Need some advice about dominant/submissive cat behavior
Hi everyone, I’m a first-time poster. I’m hoping you may have some ideas to help me with a kitty problem. We have 2 cats, Kayla & Ripley, both female, both 3 years old, from separate litters. We adopted them at the same time and they were the same age, but from different shelters. After an initial adjustment they got along fine, cuddled together, etc.
Over the past year or so a definite hierarchy has been established. Kayla is the definitely dominant cat. While they both usually play together and get along fine, Kayla is increasingly demanding of sole attention from me and my husband. She has basically taken control of the upper floor of our house which includes our bedroom and the living room where we spend a lot of our time. If Ripley tries to come upstairs, Kayla will jump out, startle her, and chase her downstairs. When we try to control her behavior she stares at Ripley until Ripley just runs away anyway. We do reprimand her strongly when she does it, but “No!” to a cat just doesn’t seem to make much of an impression on them.
It is heartbreaking because Ripley spends most of her time in the evening downstairs in the kitchen or in the basement by herself. We try our best to encourage her to come upstairs and give her lots of attention when we’re downstairs, but I’m hoping there’s something else we can do. I’ve heard that cats are actually more comfortable when they have a dominant and submissive cat established, so I’m afraid that taking action that’s too drastic may cause more problems. And the cats get along at other times, its not unusual for me to come home and find them sleeping somewhere together, they groom each other, etc.
Oh, I should also mention that this behavior is much worse when I’m around. Typically, if only my husband is home, the cats will both hang out with him in the living room together without a problem. Kayla still patrols the bedroom though. Kayla is kind of “his” cat, while Ripley is more “mine”. They seemed to each pick a favorite person when they were still kittens. The only thing I can think of is that Kayla wants to be #1 with me and my husband. I don’t know what to do, and I’m worried that Ripley isn’t getting the love and attention she deserves. Any ideas?