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My Cat Seems A Bully, How to Stop it?

Updated by Sheryl on Nov 22, 2021

Wondering how to deal with a cat bullying another cat? You've come to the right place if you want to stop cat aggression at home.

If you have been herding cats for a while now, you must have come across several bullying cases. Male cat bullying other male cats, new cat bullying other cats, the old cat being the bully, the new cat being the bully, teaming up on one member, kittens being bullied, kittens becoming bullies - the list is endless.

The key to stopping aggressive behavior lies in understanding why cats bully other cats. "How to" is a matter of understanding why and what, and that's how we will bell the cat for good.

aggressive cats
  • Why Cats Bully Other Cats
  • How to Tell if it is Really Bullying
  • How to Stop My Cat from Bullying My Other Cat
  • How to Stop a Cat Fight
  • An Underrated Technique that Works
  • Do Not
  • Prevent Cat Bullying and Aggression
  • You've Got This!

Most cats act up to other members of their kind when they are insecure. They are total introverts and "lone wolves" unlike dogs who are pack animals. So, cats may be the pet that finds it most difficult to socialize. But that is not the only reason for inter-cat aggression and dominance assertion.

  1. Lack of positive instances of socialization: Cats that haven't been around other cats before may easily become bullies or the bullied. Ones that have had traumatic experiences from other cats may also get aggressive or submissive around new ones.
  2. Lack of Resources: Not being the most social animals, 'meowers' are easily threatened if they are afraid that their food, water, attention, freedom, rest, or space will get compromised.
  3. Hormone problems: Smells, pheromones, and hormones are very common causes of cat aggression. Pregnancies also turn some calm kitties into true hellcats. Cats are also aggressive when on heat (sexual frustration) or after they have given birth.
  4. Gender issues: Male cats who have a commonly desired mate may try to fight and subjugate one another.
  5. Age differences: Older cats tend to be more dominant. Kittens are usually the victims. On the contrary, after a while of playing, some kittens take older ones for granted and become bullies.
  6. Misdirected bullying: Bullied cats may take the heat off on other, more submissive cats.
  7. Eating and sleeping habits: Fast eaters may feel underfed and try to eat from the slow eater's bowl. Light sleepers are also bothered by other cats it sleeping habits are different.
  8. Hierarchy: Though they are not a pack, cats do have loose hierarchical norms. Higher-ranking cats are often the bullies of the sort as compared to scaredy-cats.
  9. Health issues: Animals are bad at expressing their troubles. But then, thyroid issues, dental and bone conditions, indigestion, and other issues can make them irritable and irksome.
cats fight

Play fighting is normal amongst felines. They pounce, slap, claw, bite, chase, hiss, and do all sorts of things; partly in play, partly to practice life. But things should go back to normal almost immediately or after they had some time alone or are distracted. Here are some signs that the catfight at your home is the thin end of the wedge:

  1. One cat is always afraid of the other or hurting the other while (seemingly) playing;
  2. They are not eating together or going near one another. The cringing cat doesn't like anything that smells like the bully;
  3. One cat is always chasing the other and has the upper hand.

Covert bullying, or acting nicely in front of you and bullying later, is something only a more impish cat would do. The innocent cats around such low-key "Lokis" will need extra attention. If one cat is afraid of the other for no apparent reason or is suspiciously injured, go ahead and monitor their time together, apart from you.

innocent cat

Observe them and identify the triggers

It can be related to behavior, health, food, environment, or any of the reasons we discussed. Only then can we figure out how to deal with the problem.

Interrupt and Distract

If the fighting is too often, intervene before things get too nasty. Keep at least the bully cat busier than a one-eyed cat watching two mouse holes.

Note that treats, attention, or other rewards should not be how you distract them. This will only make them register that bullying is rewarding. Use toys, pocket lasers, or other techniques. We will be discussing this in detail soon.

Isolate and Re-Introduce

If the two cats are impossible to control around each other or one is being bullied to the point of getting hurt, you can try and isolate them. When both the bully and the scaredy-cat have calmed down, try to bring them back together with care as if they are new to each other.

Monitored Encounters

When the cats can mingle with each other and one can be bullied, make sure you have supplied enough of their favorite food or toys. Do not use food or dearer toys once the aggression has started. Keep distracting options ready at hand's reach. Provide positive rewards when they are behaving well.

aggressive cats

Acquainting Them to Each Other's Smells

If the cats are not ready to be fed together or introduced, feed them at either side of a barrier. This will let them adjust to each other's odors. Eating together promotes bonding in most animals including cats and humans.

Use opaque barriers until they have calmed down to the experience. Take things slow and switch to more revealing barriers like glass or wire mesh. Cages will do. Finally, start removing the barrier once they are acquainted with each other's smells, sounds, and sights while eating.

You can also keep switching the spaces the cats are provided to make them comfortable to the other cat's scents faster.

Aided Calming and Introduction

Ask your veterinarian if certain pheromones, natural extracts, CBD oils, or essential oils should be diffused during encounters to diffuse the tension. Your vet may also prescribe some direct medications if they are needed and if they will help.

If both your cats love being massaged and will calm down at the time, try massaging them together. This may help them calm down around each other.

Increase the Resources and Facilities

If there is no room to swing a cat, your cat won't like it either. Cats are not only territorial but also need space. They are possessive about their food, facilities, and space. So having some surplus ready is always good, especially if there is aggression is involved.

Neutering and Spaying

Neutered cats are less likely to be aggressive. Their hormones are usually under control and they do not get aggressive due to heat. Spayed females, in addition, steer clear of aggression that occurs during and right after pregnancy.

separate cats

"No" Should Be a Serious Reprimand

A bully cat will not respect the bullied cat's resistance. But both cats should be trained to stop at your command. Let's be more specific.

The bully cat should be trained to stop at "No!" for obvious reasons. But if the bullied cat exhibits some deliberate or unintended triggering behavior, it needs to stop as well.

Look out for any such triggering behaviors or signs of aggression so that the embers can be extinguished in place of fire.


If a cat is unwell or resting after a procedure, keep other cats away from them. This rule does not regard the bully or the bullied but is a general one.

Cats too tend to be emotionally and physically vulnerable when they have health issues. So, if they are bothered by other cats when they are unwell, cats can develop trauma. This trauma can evolve into aggression or fearfulness over time.

Flock Together

Talk to other cat owners who have multiple cats. If they have the same problem, help each other through the problem.

Seek Therapy

Reach out for medical help before things get out of hand. Your vet or vet behaviorist can help you solve the issue through medicated or non-medicated therapies.

cats on the sofa

Bullying or other kinds of aggression - distraction is the only way to break up a fight between cats. Use toys as the go-to object of distraction. Laser points can be missed when the cats are busy fighting or defending themselves.

Toys or objects that quiver can be used to catch the attention as they will switch from fighting mode to hunting or playing modes. Jingling or squeaking sounds and water sprayers can also be used. Any harmless measures can be employed if you can keep your fur babies out of harm's way.

Now it is important to remember that you should not physically try to separate fighting cats. But, if the need arises and you have no other option wear long, secure mitts and go in. Be very careful about your safety, should you need to do this.

If the cats walk away and return calmer, give them a shot in the arm with treats, toys, or love.

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Isolation time should provide enough time and space for them to relax. So, if possible, sequester the aggressive cat and bullied cat alternatively.

While one is releasing its built-up tension, the other can be locked up comfortably. Offer them equal amounts of time alternatingly. If one cat inherently needs more time out, adjust the timings accordingly.

They can be reintroduced when fed and under supervision, especially if there is no food aggression. As the truce grows, increase exposure. Again, keep distractions ready lest some bullying happens.

You will be totally walking on eggshells at most points of time, but it will be worth the effort.

aggressive cats
  1. Reward bad behavior
  2. Be mad or punish physically
  3. Intervene physically, unless direly needed or unprotected
  4. Involve children or anxious individuals in situations
  5. Involve dogs or other pets
  6. Use depend completely on diffusers
  7. Use unprescribed medicines
  8. Overprotective or partial

If enough attention is paid right from the start of your journey together, cat aggression can be prevented.

  • Start at the medical level. Get your cats neutered. Also ask the vet if the genders, age groups, breeds, and other conditions of the two cats who will be living together are compatible.
  • Prevent food aggression by making them comfortable with eating together as early as possible.
  • Arrange enough food, food bowls, potty area, etc. in advance.
  • If there is not enough room for two cats to use the litterbox at a time, potty train them to go at least two hours apart.
  • Get them to play and play-fight without aggression as early as possible.
  • Mend any differences in the healthiest way.
  • Introduce anxious, less healthy, or younger cats with great care.
  • Self-isolating kittens need extra and early attention.
  • Never get a pet if you haven't got the time and resources.
  • Learn cat body language and their individual body languages well.
cats get along with each other

Cats fight! For fun, for practice, and obeying their instincts, cats need to fight each other. But they also need to be at least okay with having each other around at other times. Once they are acquainted enough, they should be able to share their resources, lick each other, cuddle, and even team-up.

But if the game isn't funny anymore and rather nasty, then it needs to stop. Luckily enough, you can prevent and deal with cat bullying if you can invest the time and patience to follow our guide.
Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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