How to Stop My Cat from Bullying My Other Cat

icon June 14, 2024

When you bring multiple cats into your home, it's essential to establish a harmonious environment where all cats feel safe and secure. However, cat bullying can occur, leading to stress, fear, and behavioral issues. Understanding the signs of bullying and implementing effective strategies to address the problem is crucial. This article will delve into the signs of bullying and provide a comprehensive guide on how to stop your cat from bullying your other cat.

Is My Cat Bullying My Other Cat? 

Before addressing the issue, it's important to determine if your cat is indeed bullying the other. Cat bullying can manifest in various ways, and recognizing these signs early can help you take appropriate action.

Common Signs of Cat Bullying

1. Aggressive Behavior:

  • Hissing and Growling: Frequent hissing, growling, or spitting at the other cat, especially when they come too close.
  • Swatting or Scratching: Physical aggression, such as swatting, scratching, or even biting, is a clear sign of bullying.

2. Territorial Marking:

  • Urine Marking: One cat may start spraying urine around the house, marking their territory more aggressively than usual.

3. Social Withdrawal:

  • Avoidance: The bullied cat may retreat to secluded areas, avoiding social interactions with the aggressor.
  • Hiding: Increased hiding behavior, often in places where the bully cannot reach, is common.

4. Changes in Eating or Drinking Habits:

  • Fearful Eating: The bullied cat might eat or drink only when the aggressor is not around, showing signs of anxiety during mealtime.
  • Weight Loss: A noticeable decrease in weight or a decline in appetite could indicate stress or fear from bullying.

5. Physical Injuries:

  • Bite Marks or Scratches: Visible injuries, such as bite marks or scratches, especially on the head, neck, or flanks.
  • Fur Loss: Excessive grooming or fur loss in areas where the bully frequently attacks.

6. Vocalizations:

  • Constant Yowling or Meowing: The bullied cat may vocalize excessively, often in distress, especially when the bully is near.

7. Changes in Behavior:

  • Aggressive Play: The bully may exhibit overly aggressive play behavior, which can escalate to actual bullying.
  • Redirected Aggression: The bullied cat may display aggression towards other pets or even humans, a reaction to their stress and fear.

Understanding Why Cats Bully Each Other

To effectively stop cat bullying, it’s essential to understand why it happens. Cat behavior is often driven by instincts, experiences, and environment. Here are some common reasons why one cat might bully another:

1. Dominance and Hierarchy:

Cats are territorial animals and may establish a social hierarchy. Bullying can be a way for a cat to assert dominance over another.

2. Fear and Anxiety:

A cat that is insecure or fearful may bully others as a defense mechanism to protect itself from perceived threats.

3. Health Issues:

Pain or discomfort from health problems can make a cat irritable and more likely to lash out at other pets.

4. Lack of Resources:

Competition for resources such as food, water, litter boxes, or resting spots can lead to bullying behavior.

5. Past Trauma or Negative Experiences:

Cats with a history of abuse or negative experiences with other animals may be more prone to bullying behavior.

How to Stop My Cat from Bullying My Other Cat

Addressing cat bullying requires a multi-faceted approach that focuses on behavior modification, environmental changes, and ensuring the well-being of both cats. Here’s a detailed guide to help you stop your cat from bullying the other:

1. Create Separate Spaces

Providing each cat with their own safe space is crucial. This reduces direct confrontation and gives the bullied cat a place to retreat.

  • Separate Areas: Use baby gates, separate rooms, or cat trees with different levels to create personal spaces.
  • Safe Zones: Ensure each cat has their own bed, litter box, and feeding area.

2. Increase Resources

Having ample resources can reduce competition and mitigate bullying behavior.

  • Multiple Resources: Provide multiple food and water bowls, litter boxes, and resting spots. The rule of thumb is one more litter box than the number of cats.
  • Interactive Toys: Offer a variety of toys and enrichment activities to keep both cats mentally stimulated.

3. Gradual Reintroduction

If the cats are not getting along, a gradual reintroduction process can help them adjust to each other’s presence.

  • Scent Swapping: Exchange bedding or use a cloth to rub each cat’s scent and then place it near the other cat. This helps them get used to each other’s scent.
  • Controlled Meetings: Start with short, supervised meetings, gradually increasing the time they spend together while monitoring their behavior.

4. Positive Reinforcement Training

Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior and reduce aggression.

  • Reward Calm Behavior: Give treats, praise, or playtime whenever the cats interact calmly or show non-aggressive behavior towards each other.
  • Ignore Aggression: Avoid punishing aggressive behavior, as it can increase fear and aggression. Instead, redirect their attention with toys or treats.

5. Environmental Enrichment

Enriching the environment can reduce stress and prevent boredom, which can lead to bullying.

  • Scratching Posts and Cat Trees: Provide vertical spaces and scratching posts to help reduce tension.
  • Interactive Play: Spend time playing with both cats using interactive toys like feather wands or laser pointers to stimulate their hunting instincts.

6. Health Check

Ensure both cats are in good health, as underlying medical issues can contribute to aggressive behavior.

  • Veterinary Check-Up: Schedule a thorough check-up with your vet to rule out any health problems that could be causing pain or discomfort.
  • Behavioral Medication: In some cases, medications prescribed by a vet can help manage anxiety or aggression.

7. Behavioral Consultation

If the bullying persists despite your efforts, consider consulting a feline behaviorist or a professional trainer.

  • Behavioral Assessment: A behaviorist can observe the cats’ interactions and provide tailored strategies to address the bullying.
  • Training Sessions: Professional training sessions can help modify behavior effectively, using techniques suited to your cats’ personalities and needs.

    → Related: How To Get Cats To Get Along

Additional Tips for Managing Cat Dynamics

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, here are some extra tips to help maintain peace and harmony among your cats:

1. Maintain a Routine

Cats thrive on routine. Keeping feeding times, play sessions, and bedtime consistent can reduce anxiety and aggression.

2. Use Calming Aids

Consider using pheromone diffusers, sprays, or collars designed to reduce stress in cats.

  • Feliway Diffusers: These plug-in diffusers release synthetic feline pheromones that can help calm anxious cats.
  • Natural Remedies: Products like catnip, valerian, or calming supplements can also help soothe your cats.

3. Monitor Body Language

Understanding feline body language is key to preventing and addressing bullying behavior.

  • Signs of Stress: Dilated pupils, flattened ears, and a puffed-up tail are signs of stress or aggression.
  • Calm Signals: Slow blinking, relaxed posture, and gentle purring are indicators of a calm and friendly cat.

4. Avoid Direct Confrontation

When the cats are together, avoid direct confrontation. Use distraction techniques or toys to divert their attention away from each other.


Stopping one cat from bullying another requires patience, consistency, and a deep understanding of feline behavior. By creating a safe environment, providing ample resources, and using positive reinforcement, you can help your cats coexist peacefully. Remember, each cat is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Monitoring their behavior, seeking professional help when needed, and making gradual changes will pave the way for a harmonious home. With time, love, and effort, you can ensure that your cats live together happily, reducing stress and fostering a bond that can last a lifetime.

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