cat dominance? A bit long

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by la dee da, May 18, 2010.

  1. la dee da

    la dee da Songster

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    Hey everyone, I have a question about cat dominance. I don't know what's important, so this may be a bit long winded.

    My family has 4 cats, 2 females and 2 males, all fixed. All four cats we found as strays, 1 as an adult (f), then 2 siblings as young kittens(f,m), then 1 as a slightly older kitten(m). Their names are Kit, Autumn, Summer, and Bat, respectivley (f,f,m,m). Each "group" was found I believe about 2 years apart. The oldest and youngest cats eat, sleep, and potty in my room and the two siblings "live" in my sisters room.

    The oldest cat has bascially been mine and when we found the two siblings I was going to keep the female. My cat clearly didn't like that idea so I just let my sister have them both. Kit has never gotten along with Autumn, but she's just fine with the two male cats. About a year ago we had a problem with the older male, Summer, marking on the couch... no other cat marked, just him. We still don't know why he did it, nothing was different when he started except Bat was about a year old. No other cat marked so we fixed the problem by keeping Summer in my sisters room as he didn't mark in there. Bat has always liked Autumn, he follows her places and when she wants back in the house (sissy lets her outside sometimes) he does a cute meow until she's back inside. Our problem is between Autumn and Kit. Since before Summer started marking and before we found Bat, Kit dominated Autumn. She'll get on top of Autumn and bite her neck, holding her down.

    When it started happening we would get Kit off of Autumn because that's what we thought we should do. It wasn't so bad at first, we'd catch her doing it once or twice a week and we'd stop it. There were periods of time when Kit wouldn't do it at all for weeks or months, but then it'd start back up again. The problem has gotten worse in that now we get Kit off her, and a few minutes later she'd be doing it again. We have caught all three of the other cats either dominating or attempting to dominate Autumn, but Kit is by far the worse (every day vs hardly ever). We never see any of the other cats dominating each other (though since the marking Summer doesn't see my cats very often). Autumn is a jumpy cat, she'll put her ears back, get tense and watch another cat with angry eyes. She also will just be jumpy and watch them like a hawk. We don't know if something's wrong with Autumn's social skills, or if she's just at the bottom of the pecking order and if so, what do we do about it? Autumn and Summer also fight, they always have. It usually starts with Summer grooming Autumn, then she gets ticked and a fight starts. She always glares at him even though they grew up together and are siblings. As far as I know Bat bugs her but she doesn't really glare at him unless he's chased her all around the house (which he began doing frequently until I squirted him for it). Has anyone ever had a problem like this? Did our interveening mess up the pecking order? Anyone know what we should do?
     

  2. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Songster

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    Are they fixed? It sounds like hormones.

    Is anyone getting hurt? Is Autumn bleeding or bruised? If not, I wouldn't worry about it. Sometimes they play rough, occasionally rough play turns into an actual scuffle, but most often they work it out best if left alone. Since you have siblings you know what I'm talking about - it's exactly the same.

    Now if Autumn is being hurt by the other cats (like if she's ever needed stitches, or stayed hunched up in a corner for a day because she's all bruised up) that's something different, but that's pretty rare.

    BTW, I know what you're going through. My little Silk cat hates everyone else, and they all hate her. Sometimes they get pretty loud, and sometimes if she's being chased I'll pick her up to defuse things (lol, even though usually she started it) She is turning 11 in a couple of months, the other cats are 3 weeks older then her and 7 months younger - no-one's killed each other yet.
     
  3. la dee da

    la dee da Songster

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    Yes, all four cats are fixed. No, Autumn does not get bruised or injured from the fights. Do you believe our stopping the dominance is what made it worse? Are you saying we should stop getting Kit off Autumn and let them work it out?
     
  4. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Songster

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    Oh, I don't think it's dominance. Dogs are very pack-oriented, cats are more of a loose pride. I think it's more kind of like; remember when you were little and clashed with your siblings? That's more how cats act (lol, though maybe it was dominance with your sibs; joke)

    I think your stepping in just never let them get to the bottom of just what they'll accept from each other. For example, it's ok for Summer to groom Autumn, but Autumn doesn't like it when Summer (say...) grooms her neck, so she bites and before they can work it out you're thinking "OMG, she has him by the throat!!"
    Or Kit really wants to wrestle, Autumn isn't all that enthusiastic about wrestling but you keep separating them before she can "tell" Kit that. Know what I mean?
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I completely agree with the above poster. As long as nobody is actually getting HURT (as in, blood), just let them work it out. Cats do these things (so do pretty much all animals). YOu're just complicating their lives by what you're doing, even though I know you have good intentions.

    If this is relatively new and Autumn is regularly getting her clock really cleaned or seeming distressed about it, it'd be worth taking her to the vet for a full check-up... starting to be picked on a whole lot, or becoming really paranoid, is not infrequently a sign of a health problem creeping up that you'd want to know about.

    But honestly it sounds to me more like Autumn is just low man on the totem pole. Make sure there are plenty of litter boxes, and plenty of different places the cats can look out windows and perch high on furniture and so forth and so on, and try to feed Autumn somewhere that minimizes jealousy and conflicts... but, you know, you can't change cats' basic personalities or the fundamental architecture of the way they interact with each other.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

  6. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

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    Yes, let them work it out...
     
  7. la dee da

    la dee da Songster

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    Ok, so it's just a cat thing. That's good to know...I think [​IMG][​IMG].


    Quote:We don't really worry about the cats hurting each other, as that has never really happened, even in Autumn and Summer's semi-frequesnt fights. Hmmm, how can you tell when a cat is fighting and when they're playing? Kit definatly doesn't want to wrestle with Autumn, so I think that's just a dominance thing (Kit's lazy and only wrestles when Bat coaxes her to). Okies, I'll tell sissy to let them work it out unless it gets dangerous.

    If this is relatively new and Autumn is regularly getting her clock really cleaned or seeming distressed about it, it'd be worth taking her to the vet for a full check-up... starting to be picked on a whole lot, or becoming really paranoid, is not infrequently a sign of a health problem creeping up that you'd want to know about.

    Oh! This has been happening for a looooong time now...since Autumn was still a baby so I doubt it's a health issue. We've already illiminated as many things as we can to keep the cats from being jealous, and Kit and Autumn eat, sleep, and potty in different rooms. We'll try and let it be and see how it goes.

    Thanks guys!​
     
  8. la dee da

    la dee da Songster

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    Oh, and with my siblings it was a dominance thing [​IMG]
     
  9. lasergrl

    lasergrl Songster

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    sounds like the cat peeing on the couch is stressed and that is his outlet. When you lock him up he doesnt have to deal with all the fuss of the other cats so he doesnt pee. If the urine is on a horizontal surface it is probably stress related even ore so, because stress causes inflammation and pain in the bladder making him pee. If its on a vertical surface then that is "marking".
    You can "try" feliway. Alot of people have hd luck with it mellowing everyone out. Often times you just cant win in multicat homes.

    I also wonder how much is play. Cats play in wierd ways and can look pretty mean. If there isnt fur flying or yelling they are probably not too serious.
     

  10. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Songster

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    Quote:Anything that a cat is emotional about is LOUD!
    Fighting, making love, requesting dinner. When a cat feels strongly about something the Whole World knows it [​IMG]:
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2010

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