new cat bullying our other cat - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 15
new cat bullying our other cat

I apologize in advance for this long post...

My wife and I recently adopted three cats and we are having some behavioral issues with one of them that might be getting worse. It's kind of a long story but I'll try to provide the background info as best I can.

During the last week of October, my wife and I adopted a 2 year old neutered male cat (Peanut) from a shelter. We knew he had a grade 3 heart murmur when we adopted him and that it was going to be a gamble on whether or not he would have any issues with it down the road. He had a lot of energy and played almost all day and hardly ever slept or kept still for very long. He wasn't a lap cat but he loved being around us and had a pretty unique personality. Anyway, after doing some further testing the vet discovered he had a right to left PDA shunt. It's a pretty rare defect with his heart that but basically it means that an artery in his heart never closed off when he was born. Since it stayed open, not all of the blood his heart pumps is getting pumped to his lungs for oxygen. The side effects are his muscles won't get enough oxygen and he could have trouble breathing or become lethargic. His body will also produce extra white blood cells which will thicken his blood and could cause problems. There is no cure for his condition, no surgery that could be done an any medication would only help a small amount. Not sure how long he has but the Dr. felt that since he is only two years old there is a very high chance he will see symptoms from this down the road. Not sure if that means months or years.

Anyway, we decided before his diagnosis that we wanted another cat (hopefully one that would be a lap cat) but we decided to get two cats. We figured that if we only adopted one more cat and something happened to Peanut in a couple years it would be much harder to introduce a new cat then.

So we adopted two 1 year old spayed females (Wilma and Bug). They didn't live together before but they got along fine at the shelter. Wilma is a bigger cat (but not fat) and bug is pretty small. We isolated them in a bedroom during the first week and introduced them to Peanut through a baby gate while we fed them. During these introductions we didn't have problems. There was only very minor hissing by Bug the first couple days but Peanut didn't seem to really care about the two new cats. A week later we were thinking of letting them loose but a day before we were going to do it, Wilma escaped the bedroom. She ran up to Peanut and sniffed him but everything went well. No hissing/growling/spatting. The first couple days they pretty much avoided each other.

Peanut and Bug pretty much avoid each other (but they have no problem sharing the bay window) and after the first week, Peanut and Wilma seemed to be getting along very well. They would play together and follow each other around. We didn't witness any hostility between them. The last week has been a different story.

A couple days ago, Peanut was playing in a cardboard cube box with holes on all four sides with a fishing pole toy. He was inside the box while Wilma was on the outside investigating. Wilma was sticking her paws in the box trying to play with Peanut but then Peanut started growling pretty loudly. After this happened a couple times I figured it might be a territorial issue involving the box, so I took it away. A few minutes later Peanut was still playing with the fishing pole toy and started growling at Wilma again. Wilma didn't seem to be doing anything other than getting a little close to him. I took the toy away and that ended the growling.

We have also seen Wilma chase Peanut into the bedroom and Peanut goes under the bed to hide from her. He comes out though as soon as we go in the room.

Then last night I was in bed just about to fall asleep. Peanut was sleeping on the bed and all of a sudden I heard growling and then heard Peanut jump off the bed and I saw Wilma in the doorway. After Wilma left I put Peanut back on the bed. The same thing happened again about ten minutes later and one more time after that. At that point I had enough so I closed the bedroom door and kept Peanut in the room with me. There is an extra litter box/food/water in the room so it wasn't a big deal to keep him locked in the room with me. Wilma kept meowing and clawing at the door to try and get in off and on all night.

I don't understand why there we fine at first and now Wilma is bullying Peanut. We almost expected the opposite to happen because Peanut was always playing when we first got him. We are starting to get concerned that Peanut isn't as active (as a result of his condition) and he is getting defensive when Wilma trys to play with him. I'm not sure if that's what the issue was last night though because it was almost like Peanut started to growl as soon as Wilma came in the bedroom.'

Anyone have any tips? Is it normal for cats to get along the first couple weeks and then have one of them start bullying the other one?
BrewCityBuckeye is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Posts: 1,700
I can't be sure that this is what is going on, but unfortunately animals will sometimes bully a weaker animal because they realize something is 'off' or not quite right with that animal. It seems really sad that this could be the case, but hopefully not - there might be another explanation. It's just that I have a friend who lost a kitten to FIP a few months ago, and when this kitten started getting weakened but before they knew what was wrong, her other kitten and her dog - both of whom had interacted fine with the kitten before it got sick - started to pick on her and my friend had to separate them.

The bottom line for me would be that I couldn't let Peanut get picked on because he has enough problems already, so if it does turn out that Wilma is the aggressor and it can't be resolved without a lot of extra stress on Peanut, personally I would have to rehome her. From your description, it almost sounds like Peanut is the aggressor, but it's not unusual for another cat's body language/attitude to provoke a defensive response like you describe in Peanut.
Heather72754 is offline  
post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-18-2014, 02:18 PM
Premier Cat
catloverami's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,138
Yes, it's normal. Wilma now feels comfortable in her new territory, and has decided she's going to be the boss cat and that's why she's going after Peanut. She's already bonded with Bug, so he is no threat to her. Peanut isn't standing up for himself and letting himself be bullied. So he's starting to become afraid of her by growling when he just sees her in the door way, hoping to scare her away. It's also possible that Wilma has sensed that Peanut is "weaker" physically. What to do? Well, I think you do have to look out for Peanut since he won't (or can't?) do it himself. To let them just be, could hasten a deterioration of his heart problem. So, I would keep them separated if you can't supervise them closely, e.g. at night. During the day you could have active play with all three of them with a wand toy, like "Da Bird", flicking it from one to the other, and feed them treats together, so that they come to know good things happen when they play nicely together. Some cats will give up bullying, but others won't and can make another cat's life a misery. Since Wilma is now top cat in your house, treat her that way. Give her some extra one-on-one attention away from the other cats. Feed her first. If she looks like she's about to go after Peanut, call her to yourself, and give her a toy, paper/ball, to distract her from her mission. She also may be jealous of Peanut getting to sleep with you and this could be a reason for her bullying. If she's treated very well, she may not feel the need to bully...let's hope so.

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."

Last edited by catloverami; 12-18-2014 at 02:20 PM.
catloverami is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome