If you own a cat or know someone who does, you may have heard complaints about neighborhood bullies. If you own the bully, this may not be an issue, but if your kitty is the submissive one, you may be wondering how to stop other cats from attacking your cat.
Believe it or not, bullies exist in the animal world just as much as they do in the human one. They prey on the weak, vulnerable, and submissive for reasons ranging from fighting over territory, jealousy, or even plain spite.
Over 27% of cats dropped off at shelters for behavioral issues are due to aggression and fighting. To be honest, having dealt with cats before, I’m not all that surprised.
No matter how sweet or adorable a cat is, somewhere in its DNA, there’s at least 10% asshole.
So, if your cat is continuously being bullied by another cat, here are some of the best ways to go about remedying the situation.
Cats are naturally territorial animals. Males and females both defend their territories, although males may do so more often as they usually possess a larger turf.
A territorial cat may spray urine on objects they consider part of their area and show aggression to other cats who enter their turf.
Cat-Proof Your Garden
If your cat is being bullied by an outside cat whenever they are in your yard or garden, you may need to look at cat-proofing your property. It’s especially effective if it’s a stray cat bothering your cat. Keeping the aggressor out and your cat in may end the territorial bullying entirely.
- Suitable fencing at least 5ft 9in high
- Construction material
Step 1: Get Approval From Your Neighbors and Landlord
If your property borders others’, it’s best to make sure they’re all okay with constructing a border around your garden or yard.
Step 2: Set Up or Hire Constructors to Raise the Fence
Set up the fence, ensuring your entire garden is wholly secured. Make sure there aren’t trees nearby that could be used to climb the fence, either. Restricting the contact between your cat and the bully could be the simplest solution, although it may be a bit expensive to redo your yard.
Use Water Sprayers
If installing a colossal fence around your property seems daunting or could be an eye-sore, you may prefer motion-activated water sprayers in your garden. If your cat’s bully enters the property, an automated water sprayer will detect motion and immediately spray in that direction. Sprayers are great if it’s your neighbor’s cat terrorizing your own cat as it’s not harmful to either animal.
Just note that motion-detecting sprayers will target your cat as well.
- Motion-activated water sprayer
- Installation material
Step 1: Plan the Locations of the Sprayers
Mark spots for the sprayers where the aggressor cat usually enters your property.
Step 2: Install the Sprayers
Either install the sprayers yourself or get an installation company to do so for you. Switch on the system around the time that the bully cat usually comes around. It’s no myth that cats hate being sprayed with water, so this should keep the bull away for the foreseeable future.
Make Your Cat an Indoor Cat
If your cat spends most of its time outdoors and gets bullied there, your best chance at keeping your kitty safe may be to train them to be an indoor cat, especially if it’s a stray cat fighting with your cat and you can’t ask its owners to restrain it.
- Litter box
- Cat furniture (scratching posts, climbing walls, and boxes)
- Enriching toys
Step 1: Start in Winter
Most outdoor cats spend much more time inside during winter due to the uncomfortable cold, which may be the best time to gradually start making your cat used to spending its days inside.
Step 2: Feed Your Cat Inside
Get your cat used to eating inside every day. This may make the eventual transition more manageable and less disrupting.
Step 3: Train Your Cat to Use Its Litter Box
Provide two litter boxes for your indoor cat and reward them for using them, which could help reinforce the idea that they can have all their needs tended to inside.
Step 4: Set Up Enriching Climbing Equipment and Toys
The most significant danger to your attempts to make your kitty an indoor cat is boredom. Prevent this by putting up climbing posts, cat boxes, and various toys to stimulate your cat, physically and mentally. There’s nothing like boredom to drive your cat to become the next Houdini.
Step 5: Prevent Your Cat From Escaping
If your cat tries to make a break for a door or window, use a water sprayer to deter them. Never shout or punish your cat for trying to get outside, as this will reverse all the hard work you’ve done.
Get a Microchip Cat Door
If your cat uses a cat flap to get in and out of your house, and its bully follows it into your home, investing in a microchip cat flap could be the solution. It only allows registered cats through and could keep the bully out.
- Microchip cat flap
- Installation material
Step 1: Install the Cat Flap
Replace your existing cat door with the microchip-activated one.
Step 2: Teach Your Cat to Use It
Use treats to show your cat through the cat flap. A few repetitions will soon help your kitty understand it needs to use the flap as its entrance and exit.
Tom Cat Bullying
Male cats are more prone to fighting, which could be one-sided if your cat is the submissive type. There’s only one foolproof thing to do if another tomcat is bullying yours:
Neuter Both Males
Neutering male cats not only prevents unnecessary reproduction but can reduce aggressive behavior in both animals.
Step 1: Talk to the Owner of the Other Tomcat About Neutering
The best way to ensure no further bullying or fighting is to get both cats neutered. Talk to the owner of the bullying tomcat to discuss possibly neutering their cat to prevent further hostility.
Step 2: Arrange to Get Your Tomcat Neutered
If only the bullying cat is neutered, your cat may eventually become the aggressor. Neutering both tomcats ensures neither feel the urge to abuse the other.
Multi-Cat Household Bullying
Bullying between pet cats in a single household isn’t uncommon. It can become a chaotic environment if not managed and de-escalated quickly.
Separate Your Cats’ Food and Possessions
Often bullying between pet cats is due to jealousy or a lack of independence. Separating your cats’ toys, food, water bowls, and sleeping arrangements could prevent any aggression or fights over resources.
For each cat, provide separate:
- Food and water bowls
- Litter boxes
- Sleeping spaces
Provide cats with food, water, and litter boxes as far away from each other as possible. Keeping cats separated when eating, drinking, or playing to prevent jealousy or one cat feeling threatened by another.
Close cats off to sleep in separate rooms. Do this when there is no supervision available for your kitties, too, as it could prevent fights or bullying from breaking out while you’re not around to intervene.
Use Pheromone Diffusers
Pheromone sprays and diffusers are very popular in cat behavior-modification programs. The use of pheromones to calm and reassure aggressive cats, although not extensively researched, has anecdotal evidence of helping prevent bullying in household cats.
- As many cat pheromone diffusers as may be necessary to cover the rooms your cats occupy
Step 1: Distribute and Install the Diffusers
Place a pheromone diffuser in each room your cats spend a significant amount of time. Monitor their behavior, and possibly simultaneously use another one of the methods mentioned in this article to ensure the long-term maintenance of peace.
Provide Mental and Physical Stimulation
Indoor cats may at times turn their frustrations on each other if they are not provided with enough stimulation and exercise. Making sure your cats are kept active and busy for a good portion of their day may render them too happy or worn-out to find the strength or desire to bully each other.
Step 1: Switch Out Cat Toys to Keep Them Interested
Playing with the same toys repeatedly is as boring to cats as it would be to humans. Try creating a cycle of toys that keep them interested and stimulated.
Step 2: Play Chase
Keeping your cats physically active could greatly help reduce their energy levels and their ability to fight or bully one another. Play a game of chase, or use toys that require them to run and jump to use up their energy in a positive manner.
Step 3: Provide Climbing and Hiding Spots
Not only does this help give indoor cats their personal space, but it provides them with enriching activity that may keep them so occupied they don’t feel the need to show aggression.
Supply Your Bullied Cat With a Safe Space
If your cats team up and bully one of your kitties, the best way to prevent this may be to provide the cat on the bullied end with a safe place to hide.
- Elevated cat house
- Childproof fences to separate cats
Step 1: Get a Raised Cat House
Place an elevated cat house somewhere you can have consistent supervision over it. Teach your bullied cat to see the house as its safe space, and train your other cats not to approach or go inside it under any circumstances.
Step 2: Remove Your Cat From a Hostile Situation
If your cats start to exhibit behavior typically present when they’re about to begin bothering or bullying another cat, remove the bullied kitty from the situation immediately. Put them in another room and keep them there until the other cats have calmed down entirely.
Redirect The Bully’s Attention and Reward Positive Behavior
Thankfully, despite their perceived intelligence, cats are easily distracted. If you have a cat who bullies another, one of the simplest ways to stop this behavior is by redirecting its attention.
- Cat toys
Step 1: Distract Your Cat
As soon as you notice the bullying cat exhibit hostile behavior, distract it with one of its favorite toys.
Step 2: Reward Good Behavior
If your cat responds positively and abandons its intention to bully, give it a treat and provide positive verbal feedback. This may teach your cat to abandon its bullying tendencies entirely in favor of sweet words and delicious snacks.
Separate and Reintroduce Your Pet Cats
Suppose none of the mentioned methods prevent your cat from bullying your other cat. In that case, your best bet may be to separate them for an extensive period, after which you gradually reintroduce them to each other.
Provide each cat with their own:
- Living space, preferably different rooms of the house
- Food bowls
- Water bowls
- Sleeping area
Step 1: Separate the Cats
Place each cat in a separate room or part of the house, and restrict all contact between them. Don’t let them see each other whatsoever.
Step 2: Gradually Introduce Objects Belonging to the Other Cat
After a minimum of a month of separation, begin introducing objects with the other cat’s smell to each of the cats. This could help them process the presence of another cat before being officially reintroduced.
Step 3: Reintroduce the Cats
Begin by introducing the cats to each other for short amounts of time while providing lots of positive reinforcement for good behavior. Keep the cats away from each other at night until they
can go extensive periods together without showing any hostility.
Once the cats acclimate to each other, they should be okay with living together again. However, feeding them separately and providing them with one litter box per cat, plus one extra, is highly recommended.