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Dominant Cat Dictates Where Other Cat Is Allowed to Go in House/Bed

by Pat Morten

Hello Dr. Chris


I have been trying to research options to dealing with my cat's behavior but have not found reference to what we are experiencing.

I adopted two cats, a brother and sister when they were kittens. The boy grew quite large while the female, who was the runt of the litter has remained small.

The cat behavior issues:

The brother appears to dictate what the sister can/ cannot do and at times beats up on her.

He appears to be very rough in nature and plays too hard.

He controls the bedroom and she will not sleep on the bed, nor come in when he’s there.

She appears to me to be stressed, often looking for where he is.

I feel bad she sleeps alone.

Do you have any suggestions of how I can work with them to get him to not be such a bully and for her to calm.

Any information/ suggestions is appreciated.

I feel that I may have to find alternative quarters for him so she will have a better quality of life.

Thank you,

Pat

***************************
ANSWER:

Hi Pat,

This is a very normal issue with cats. They will always be one dominant cat in the house who seems to dictate where other cats can be.

For example our dominant cat, when she is on the bed, the other cat will not jump on the bed. Similar to your situation. This has gotten better as the younger cat has gotten older. But I've seen this happen in multi-cat households again and again.

Animals have a very natural hierarchy. One animal will always be more dominant than the other ones, that is just the way it is.

One way to try and improve the female cat's status would be to try and show her more attention and to put her on the bed with you. Because she will obviously not jump up on the bed by herself.

Try and make the female cat more of a priority than the male cat. Once the male cat sees that the female cat is accepted by you, he may start to accept her more as well.

Often times it gets to the point where the cat simply has to stand up for itself against the dominant cat. Once the dominant cat sees that the other cats won't take any more bullying, they usually back off a little.

Thanks,

Dr. Chris

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