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Interesting cat behavior... any theories?

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  • Interesting cat behavior... any theories?

    Not that this is a serious problem, but I'm just curious about what exactly my cats think they're doing. Any input would be appreciated.

    Finch - 4 year old female DSH, adopted from a shelter at ~6 months. Finch has always been very outgoing and very friendly. This cat have never bitten, scratched, or hissed at a person in her time with us. I'm am being completely truthful, even with the vets. Even last year, when she was diagnosed with a heart murmur and hypercalciema (sp?) and was at the hospital over half a dozen times in about 4 months, she never became aggressive. She is the same, more or less, towards our other female, Eddie. They have engaged in play fighting, but Finch is usually the one on the bottom. No blood drawn or hairy pulling.

    A few months back, my mom was going out of the side door of the house. Our neighbor's cat, Max, was in the grass between our houses. He is regularly outside and our cats have seen him since they came here. Finch had seen him face-to-face mulitple times when out on her leash. Never an issue. They practically ignored eachother. Anyway, as my mom stepped out the door, Finch shot around her legs and tackled Max. My mom was not touching him or feeding him and was not even aware that Finch was so close. She hollered at Finch and she either stopped and ran back into the house or stopped and my mom was able to grab her -- can't remember. No one was hurt.

    More recently, I had Finch out on her leash and Erma was on our back porch. Erma is an intact male that is somewhat "stray". He is cared for my our neighbors, Max's owners, since he showed up a few years ago. He will not stay in their house yet and we have not had an opportunity to catch him to take him to a clinic for neutering... plan still in the works. They have seen eachother many times and he is not aggressive to cats or people. Finch never showed any interest in him. However, this one evening when she saw him, she lunged at him. Luckily, since she is on a retractable leash I stopped her. She made no noises and gave no warning. We haven't had any issues since.

    Eddie - 5 year old female DSH, adopted from the same shelter at around the same age. Eddie is epileptic, but is medicated and seizure-free. Eddie was with us for about 9 months before we got Finch. When we got Finch Eddie seemed to show some dominating behavior towards her. I found Finch once crouched under the coffee table, looking rather un-bothered though, while Eddie sat at one end staring at her as if she was holding Finch under there. Eddie would often instigate their little wrestling matches by coming up behind Finch and literally wrapping her little arm around her shoulders and pushing her down. Finch never seemed frightened and would play along and lay there and poke Ed in the chest until she reacted. If someone squeeled we broke it up right away. Neither of them have ever acted afraid of the other.

    However -- and I can't honestly tell you how long this has been happening, easily a year or more -- Eddie often tries to hit or bite Finch when they are waiting for breakfast. My moms feeds them breakfast and the two of them wait by their bowls while she dishes out the food and meds. Finch usually is just sitting there watching my mom. Eddie shows up and sits down next to Finch. Without any warning Eddie will either A. raise up one paw and whap Finch on top of the head or B. beging licking Finch's head and then bite the top of her head or her ear. Finch is never doing anything to Ed when this starts and despite my mom yelling at Ed and shooing her away, Finch does not run away or seem very bothered by any of it. We've theorized that perhaps Eddie does not like that Finch basically ignores her and hits at her to get some acknowledgement or respect. Finch sometimes seems receptive to Eddie's grooming, but when Ed goes to bite she will swat her away. Eddie will leave her alone then. Other times, Finch will move away when Ed tries to lick her.

    Like I said, neither of them has ever hurt the other or the neighboring cats. But what the heck are they doing?! While it's pretty entertaining to see Eddie act like the bossy big sister while Finch just totally blows her off, we wonder what they're thinking.

  • #2
    Love your story, very cute!

    No advice here. I grew up around a lot of cats, and the "biting" is really common. Cats can make a serious impact, if they want to. The licking/then biting seems really common, maybe more cat people will give insight. If one of them really didn't like the other, you'd know.
    As for attacking the cat outside.. cats are sneaky and quiet. They see what people don't.


    • #3
      Finch is maturing and gaining in confidence. Cats are all about territory and Finch has realized that Max and Erma are impinging on her territory. Best to prevent her getting any more chances to express herself to those outside cats, might not end well.
      Finch/Eddie interactions not alarming unless it escalates.
      Borrow a trap if you can to address that Erma situation.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by HPFarmette View Post
        Finch is maturing and gaining in confidence. Cats are all about territory and Finch has realized that Max and Erma are impinging on her territory. Best to prevent her getting any more chances to express herself to those outside cats, might not end well.
        Finch/Eddie interactions not alarming unless it escalates.
        Borrow a trap if you can to address that Erma situation.

        Erma is able to handled, so one of us could just grab him in a towel and plop him a crate. The crate in mind is sitting in the basement right now. lol It's a scheduling issue. The clinic that handles ferals requires that they be dropped off my 8am. o_0 Erma is not always present when our neighbor puts his food out. We don't really have a way of making sure he is home in the morning other than catching and confining him the night before, which would case him a lot of stress. My mom and I need to discuss it with her again since I am home from college and would be willing to help her if we can grab him some morning.