Petsecure Pet Heath Insurance
| Mar 11, 2015
We have four cats, but our biggest (4-year-old male) thrives on stalking and attacking our smallest (11-year-old female). We got him a brother to play with (he's 3) and they do play but sometimes they both chase her. They don't chase our oldest (12-year-old female) at all. Why do they pick on just one and how can we curb their behaviour? It's awful to see her sneaking around hoping not to be noticed! She is just 9-10 lbs whereas he is 22 lbs!
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Aggressive behaviour in cats is normal instinctive behaviour and most cats will exhibit some form of aggression for any number of reasons depending on the circumstances. There can be many reasons for aggressive behaviour between cats in the same household: fearfulness, defensiveness, frustration (redirected), territorial, predatory, pain-induced and even medical reasons.
In your particular situation, the reason is likely territorial (your cats are bossing around the weakest member of the household) or play/predatory aggression (i.e. they treat the smaller cat as if she were prey).
Since there are so many possible causes and multiple solutions, you should ask you veterinarian to help you with your situation. Correction usually involves redirecting aggressive behaviour towards objects and away from the smaller cat. The idea is to reward good behaviour i.e. when the “bully” cats behave well, they are rewarded. You can also try distracting them with toys that can be chased, ping pong balls to attack, laser pointers to chase after and other items that redirect their aggression. When an "attack" appears imminent, a toy can be used to re-focus and redirect the cats away from the smaller cat.
Also ask your veterinarian about a product called Feliway TM, a pheromone that can reduce tension in cats. Feliway is usually dispersed via a diffuser or a spray.
An excellent source of reliable information on this topic can be found on the ASPCA website: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-behavior/aggression-between-cats-your-household