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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
.....and exerting dominance.

I'm at a loss on what to do with Shepherd Book. I can deal with him CONSTANTLY testing his boundaries with me, but he's starting to really effect MowMow's quality of life this past few months.

He's always got one eye on MowMow and he will NOT be distracted when he's intent on him. If MowMow walks by him Book doesn't just grab at his legs in the playful way he used to, now he jumps om his back. MowMow cries and runs. Of course the minute he runs it's 'game on' for Book who chases him until MowMow gets up on something high. MowMow USED to beat him up when he acted like that but he seems to have just given up.

Now it's effecting his litter box use. He's constantly dive bombing him when he's coming out of the box and that's IF he doesn't chase him away before he even gets there. MowMow jumps up onto the bed just before I leave for work and settles down in the pillows where he is surrounded on three sides and stays there until I get home 8+ hours later. When I get home I go say hi to him and I act as lookout while he pees (a LOT) and then spend the night squirting the kitten or chasing him off everytime MowMow tries to move around the house or use the box again. I can't lock the kitten in one room because he rips the carpeting up under the door (even with a remnant under it, he pulls the remnant out and digs at the real carpeting). He also SCREAMS and I've had two neighbor complaints, one more and I get kicked out.

It really doesn't look playful now, it looks like hes's out to pound the old man. I can live with the food stealing, it makes me keep the place clean. I can deal with him pushing my boundaries, but if he diminished MowMow's quality of life in ANY way that he won't grow out of, he's gonna have to go. Which really sucks. I'm SUPER attached to him and he's such a love bug.

I just have NO idea how to teach him MowMow is off limits. Distracting him doesn't work. I can throw all his toys but if he wants Mow he has an intense focus that won't be broken. I have to lock him up while I get their food ready or he attacks MowMow (who just stands quietly by his own placemat and waits patiently) and chases him under my desk.

Any ideas on how to turn the dominance tables on a 1 year old cat?


Even just now while I was typing Mow came over and acted sassy and rolled over for tickles. I was tickling his belly and he was mock rabbit kicking me. I didn't see the kitten sneak behind the desk to rush him and smack the crap out of him. Now Mow is under the desk and of course the kitten took off and is laying just out of my reach.
 

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Animal Planet's Jackson Galaxy has done a couple of episodes on this type of behavior. His opinion is that frquently the dominant cat has begun to view the submissive as prey which is why this becomes so difficult to break as a habit. You may find you actually need to separate them and then reintroduce. I suggest you get on AP's web sit and watch the episodes dealing with this problem. As always you need to go slow and consistant. There is rarely a quick fix for behavior issues, but obviously it will be well worth it in the end. GL B
 

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SB is just coming into his own at his age now and is being a bully. The difference now is that MowMow recognizes and realizes his strength and either cannot or will not fight back the way he used to and is showing depression and fear. Did you read the thread about Peanut? this is a similar situation to yours. I think you should try what I recommended in my comment (#7) in the other thread: http://www.catforum.com/forum/37-behavior/153018-peanut-again.html If that does not work with SB, then this bully behavior is not likely to change. Then you will either have to consider keeping them separate from each other, or seriously consider re-homing one of them. It's very stressful living like that for everyone, especially MowMow who may be affected with deteriorating medical issues. I don't think it's fair to MowMow to have him living in fear and dread for the rest of his life. :( Good luck and hope you can get SB straightened around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've started doing those things this past week. I actually chase him down and scruff him and get in his face and tell him "NO!" whenever he bothers MowMow. Of course, that only works when I'm home. I may move the one litterbox to the bedroom in the mornings and close the door so MowMow can be in peace and relax.

The problem with(and good thing about, depending on the circumstance) is that Book gets over things REALLY easily. After I scruff him he runs off but a second later he's back in the action and being nosy as ever and since MowMow is ALWAYS with me they wind up interacting again. He also knows now that if he bothers MowMow I'm coming after him and he runs. So, it's always a blitz attack and he races off to try and hide before I can catch him. He KNOWS the behavior displeases me but he can't seem to stop himself.

This week I've also tried praising him like crazy for simple things. After an incident last night (following the pursuit and scruffing) they were sitting next to each other on the dining table and Book was being quiet so I praised and petted them both like crazy. Later last night he was lying quietly on the tower so again I praised and petted him. I wouldn't be surprised if it is jealousy thrown in. MowMow is a major Mama's boy and I'm forever cuddling, cooing at, and kissing him. I pet and play with Book but he's an active boy and doesn't enjoy the cuddling and kissing so I don't do that as much with him.

I'm happy to give him more time to see if this works or is just growing pains because I adore him, but as I said I WILL NOT have MowMow constantly upset and in fear in his own home.
 

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A lot of attacks can be triggered by jealousy by seeing another one getting cuddles and kisses, so I would reserve that for private time with MowMow out of sight and hearing of SB. It's a good sign that he's running from you, and also good that he bounces back and isn't sulking for being reprimanded. He's really still in a bratty stage, and should settle down if you're consistent with doing the behavior modifications. Sometimes Zuba is a bully with Alkee, and if he's really in a bratty mood Alkee will often run and sit or stand beside me, and Zuba doesn't dare to attack her then. Then Zuba will just sit or saunter off to do something else. It used to be with Alkee being 6 mos. older and the more dominant of the two when he was under a year, that he started to be a bully when he was round a year old and became bigger and heavier and found out that he could overpower her. Most of the time tho they're good buds and cuddle and groom each other. imho, I'm not keen on scruffing as a disciplinary measure and think it's too heavy-handed and can aggravate the cat and cause it to "take it out" on the other. The only time I scruff a cat is to have control of it in an emergency situation.
 

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We have been having same problems since November, Jack our 10-11 mo old attacks Pinkin our 3 yr old, every time we let them together that she developed a huge fear of him. 6-8 wks ago we started Jack on Prozac and he has calmed down a lot but still would attack her and she was still afraid so after consulting a behaviorist and my vet we put Punkin on Buspsar and have started a reintroduction. They explained to me that Punkin had made herself a victim and Jack was targeting her as he would a wounded animal in the wild. The Buspsar is suppose to make her more aggressive and take ip for herself. We had them totally separated for two weeks, no contact at all even no playing under door etc to give Punkin a chance to calm down, we are now at the visual phase letting them see each other a little, and I have to say Jack still gets in the pounce position even with her behind a screen door and when he does the visit is over. It may take another week for Punkin to feel full effect of med. I just hope and pray this works, we love Jack and can't bear yo part with him.
 

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I don't think using a crate will help at all, especially if SB is so vocal.

Krissy, you know I had to make the same difficult decision, but it was the best decision for everyone involved. I understand perfectly how SB zeros in on MowMow and nothing will distract him.

I would have given anything to make the twinz stand up to G, but they just wouldn't fight back, or even defend themselves, and G was the tiniest cat out of everyone!

It's so frustrating and sad and stressful. Whatever you decide, we'll be here for you. My girls send some trills and snuggles your way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cats are so strange. I've switched to working harder at distracting Book and praising them when they are together. Yesterday was a GREAT day, they even played. I picked up a new feliway (it ran out two weeks ago) and plugged it in. The cats were taking turns chasing each other..

Today all heck broke loose. The kitten chased MowMow and I got up to distract him but I guess I was too late. Mow stopped running and turned in him. Pinned him down and then spent the next good 20 minutes chasing him and pinning him down. This was by far the worst row they've had. The kitten puffed hair everywere, Mow wasn't ripping it out the kitten seems to blow it as he ran and was screaming like a girl. Mow wasn't grabbing or biting him they would stare at each other and the kitten would scream blue murder. THen they would tussle and roll over a few times..Book would run and then cower and scream again. I stayed close to make sure there was no damage and other than a few scratches on Mow's nose everyone seems unharmed.

I praised MowMow to high heaven (after checking both of them over for any injuries) and once the kitten got up the courage to leave the bathroom (the place where Mow finally walked away from him) Mow ignored him and went about his business, back to grooming and snoozing in the sun. Now a *VERY* subdued and well behaved Book is laying with me.
 

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Momo was a lot like Book in that she instigated things with Midnight. Midnight would get tired of Momo baiting her and finally laid down the law. Now, while they're not the best of friends, they tolerate each other. And, when Midnight thinks no one is looking, she will even play with Momo. I think Mow Mow and Book just need to handle this on their own, but with you making sure that there are no serious injuries. Momo would sometimes act like Midnight was murdering her, but it was more of a ploy to get us to come and see what was going on. And nine times out of ten, Momo would be just fine, though puffed up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When I hear the fights start I always get up to referee and worry someone will get hurt. So far today was the closest I came to stepping in but MowMow always seems to be very careful. No claws and no teeth. Book is the one I watch, he doesn't pull his scratches... so far so good though. As long as MowMow is winning I try not to worry. As I've said, he's a just and benevolent leader.
 

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Good boy Mow! Give that kitten his comuppance! I feel your pain though, Ninja gets these wild hairs and decides to go after one of the other two and I have to physically separate them or the fur flies and things get broken in the tussel. I'm so hoping he will start settling down, now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good boy Mow! Give that kitten his comuppance!
He's obviously a much better kitten parent than I am. It was a positively fantastic day with them. The kitten was *SO* well behaved. I didn't even need to lock him up while I got their food ready, he ran around and got under foot but he steered WELL out of MowMow's way.
 

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Sounds like MowMow finally decided to lay down the law....and Book finally got the message. How they continue on this way with playing and chasing.
 
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