Cats/He's a Bully!
QUESTION: Hey there! So heres my situation. I have an almost 6 year old, short hair,
spayed female indoor only, always the princess kitty. Her name is Macie and
i've raised her since the first week she was born. ( she had been dropped off
at an animal shelter before her eyes and ears even opened.) Shes a beautiful
girl, but not so friendly to anyone other then myself and my mother. About a
year and a half ago, my stepfather decided he wanted another cat of his own
when he realized that Macie wanted nothing to do with him, so he adopted
Milo. Milo is about 4 years old,spayed and has been living in our house for
almost two years. When we first introduced him, he was lively and young and
naturally overwhelming to Macie, not to mention about twice her size. She
wouldnt come near him for months. She would hiss and spit and sometimes
lunge and then run away from him, and boy was he scared of her. I guess we
assumed that shed be the boss and he would be the silly younger cat who
pestered his big sister for kicks. As Macie adapted to him, she came out of
hiding and they do now stay in the same rooms and even head nuzzle once in
a blue moon if theres food to be served, But the problem is now poor Macie
is the only one ever being chased. Milo has become a lazy, but extremely
dominant bully. Milo corners Macie daily. He eats her food over his, ( exactly
the same food) , he has refused the bed we have for him and taken over her
bed and is constantly challenging her, hovering over her and making her
literally underneath him. Once of Macies favorite things to do was to always
drink out of the faucets. Milo refuses to let her do that alone and when the
water turns on, he bolts for the sinks and Macie leaves. Funny part is he wont
even drink the water, he just sits there and plays with it. Its become a huge
upset in our house between people and animal. I am lost because it seems as
if Macie isnt getting her fair share of any of the benefits of being a lazy ,
loving house cat. Im worried that she is stressed further than need be and
that Milo is living the life that isnt only his. How can I cut the dominance so
that both cats are equal and Macie gets a little of her life back? Please help.
well the quick answer is you can't. Unlike humans who can be taught how to behave, cats react on instinct and in this case the male cat (as he is getting older) has decided that he wants to be boss, this is normal in a two cat house for one cat to be dominant.
usually what happens is the cats make a decision to either except the situation ie like your female cat has, or to fight back and try and regain dominance.
It really is up to your female cat as to how much dominance she gives the male cat. It really does sound like she is prepared to put up with his behaviour otherwise she would fight back.
What often looks like bullying and aggression to us is simply normal cat behaviour and instincts. It is more likely that you are more upset by the behaviour than your female cats is. This is a normal thing for us humans to do, ie put our own emotions and behaviours onto our cats. don't worry, as long as both your cats are being cared for by you and are happy to stay (after all they choose to stay, they would soon let us know if they wanted out), then things will probably settle down into a new routine over time.
I have some web pages about cat behaviours etc on my website here http://www.our-happy-cat.com/cat-behavior.html
best wishes Kate
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: I will definitely check out your site and see what other little things i can do to
make them more at ease with each other. I also wonder.. my mom calls me crazy
and says no way, but do you think that moving his food bowl away from hers
permanently and giving them separate litter boxes, and perhaps even buying 2
new identical beds would give her maybe a little more food and confidence?
cats should always have their own litter trays anyway as it is very intimidating for them to use somewhere with another cats scent. they should also not be too near each other,
Also giving each cat there own things and space etc can help greatly in some cases. well we all like our own space and things don't we.
best wishes Kate