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Kitty on Kitty Agression

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  • Kitty on Kitty Agression

    I have 5 cats, all indoor, all spayed or neutered. Jemima is a semi-feral who mostly lives in my (large) bathroom because she is very shy and the other cats will pick on her. The other cats, in order of aquisition are:

    Elvis, 5 year old, neutered tuxedo male, very big cat probably weighs around 15#. Elvis is the boss cat of the pride.

    Zoey, 4 year old dilute calico spayed female. She's also a pretty good sized cat. She is my cat, always wants to be with me, very people oriented and snuggly.

    Minerva, 5 year old tortie. She is a small cat 5-6#, a somewhat picky eater. Snuggles on her terms.

    The Cat Sith, year old orange and white neutered male. He is also pretty large and very snuggly when he wants to be.

    Untli about a month or so ago, all the kitties got along very well. There were the occasional spats but nothing very serious. Now, all of a sudden, Elvis, The Cat Sith and to a lesser extent Zoey are picking on poor Minerva. She has taken to hiding on top of the cabinets and is peeing and pooping outside the litter box because IMHO, she's afraid to go use them. This is more than just a passing kitty spat, it has gotten serious. I have more than once had to knock Elvis or The Sith off the refridgerator or cabinet to stop them from harassing Minerva. Yesterday, Elvis attacked her so severly that she lost bladder control and peed during the attack. I had to put her in a separate room. Minerva has also lost weight because the other cats are keeping her from the dry food and she only picks at the canned food I give them. I should add that Elvis, Minerva and Zoey have been together several years. Elvis and Zoey were kittens when I got them while Minerva was a young adult. The trouble started when The Cat Sith reached maturity. That is how he got his name, for a Celtic demon in the shape of a cat. However, The Sith doesn't always instigate the attacks on Minerva. The Sith and Elvis sometimes get into it but its more of a wrestling match than a real fight.

    So, if you'v made it through this ramble, any ideas? I've thought of getting a separate litter box and confining Minerva to my room. I've also thought about getting one of those calming collars for her and hoping it would make her tormentors less likely to attack her. All suggestions welcome.
    I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.

  • #2
    Yes to all of that. Extra boxes, extra feeding stations, separation when you aren't able to diffuse trouble brewing. You also might investigate some of the topical kitty-prozac that can be rubbed on an ear, and use it on the leader of the gang.

    You may have to go back to square one and treat Minerva as though she were a brand new cat in the house, doing the whole introduction-in-stages dance. The option might be to isolate the gang leader long enough that he/she doesn't feel like that's HIS (or her?) territory, and he gets bumped down a peg.

    The other thing you might want to do is get a vet check for Minerva. If she's not feeling quite herself she may be sending weak-cat signals that encourage the others to pick on her.

    If all this doesn't work, a new home for someone (Sith or Minerva, probably) may be the only answer to everyone's happiness


    • #3
      This might sound crazy but it worked in my 6 cat household that included my version of your Minerva. She's shy and lives in the bathroom b/c she knows she will see me on a regular basis in there! LOL

      The cats have always beat up on Blackie (my Minerva) and I just manage it but on accident I made everyone love each other.

      One of the cats found a huge paper bag full of catnip that my mom had given me and I forgot about. The bag fell off a shelf and onto one of their big cat beds in the bathroom, of all places. They destroyed it to the point where they were literally rolling in cat nip shreds when I found what they'd done so I left it. Each cat in the household would find time to roll on that bed that was in Blackie's territory and half the time Blackie was still right there.

      It was a "Make Love, Not War" sort of transition. It eliminated the aggression and fighting and made everyone happy and friendly. It lasted as long as the cat nip was in that bed. I think just having the cat nip around made them all a lot happier. Go figure!

      Can't hurt, might help a bit.
      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


      • #4
        There is little to be done but separating poor Minerva. We have a forever kitty, as we call her. Her growth was stunted as a kitty due to malnutrition & she is the low woman on the totem pole. 4 out of 5 of our cats mess with her, stalk, chase, etc. She now lives in our bedroom & is only allowed to co-mingle when we are present. She doesn't seem to mind, especially because she gets to sleep with us. We do punish the bad behavior, but they're sneaky about it. I'd section off an area for her as a safe place. Perhaps she can hang with Jemima?


        • #5
          I'm dealing with pretty much the same thing. All 3 of my red cats pick on poor old Sheba. It got bad enough that Sheba starting peeing inappropriately. I can't get mad at her, she doesn't mean to do it - she's just so stressed. So now I have Sheba confined to my spare bedroom. I put hinges on a screen door and attached it to the doorway. Sheba can see out, but she knows she's perfectly safe in there. Actually she's got the best deal, she has a private litterbox, private food and water, and because that's where the computer is, she has my company a lot. It's a little inconvenient for me but that's ok.


          • #6
            Two of my older cats decided to suddenly wage war on each other last month. One was hiding most of the time, and the other strutted around like a rooster.

            I picked up two of the feline pheromone collars ($11.99 each at Petsmart), gave them each one, and things had gone back to normal within a week. (But I now keep the collars on them all the time, just in case.)

            My only worry is that they feel like an old-time flea collar and won't break if they get hung up on something, so I have them loose enough to come off in an emergency.
            "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive


            • #7
              Oh, the poor girl! I don't have anything to add to all the good advice so far. Pheromone collars?!? Didn't know they made those.
              What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


              • #8
                Oh man I thought that I was the only one with this situation. My picked on kitty is Hailey a very cute little (runt) calico that has been banished to the upstairs. She now has her own litter box and food/water upstairs. The other cats also come upstairs but for the most part they are fine only if she stays upstairs. If she comes down all the boys chase her back upstairs. It is very sad and being that she is such a loving social cat I think that it is hard for her. We try to make sure and watch TV upstairs in bed with her so she gets her human time but she would be so much happier if she could be part of the group.

                The main instigator is Cashie a neutered orange and white kitty who is very intelligent. He is very jealous of all the cats and has actually tried to banish all the kitties upstairs but only Hailey has complied. I think that he would be happy as an only kitty. He also hides the other cats toys under the stove so they have nothing to pay with. Sadly Cashie is my favorite and he knows it. He does get disciplined for this behavior but it continues..........

                No advice but I sure can relate.......hopefully someone will have an answer to help all of us
                RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                RIP San Lena Peppy
                May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


                • #9
                  We tried adding a fourth cat a few years ago--a super sweet Maine coon female. We introduced her slowly, everything seemed okay at first, she got along well with one of our two males--but the other male and especially our female cat started attacking her like hell-demons. The problem was that she wouldn't fight back at all--she's just scream and try to hide, and they'd hunt her. We started keeping her separately in the attic and then locking the demon cats in the basement for a couple hours a day so she could come out, but occasionally if a door got left open she would still get attacked. She would get so panicky she'd defecate. We doped the heck out of the two demon cats (Prozac), Feliway'd everything... nothing worked. Gave her to my parents, and she was still scared around their very calm and laid-back Maine coon and their dog (who was terrified of cats). Finally gave her to my brother, where she's an only cat, and she's still nervous but much better.

                  So I wish I had better advice, but in my case, it seemed better to find her a new home as an only cat--she would never have been happy and I really think my female cat would have killed her at some point.
                  "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                  Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                  • #10
                    I am so glad I am not the only one with segregated cats!!

                    I had Ziggy and Zoey first, then got Spooky and Squeaky. Squeaky is massive and hates most other cats, even her partner Spooky off and on.

                    I don't think we did a great job introducing the new pair to the old pair, so the S cats ended up in my bedroom with attached bath/closet and the Z cats had the rest of the house. Ziggy is not nice to the S cats but Zoey got a point where she was allowed in our bedroom and all three of them (S cats plus Zoey) could be on the bed at the same time.

                    Then Zoey got sick, and died (cancer- at only 8- still miss her everyday) and then I got a new cat, a semi-feral, named Diva. Diva and Ziggy get along wonderfully. They play all the time. Partially because Diva is VERY active, and submissive to Ziggy Puff.

                    Spooky would really like a more playful playmate, since Squeaky does not really like playing or moving really. But now he's used to hiding as soon as he sees another cat outside the door, because Ziggy is mean them, so he hasn't really met Diva.

                    Now enter the Batcat (featured on my thread about 10 year old unspayed female cat with mammary tumor given to me by an older relative). She started by herself, but has quickly become part of the downstairs group including Ziggy and Diva. She has NO interest in cat on cat playing, and we diffuse any growling/hissing interactions between Batcat and the Ziggy Puff.

                    So now I have two cats, the S cats, living in my bedroom, and the other 3 in the rest of the house.

                    I have seriously considered writing to the guy on "My Cat from Hell."

                    I can't even identify the problem. Is it Squeaky? Ziggy? Or the cowardice in Spooky? AGHHHHH


                    • #11
                      I love the guy, Jackson, on "My cat from Hell"!

                      On one of his shows, he said that cats who act like prey will be treated like prey. Because he lives in CA, I have not asked for help with our 4 cats.

                      We have resolved it by keeping the girl kitties, Katia and Taiga, in our bedroom/master bath during the day. They have their own kitty litter box in there. The boys, Bo Jackson and Raccoon, get the run of the house during the day. There are kitty boxes in the computer room and half bath. At night, the boys go into the computer room and the girls get the run of the house.

                      Of course, right now, Bo Jackson is confined to a crate in the computer room and Raccoon is on his own.
                      When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                      • #12
                        also segregated kitties here but I have hopes it will not be permanent!

                        My main man, little Mr. I-Don't-Poop-Regularly (IDPR) got along well with one of my older females. They became quite bonded. Chased the "prey" female mercilessly, so now she lives with my mother in total luxury. Then my husband got a nice big mellow orange kitty and Mr. IDPR just attacked him. Whenever they were together. He would cruise around for a minute, then just paste the nice kitty. Gave nice kitty an abscess (I think) and it blew, leaving nice kitty with a nickel size hole in his chest. Mr. IDPR's girlfriend died and he was worse, attacking me. And I was not, sadly, very helpful to him. I am ashamed to admit I used a water bottle and made things worse (thankfully it was only a few times, but still. Not good).

                        Now segregated and there is peace in the valley. Both are loved and played with and all that. I would love the screen door idea where I can feed them in front of it. We have tried pheromone collars and "calm" pills and pheromone plug in things. had one vet even mention removing Mr. IDPR's canines (ain't gonna happen). But at least he is not attacking anyone and is loving and so affectionate.

                        The segregation thing isn't awful; everyone gets out and loved on and of course Mr. IDPR gets to sleep with us which he adores. But, I would love an integrated household. Someday. Sigh.

                        And I LOVE My Cat From Hell and Jackson!!! Some of those stories make me cry how he connects with the animals (and people!) I too have wondered if his film crew might not like a little trip...to montana.


                        • #13
                          On one of his shows, he said that cats who act like prey will be treated like prey. Because he lives in CA, I have not asked for help with our 4 cats.

                          That's how I feel about Sheba. I have always said that she has the word "victim" written on her forehead. She acts like a victim, therefore she is a victim. If she ever stood up for herself, I think she'd be fine.


                          • #14
                            I second getting her checked to see if she's at all sick. It's amazing how cat relations in my house (three neutered males, one spayed female) have improved since P.C., the most recent addition and a very small male, finally beat his chronic ear infection (he didn't take well to the Cone of Shame, so he would scratch/reinfect until we zapped him with an injected antibiotic and two rounds of a serious topical.) Now that he's healthy, he doesn't so much fight back as read the cues from the other cats better. He used to have trouble differentiating between the female, who's a similar size and age, wanting to play and an attack, and he has gotten much better at staying out of the males' way.
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