here I do my best to keep it from happening. I've tried spray bottles, that doesn't work. I've closed Princess off in the bathroom but her anxiety gets really bad and she will destroy anything in the bathroom that she can. Plus it's not fair that she has to live her life in constant fear and in a bathroom on top of that. I am 6 months pregnant with a high risk pregnancy, extremely high risk, I have now been scratched three times during these attacks while I was in the bathroom getting ready for work. So now not only is my little princess in danger this has now become a danger to myself and my unborn child. I have never wanted to hurt an animal in my life but I'm almost at my breaking point with these 2. The owners are not doing anything to stop it and they won't. What can I do? It will at least be a couple of months before I will be out of here so until then, I need a way to keep princess safe as well as myself and my baby. Please help. Thank you.
Karen L on January 16, 2018:
I took in my mother's neutered male cat and also have my stepdaughter and her neutered male cat living with us. My stepdaughter's cat came first to the house two weeks before the other (now my cat), which seems to have given him the understandable sense that the house territory was his.
Additionally, he had been raised among a variety of people as well as other cats and dogs so is well-socialized. I am very fond of him and am pretty sure he decided I was 'his' territory until my cat came on the scene.
My cat, however, was raised from a kitten in my mother's assisted living home and only had access to people - he's quite comfortable around new people most likely because he had exposure to multiple caregiver's spending time in my mother's apartment. However, he's had no exposure to other animals except during his young kittenhood.
This is all to say that even after introducing the cats to one another very slowly and carefully with all the suggested methods over a period a month and a half, they have developed an unhealthy victim/bully relationship. My cat was given his own space in the master bedroom/bathroom area, a place my stepdaughter's cat has not been allowed to go. This is now the only place my cat feels truly safe. He does come out of his room, but often, he's chased back by the other cat. Also, the bully cat keeps pushing the other cat from 'prime' positions around the house through staring or other forms of aggression.
They do play chase once a day or so if the cats are in the shared space together. I believe it's play? There's no hissing or biting, only silent wrestling. I've even see my cat chasing the other like a little brother provoking his older brother occasionally.
My worry is this: now my cat is hiding under the bed in the master bedroom, pretty uninterested in coming out to the main part of the house....and the oneupmanship of who gets the 'best' space in shared areas continues. I'm worried that my cat will be unable to hold his own and won't be able to share in the household with us, just wanting to stay in 'his' room. My stepdaughter is delightful is willing to work with me to work out any protocol that might work, other than the use of pharmaceuticals. I love both cats dearly and want this to work out!
L C David (author) from Florida on January 06, 2018:
Ask your vet about a low dose Prozac. This may mellow out the bully and is safe for cats.
L C David (author) from Florida on January 06, 2018:
In order to minimize the aggression, get a spray bottle and fill with water. When the boy cat is being aggressive, then do a quick spray on him. This lets him know that you don't like it.
With that said, cats have a way of working out things, even if it takes years. As long as both have their claws and are on equal ground, they will likely figure it out. If you are worried, then keep them in separate rooms when you are not home to monitor them.
Meow on January 06, 2018:
My 14 month old Siamese make won’t stop jumping on our 16.5 yr old Mainecoon. I hope he’d grow out if this, he was 12 weeks when he came home. He jumps on her and tires to but her. It seems like mating behavior. He chases her too. What meds can I put him into help? I’ve tried everything- time out, spray bottle, he wears a thunder coat all the time when they’re together. She is sick and I’m worried about the stress as she just was in heart failure. If he doesn’t chase or jump on her they are ok and can sleep on the same bed etc. sometimes when she growls, swats him he lies down submissively.
Maranda on December 31, 2017:
ok so I'm now 28 yrs old. I've had by boy cat since i turned 22 yrs old. He's an orange tabby. He's got fixed a few months after that.. A year or two later I took in another cat who is a girl from outside and it seems like she's fixed as well being as though she's never in heat?? She's a black tuxedo cat. Ok so my problem is, is that tigar (boy cat) continues to bully her (Bella)by biting her. Literally digging his teeth in her back. Help I don't know what to do..
L C David (author) from Florida on December 22, 2017:
My guess is that she is afraid she will be bothered in the litterbox. Make sure she has a private area where your toddler can't go so she will feel safe. I would also suggest taking her to the vet for a work up to make sure there is no underlying condition. She may be stressed and your vet can help. I have a cat that benefited from Prozac.
Elizabeth on December 05, 2017:
I have a 4 year old female cat. She used to just pee in the bathtub if her litter box was full. Now it’s everywhere it has increased ever since our one year old daughter has become mobile. It doesn’t matter if the litter box is empty. She now only pees on the carpet in the living room. I use pet sprays to remove the smell but I can’t get her to stop.
Cory on October 08, 2017:
I'm having the same problem as Chantal
Chantal on September 09, 2017:
My sister just adopted 2 cats from the shelter. One is 7 months old and the other is 9 years old. About a month after she got them the kitten started attacking the older cat when she walks around or even just laying on the couch sometimes. They both have their own perch in the window where they lay side by side. They have lots of toys and scratching posts and they get a little bit of catnip a couple times a week. More recently the kitten is really starting to bite the older cat. Today he jumped on the couch and ran over to her and bit her. We had to take him off of her and he had a clump of fur in his mouth. It definitely didn't look like that was him trying to play. We have tried redirecting his attention with toys when we see him staring at her and he does his little but wiggle. He will watch the toy and play with it for two seconds and then jump the older cat. We also have a dog and both cats get along with her, they have never tried to attack her in anyway. What can we do to stop this behavior? Or is it just waiting until he gets out of his kitten stage?
Rescue Kitten on September 06, 2017:
So i dont know where to begin...
I have a 4 year old male
Have had him for a while. His name is melvin and he was a rescue when i got him.
Now today something bizzare and disgusting happend while i was visiting a friend.
I had a young (3 week to 2 months old possibly) kitten fall literaly from a 3 story balcony onto my head.
Now i being who i am am prone to making split seccond decisons...
Now this cat is in my 1 bedrom apartment
Its fine whilst i hold it... But i put him or her down and they hide under my xbox...
Meanwhile the male isnt attacking... Just investigating and being rediculusly vocal but the younger cat is hissing
I have no doors on my bedroom and i dont feel right confining either cat to the bathroom
and using the litter fine
But goes right back under the tv stand under the xbox when its done
My male is severarely affectionate and even has tried to clean the new cat only for it to hiss and swat.
Is this usual behavior?
If so should i just be patient?
I refuse to give up and give it away just because its hissing and hes vocal
So far no real violence
And its a beautiful cat
L C David (author) from Florida on February 14, 2017:
My experience with Prozac was different. My cat did not act sleepy. Perhaps you could try a lower dose for the bully cat? Have you tried spraying water on him when you see acts of aggression? The water will not hurt and might get the message that you don't like what is going on. So sorry you are going through this.
beachdayz on February 14, 2017:
Please help! I have 2 males cats, brothers, now age 8 that have behavior issues that started about 2 years ago and have gotten worse. They are both neutered and had a healthy vet visit last month.
They were the best of friends for 6 years. My bigger cat, Tigger started more intense bullying the smaller cat Louie. Fights, hissing chasing. The behavioral vet recommended prozac for Tigger which we did for 1 1/2 years! He seemed sleepy and drugged out. We weaned him off the prozac.
Now the bullying is continuing and Louie has started spraying. I am freaked out that my house will become a litterbox!
Is there any other choice besides the prozac? We have tried to separate them in different areas but Tigger howls and Louie digs at the door like a maniac. There is definate stress. Can you recommend any other options? How do I stop the spraying?
L C David (author) from Florida on February 06, 2017:
They likely smell different from the groomers and cats do recognize each other. Give them a few days and they will be fine. And maybe skip the lion cut next time.
Karen Perry on January 31, 2017:
I have two male cats that came from the same litter and have been together for 4 years. They have always been very affectionate and loving toward each other until I decided to get them lion style haircuts. Taking them one at a time on different days it was like bringing a new cat into the home. I had never seen these two treat each other like total strangers before. I was totally surprised at the hossing and hiding from eachother.
L C David (author) from Florida on January 24, 2017:
First, inflicting any kind of pain including flicking the nose will only make the problem worse. I'd suggest stopping that. Second is the cat declawed? Declawed cats are often more aggressive because they feel more vulnerable. Cats are very particular and most aren't very patient with kids. It's best to keep her separate from the kid as it sounds like she is feeling stressed by the kid. It sounds like she's stressed in general, actually. With cats you have to work with them, not expect them to conform to unrealistic expectations. Listen to their body signals and allow them space to get out of situations if they don't want to be petted, held, played with etc. Give the cat positive attention with treats and toys (the cat fishing pole works great for playtime). Your cat may begin to relax more when she realizes that she is allowed to be herself and is not always worried about begin stressed out more by you or by other animals.
Tiffany Probus on January 24, 2017:
My boy cat is fine but my girl cat is 6 and she gets worse each year with attacking my dog when all she does is walk by. If we can't get this taken care of, tempted to get rid of her. We say no, spray her, flick her on the nose then she wants to attack me. Also, a kid I watch sometimes was trying to play with her then she attacked her. Now she runs if she she's the girl.
L C David (author) from Florida on January 22, 2017:
He looks different and smells funny from the groomer's powders and perfumes. Give that a few days to wear off and they should be back to being fine.
Nichole on January 19, 2017:
I have two 2 year old cats they came from the same liter and they are both fixed. I recently just had to get the boy cat groomed and shaved because he had alot of matted fur and wouldnt let me cut it out or brush him. Ever since i got him groomed his sister wont go near him and when she does shes growls and hisses at him. I dont know what to do. The boy cat looks so sad when his sister hisses because he doesnt know what he did wrong. Please help me
L C David (author) from Florida on December 21, 2016:
Interesting. I actually wonder if the male cat needs something to calm him down. No kidding I have a male cat that is on a low dose of Prozac and it has worked wonders for his temperament. I got him from a shelter and he was aggressive and a sprayer (even though neutered). He takes one pill a day and he is a much more calm and relaxed kitty and aggression has turned into playful bouts in the floor.
Just a thought. It's so strange that they got along and then something changed! Don't you wish you could talk to them and ask what's up?
StopChasing on December 19, 2016:
No, this doesn't seem like play aggression. They had a vicious fight and would not go near each other for quite a while after. We had had to slowly reintroduce them using a screen door to keep them from hurting each other. It took around a month before they wouldn't scream and growl at each other.
Now, though, it still doesn't look like play time. First, the boy is always the chaser, and he always chases her at the same time and to the same place. Second, she always hisses and growls at him, hiding under the bed instead of playing back. These cats got along just fine for a year and a half before their fight, and this looks nothing like what their old rough play looked like. They usually didn't vocalize during that play time and they also took turns chasing.
I would just let them reassert dominance and so on, but right now it's clear that the whole thing might escalate into a serious fight if left unchecked. The female is, at this point, quite wary of him in light of being hurt and frightened during their fights.
L C David (author) from Florida on December 18, 2016:
Are you sure it's not playing? Sometimes cat play looks an awful lot like fighting to humans (even the chasing an hiding). Do they both have claws? I would think if they are eating together then they are friends. They may be re-working out dominance but that's okay. Cats are strange sometimes and their play patterns are strange too. I have two adult cats who "fight" in the floor every night. Nipping and tumbling and kicking each other with their back feet. It's their nightly routine and they both seem to enjoy the "play aggression." Sometimes one will chase the other off somewhere and maybe under a bed. The usually signals that it's over.
L C David (author) from Florida on December 18, 2016:
Thanks for rescuing a senior cat. I have faced scenarios like what you are facing. What I would suggest is giving the cats breaks. Put the bully cat in a bedroom with litter box, water, etc. and give the originals the day out without the new cat. Play with them and give them treats. Another thing to try is to get a cat harness and leash and actually leash the bully sometimes and help pull her back when she starts bothering the other cats. Especially for a senior cat that may have been used to being an alpha, it may be that separation is the best thing. Six weeks isn't that long in adult cat adjustment period. They may still work it out.
StopChasing on December 17, 2016:
I was wondering if you have any input on my scenario. I have a pair of two year old cats, both fixed, that started suddenly fighting about three months ago. They are siblings. I have slowly reintroduced them and they are generally peaceful during feeding times. They will even hang around for ~25-30 minutes together working out all the kibble from a slow feeder puzzle that we use. The moment they are done eating, however, the male chases the female up the stairs and under the bed, where she'll usually stay hidden and/or drive him away from.
What can be done to reduce this aggression? They seem ok with each other until the instant that the food or play distraction goes away.
FurMom2323 on December 16, 2016:
We added a third cat to our two-cat household 6 weeks ago. The new cat (age 17) is a doll, amazing cat, wonderful with people...but she's a total bully with our other two. One of the originals is a big guy and brave enough to hold his own, but even there, she's causing problems - she stalks him and will sit and stare at him for half an hour...and then when he falls asleep, she will pounce on him, violently. So, he's miserable but dealing with it. But, our other girl is extremely timid - she immediately runs away in fear, which incites the new cat to chase her, and again, it's very violent. So our timid girl now basically lives inside the sofa, or inside our mattress boxspring, the only place she feels safe. I feel like we have ruined the two originals' lives, although we have succeeded in doing what we wanted to do for the new cat - rescuing an older cat. But at what cost? We have tried the spray bottle, chastising, we've tried locking the whole family (with us) in a room together for a few hours so they can have some peaceful time together...but it doesn't seem to help. The timid girl disappears at the very hint of the new girl, and even when we lock the new girl away for a few hours, the timid one stays hidden. If she comes out to get water or use the litter box, she literally looks over her shoulder in a panic. And in open space, she just runs away, and so all the time we spend in a confined room doesn't solve the problem of what happens in the rest of the house. I'm not sure we can live like this, where everyone has to be confined in a particular room, and half of our sweet babies are miserable. I know it takes time, but in 6 weeks, it's not gotten the slightest bit better with these two girls. I can't envision how it will, if the timid one continues to live in hiding. I'd love some suggestions!
L C David (author) from Florida on December 14, 2016:
Is the cat a kitten? If so, this is normal kitten behavior which will calm down over the next few months. In the meantime, keep the kitten's nails trimmed and give the dog some breaks by either crating the kitten or putting it in another room. They may turn out to be best friends.
Saffyre89 on December 12, 2016:
I have had my dog for 9 years and just introduced a kitty to the house about 4 months ago... they are not afraid of eachother all... but my cat likes to jump on the dogs back and "see how long he can ride" or bites at her tail and hind legs. The sog yips, yelps and barks at the cat and the cat leaves, but minutes later the cat is back at it again. I THINK my kitty is just trying to be playful, but doesnt realize it hurts the dogs tail when biting and such... I don't want my dog to live in fear of my kitty. I also dont want the dog to someday get fed up and hurt my kitty.
L C David (author) from Florida on December 04, 2016:
Try putting your cat in a room with the dog in a crate. Then try the opposite with the cat in the crate.
Natalie on November 28, 2016:
We've had a dog for about 4 years now, there's nothing wrong with her, she's the best dog we've ever had. So two days ago we brought home a cat. We are trying to take things slow. My dog is still trying to figure out what's happening so she tries to smell her face A LOT well the cat scratches her face every time and I understand that. Now (yes I realize it hasn't been long) the cat walks up to our dog and attacks her. Today my dog was just looking at her curiously trying to figure this out and the cat walks up to her hisses and attacks her stomach. I don't know what to do I know it hasn't been long and these things take time but I don't want my dog getting hurt.
L C David (author) from Florida on November 21, 2016:
That's a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
Julie Frary on November 08, 2016:
We had seven indoor cats that all happily lived together, In August 2016 our eldest cat Morgan sadly had to be put to sleep, Morgan was A beautiful big black and white tom cat.,very placid who kept the peace.
A few weeks later Chrystal decided she was boss and started to attack the other cats especially Sophie our tiny two tear old Selkirk Rex.
She was making her life miserable and kept attacking her.
We tried plug in cat calmer, calming drops to put on cats food and between the attacking cats eyes, but nothing seemed to have any real effect, even shutting her in solitary confinement.
Then I came up with the Idea to buy a collar for Chrystal with a noisy bell on it so Sophie would know where Chrystal was.
So far this seems to have worked it has been two weeks now with no more attacks,
Hopefully this will last!
L C David (author) from Florida on October 23, 2016:
Some cats will always be bullies. You can give her some relief by crating the bully cat for a few hours and giving her free roam or putting him in another room. You can also try getting a water spray bottle and giving him a light spray whenever he seems to be after her. Just be careful not to spray her or she will think she is being punished.
Nessa on October 06, 2016:
I have two cats which are about one year old one male and one female the mail being significantly larger than the female. The male cat constantly bullies the female cat who is now scared and petrified of everything. how can I stop her brother from terrorizing her and making her so scared of everything?
Gramby on October 25, 2015:
I have two cats in a 2BR apartment. Charlie is a 15lb black cat and Maggie is a much smaller (and older) tabby. Charlie has bullied Maggie and tried to dominate her since he was a kitten, even after he got neutered. That I don't worry about too much. What worries me is his behaviour towards my kids. I have four kids that stay with me every other weekend, and my youngest two are afraid of him. He'll lay in the middle of the kitchen floor or the middle of the hallway or right in front of the bathroom door and attack their feet as they walk past. He's as sweet as the day is long to me, but he's an asshole to my kids, and I won't stand for it. I get that he's territorial, and I get that my kids are like constant strangers to him. But I won't stand for this behaviour from him. I've tried the squirt bottle and grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and giving him a firm "no," but I'm also at work 8 hours a day, and so when I'm gone he does whatever he wants. I'm getting really tired of my kids being afraid of him, and I need to break him of this behaviour.
Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on May 23, 2014:
Who says you're crazy?? I used to have 6! lol My family calls me the cat lady! lol
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 22, 2014:
L.C. I fear 2 of my 3 if not all are ill in some way. Someone is peeing on my furniture (including bare wood) and pooping on my ceramic tile. I've not been able to determine who's doing it. The sad thing is, I've not been able to keep up with their vet appointment for the last two years due to financial strains. It kills me that I may be killing my cats.
Debra Allen from West By God on May 22, 2014:
I have had the totem pole rearranged several times as each pet passes away. I have a bully cat or shall I saw two of them. It is always interesting in this house and outside as I have two indoor/outdoor cats and a total outdoor cat. All of them are fixed. I also have a big dogs that was bullied by a cat that since has passed away. The dog finally had enough of her and barked at her and she never bothered him after that. Thanks for the helpful advice.
L C David (author) from Florida on May 22, 2014:
Hope all is well with your male cat. Maybe he is just pouting because you are busy but don't forget that behavior change can also signal illness.
I love how cats, even though they are small compared to most dogs, can really hold their own---especially if they have claws.
I'm so glad you stopped by bravewarrior.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 22, 2014:
L.C., my male cat came into the fold about 8 months after I adopted my two (sisters) girl rescues. He's purebred; they are not. Although he was the last of the brood and they are all fixed, he sometimes bullies my girls. Maybe it's just a guy thing. Lately, he's taken to staying in the laundry room and doesn't bother anyone. He doesn't even come out for human lovin'. That may be because I'm not working (freelance) steadily and don't have as much time to socialize.
When I was a little girl, we had a cat and a German Shepherd. The Shepard was very territorial and could be mean. One day my cat laid on her back and put her claws though the dog's eyelid. She never bothered the cat again!
L C David (author) from Florida on May 21, 2014:
Thanks for stopping by Ann1Az2. Yes, you can't even tell what cats will be like from the same family. I have also noticed that cat's personalities change over time so even if they don't get along when they are younger, they sometimes mellow out when they are older (or vice versa). I'm glad to see others with four cats. I don't feel quite so crazy with my 5!