and its the little one that beats up on the big one
November 25, 2008 11:09 AM   Subscribe

my poor cat filter... we have 2 cats, brothers rescued together as kittens. Fuzzy-man is insecure and jealous and really dislikes seeing his brother get attention. Also, he seems to attack his brother (handsome-man) to punish him for recieving affection!

So now when I pet handsome-man he gets paranoid and looks around to see if there's an ambush on the way.

It's not like fuzzy-man is underloved in any way, he's just a greedy brat. I'm tired of my coming home to my other poor kitty cowering with bite marks all over his nose!

Please help me end the trauma for handsome-man.
posted by muscat to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does the fact you call the perhaps-spoiled one "handsome" and the perhaps-neglected one "fuzzy" signify that maybe you are treating them differently?

Also, you see the whole situation as a problem for handsome, and that's the one you want to help?

Maybe fuzzy is not imagining things.
posted by rokusan at 11:42 AM on November 25, 2008

no, fuzzy is the spoiled one and handsome is the tortured one.
posted by muscat at 11:45 AM on November 25, 2008

The only people I know who successfully cured this kind of over-enforcement of hierarchy between kitties used kitty drugs.

Have you talked to a vet, yet?
posted by batmonkey at 11:52 AM on November 25, 2008

I had two cats at one point and for me at least it was mainly a territory issue. One cat "owned" the living room area, while the other "owned" the upstairs area. Petting them only seemed to lead to fights if I was petting one in the other's territory. If I made a point to pet them both in their respective zones, it seemed to not start any fights. All cats are different though, so your mileage may vary.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:10 PM on November 25, 2008

It's unusual for two cats who co-habitate to fight violently enough to leave marks, so I wonder if there is something wrong with Fuzzy that is causing him to be a bully. Cats act out in response to pain, irritation, stress etc... so a trip to the vet can let you know if he is responding to a physiological problem.

You also mention that the cats were rescued. There's no way of knowing what their life was like before coming to your home. Fuzzy may have been abused. He may be used to more attention than he receives. You don't want to reward the aggressor, but if he really is insecure, you might try having special Fuzzy time when you get home so he knows he is loved and snuggled, before petting Handsome. If it's more than 10 seconds after he's roughed up Handsome you don't have to worry about accidental positive reinforcement of his bad behavior.

Vets recommend that when introducing a kitten to an adult cat that you first separate them and the essentially ignore the kitten while petting the adult, because it is the adult who will be jealous and need reassurance. You could try something similar with Fuzzy in the role of the jealous one. In my experience cats quickly tire of exclusive snuggles, and he may let up once he's had his fill.
posted by abirae at 12:16 PM on November 25, 2008

My boys don't fight that much unless (a) we are ignoring the bossy one (how dare we come home and not immediately pick him up?) or (b) we've been gone for a few days and they're antsy.

Some things that help: Feed 'em in separate rooms. Feed the bossy cat first, too. Always pick up the picky one first, then pet the jumpy one. Try to nip things in the bud - when bossy cat is bad, lock him n the closet/bathroom/etc. for a few minutes to let him settle down. Let picked-on cat know (through holding, cuddling, etc.) that he is safe for the moment.

Above all try to have as many "safe zones" as possible for the jumpy kitty - places he can go to hide, or escape the bossy cat. Preferably someplace up high where he can't get ambushed. Of course any hiding place or perch needs a decent escape route, too, so keep that in mind - jumpy cat doesn't want to get cornered.

As an aside: They may fight like cats some days, but we also catch them snuggling together or licking each other and so on, too. All of their interactions can't be antagonistic, can they?

(Also, what is it with the fluffy cats? My wife's cat knows he is handsome, and he's a bossy little shit to boot...)
posted by caution live frogs at 2:41 PM on November 25, 2008

I think the real trouble started when you named them Cain and Abel.
posted by Foam Pants at 7:07 PM on November 25, 2008

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