Friday, March 19, 2010

Huge territorial problem in my house

Cow, Bunny and Pole were my first rescued cats, and being male, Cow and Bunny naturally became the alphas of the household.  I have noticed that they are very kind to little kittens, but the moment the kittens grow up, the two alphas would start bullying them. 

Their current target is Wii.  Wii, who is Vixey's brother, has been living with us for more than 2 years now, but Cow and Bunny seemed to have targetted him to bully for the past few months so much so that Wii has chosen to live in the back alley and only comes back for meals several times a day in the backyard. 

Here's how Wii takes his meals every day.  He only feels safe perching on this narrow platform with me standing guard beside him. 

And without fail, Cow and Bunny would know Wii is eating, and wherever they may be, they would come into the kitchen and stalk him out.  I have to close the sliding windows to prevent them from coming out to chase poor Wii away.

Bunny stalking Wii.
That's Cow waiting to pounce on poor Wii. 

Cow and Bunny used to bully Cleo, their niece, but Cleo, being a Calico queen, fought back, and earned her place in the house, with a little help from my husband, who would protect her from the two bullies. 

They used to bully Tiger as well, but acupuncture miraculously turned Tiger into a confident cat, and he is no longer afraid of Cow and Bunny now. 

If you have a cat manual, and you have any suggestions to help Wii gain some confidence, please do share.  I'm already at my wit's end trying to help him. 

I've asked a vet, and he says he has seen some cats starve to death when they live in a colony.  The alphas are just so intimidating that the timid cats dare not even eat!   

Strangely, the two bully-alphas have spared Indy. must be affinity? 


Huey said...

I'm not sure if we can control cats like how we control dogs. But you know when dogs are being territorial or bully or showing behaviors that we don't agree with, we can stop them whenever you see the sign coming. It's like you turn yourself into the alpha and disagree with their behaviors.

I watch a lot of 'Dog Whisperer'. :P

chankahyein said...

Hi Huey, thank you for the tip. We have tried, but those two alphas are just so adamant and determined to drive poor Wii from the house. I'm practically stopping them every day! They seem to have this dogged determination to chase Wii away.

Huey said...

You probably need to be more determined than they do in order to stop them. I've no experiences with cats at all (only dogs) so I can't really give much tips but if it's the same with dogs, it's most likely fixable but the human has to be very very very firmed. :)

ManekiNeko said...

KY, I wish I had some constructive advice to offer you! My little Maneki (a female) was at the bottom of the food chain in the big enclosure at SPCA, getting bullied by all the bigger cats. Now that she has my apartment to herself, she has turned into Madame Territorial Terror. She marks every corner with her face-rubbing and twitters her little tail on every surface (thankfully no spraying!) I've tried to cat-sit for neighbors' cats, and no matter how slowly and gently I tried to introduce them, Maneki missed no opportunity to go for their throats. Others whose knowledge of cats I respect have told me to forget about bringing another cat into the house.

We might wish for the lion to lie down with the lamb (or the kitten), but cats, even our beloved domestic ones, do seem to have their ferocious qualities.

I love your household cat photos, and I wish you the best in finding an amicable solution to this latest round of kitty politics!

Anonymous said...

Wii is beautiful. I suspect a element of feline jealousy of his good looks and elegant colouring.

I have problems with my two cats too, both female. The newcomer is terrorising the incumbent who is very timid. They are both former strays that I rescued.

My solution is to put the newcomer into a cage at mealtimes and at night. My timid cat gets time to eat in peace and if she is driven out in the day time, can at least come home to sleep safely at night. Not ideal but it means at least that my timid cat is not driven away. I monitor the return of my timid cat by only giving her food when I see her. I don't just leave a plate of food there for her to eat when she comes back - I have to see her. I also use her meal times as a moment to catch up with her with hugs and tickles.

Hugs to Wii.

chankahyein said...

Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. Wii has the backyard to himself and yes, I only serve him food when he comes back. Even then, he is so scared that I have to stand beside him, block him from the intimidating stares of Bunny and Cow (inside the house, stalking him from the sliding window), before he would feel confident enough to eat.

Huey said...

Is it possible to address to Bunny and Cow that you don't like them staring at Wii? You know, if they never even get the chance to stare, chances are it won't escalate to the next level...

chankahyein said...

Those two are so, so adamant and persistent! They even go out to the backyard and wait for Wii to come back, then chase him off.

Huey said...

Whoa! That's a huge kitty hatred. LOL! Poor Wii...

Anonymous said...

I dont know if this can work.

Have you tried caging Cow and/or Bunny as punishment whenever they bully Wii?

They may get the message after a while that they cannot bully Wii.

chankahyein said...

Previously, we punished Bunny for his territorial behaviour by locking him inside the storeroom for a few minutes, but he didn't seem to mind that as the storeroom was pretty interesting for him to explore! Maybe caging is a good idea. Will consider it - thank you. This evening, we found Cow in the backyard. Don't know how he sneaked out. He was stalking Wii. Poor guy.... It's definitely a Cow & Bunny Conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Huey, unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals, so treating cats as if they are dogs will produce detrimental results. Likewise, we humans must not humanise animals (anthropomorphism), it confuses us as well as the animals.

If you punish Cow and Bunny, it will backfire on Wii, so please do not do that as they will associate the punishment with Wii and will be even more bent to chase him out of the territory completely.

In the animal kingdom, the animals sniff out fear and timidity and anyone who demonstrate that is attacked and bullied. It is the ways of the animal kingdom where it is the survival of the bold and fittest. Don't humanise things, just accept that this is how it works out, and then, only then can you clearly figure out correct ways to overcome such problems.

A cat as timid as Wii cannot be left to fend for himself outside, it is only a matter of time when he will disappear for good out of fear, even hunger will not make him stay put at the back of your house, poor little cat.

I hope you can find a good adopter for him before he gets too terrified and totally disappear and then, his real suffering will start!

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

It is also genetic where animals tolerate some and beat up others.

In the animal kingdom, males are known to kill the offsprings of and to wipe out the lines of competing rival males.

They mostly tolerate those (males) that have a sniff of their own genes, their own lines and relatives (or some distant ones).

KY, please save Wii, he is such a sweet and beautiful boy .... such a tortured boy! I have one such boy, so I feel so much for him.

Generally, females have a less challenged life if neutered, compared with a male, who is still (though a little less) challenged by other hostile males for territory.