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Cats/Brother Jealousy?


About four months ago I adopted my two boys, Sacco and Vanzetti.  They're nearly one year old brown tabbies, littermates.  As soon as they switched from the humane society to my apartment, their personalities changed.  Vanzetti was a bully who had to be separated from the other cats; today he is a meek submissive beta cat.  His brother Sacco consistently "beats him up," bites his neck, sits on top of him when he's sleeping in the cat condo, etc.  As far as I can tell, this is all perfectly normal behavior.  But one thing - a pretty major thing - is really getting to me.  Vanzetti will not be affectionate with me if Sacco is in the room.  I will be petting him and he will be in heaven and then Sacco saunters into the room and Vanzetti snaps up rigidly and sits at the end of the bed, or even leaves the room.  If we're watching TV and I'm stroking him, he repeatedly checks Sacco's perch to see if he's sleeping.  It's rubbing off on me and now I'm paranoid!  Whenever I touch Vanzetti I look over my shoulder to make sure Sacco isn't watching.  Sacco gets very moody and depressed and he hasn't been the same.  I've been favoring his dominance, giving him more attention, etc, and his mood swings are getting a little better, but I cannot see Vanzetti letting himself go while I stroke him as long as Sacco is around.  I shut the door with Vanzetti in the room, we have our cuddle time, but as soon as Sacco starts crying outside, Vanzetti runs and sits by the door.  Play time over.  It's driving me nuts.  I want an open household where we can all be affectionate in peace.  I hate to admit it, but I'm considering finding a new home for the bully.  I'd rather not -- the boys love each other, groom each other, play together.  But they also fight.  A lot.  And if Vanzetti even looks at a mouse toy when Sacco is around... big trouble.  So I'll wrap this up now -- I don't mind that Sacco is dominant and kicks Vanzetti out of all of his sleeping places.  That seems normal enough.  But I can't stand only being affectionate with my other kitty in private.  Enough is enough!  Thanks so much in advance for your help.

well this sounds all very normal behavior. I don't know if they are neutered or not, but if they are not this will make them more competitive.
basically the behavior is all about territory and dominance, especially if the cats only have an apartment to live in, so the territory is small and this will mean constant rivalry. As i say this is completely normal.

If they are not neutered it may help to get them both done and see if this helps the situation. Other wise i think your decision to re home one of the cats may be the best solution for  you all.

Best wishes


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Kate Tilmouth


I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.


I run my own cat website at and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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