Can I Train Him Out Of This Behavior?

misty8723

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We've had Austin for a little over two months. Cricket has been with us for 4+ years. Cricket likes to sit in the top of the cat tree, she's been doing that forever. Austin took it over, batted her, chased her out of it.

So, I went out and bought a second tree. Austin took that one over too, and won't let her be in it.

Just now, he was in the one tree and she got in the other one. He jumped down immediately and tried to go get her out of that one. I ran interception. He was clearly not happy she was up there, and not happy with me for stopping him. I finally got him on the couch and he's taking a bath.

What I want to do is get him over the possessiveness with these trees. There's plenty of levels they could both share one! And Cricket is willing to do that, let him have the top and be on a lower one, but he won't even let her be up there.

Am I doing the right thing stopping him when I see him doing that? Is there something else I can do? I also praise the heck out of him and pet him and love on him when he does what I want him to do.

He is otherwise a very good boy.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi!

I'm envisioning him on the couch LOL those baths matter for all sorts of reasons!

I personally think you're doing the right thing, it'll probably take time and consistency :)
 

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I am just wondering whether he really is trying to chase her off or if instead he is just trying to be in the tree and play with her and it is just her not appreciating the company. I would try to hold back and not get involved for at least a few weeks to see if he tires if the game or better yet, she gets annoyed enough to fight back.
 

danteshuman

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Also play to help tire him out & play with her to build up her confidience (by herself.) To me it sounds like he wants to own everything. I think what you did was good .... but like Susanm9006 said you can let it play out and see what happens.
My punk used to do that to his brother. He would follow him, then sit next to him and push him off. I got annoyed and started stopping him before he could with a "leave your brother alone!" That was almost as good as his reach around groom then nip move. :rolleyes:
 

jen

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He is either trying to establish his dominance or playing. I would just let them work it out. It isn't up to you to interfere with them playing and learning from each other. If he wants to be ruler of the cat trees and she wants to stand up to him and defend herself she will. Otherwise she will get down and let him be top cat. It really isn't your call.
 

di and bob

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Yeah, she will fight back eventually when she wants it bad enough. They are still too new to each other to have decided where their place in the household is. Austin is trying to fit in and is asserting his dominance, Cricket is letting him for now because she is still upset about his arrival and is still a little uncertain and undecided, even though she is acting 'cool' about his coming to 'her' turf. For only two months I think they are getting along VERY well, mine took a year to stand to be in the same room. Females are almost always the rulers of the roost, she will take over and teach him limits and manners when she feels comfortable doing so. Try to foster good feelings between them by giving treats together and feeding next to each other. Don't scold her when she does try to teach him manners, that is perfectly natural and he will need it to not turn into a brat.
 

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Hi. How old is Austin - still a kitten? How do they react with each other if one of the cat trees is not involved? Does he "go after" her under other conditions? What kind of personality does Cricket have - is she more or less a subdued type of cat? If she is a quiet shy cat to begin with, she is probably feeling a little 'replaced' by him, and may not try to put him in his place because her confidence is a bit shaken. Does she defend herself in any other situations that arise between them - if there are any?

Watch him and see if you can tell whether or not he is trying to play or to dominate. Depending on her personality, especially if you think he is merely trying to dominate, I would continue to intervene. You might even try to put him into 'time out' when he does it - pick him up, say a firm 'no', and then place him in another room for a few minutes.

My concern about 'letting them work it out' is this: if it doesn't happen, and after months and month of this behavior he is still doing this to her, and you finally decide he will always rule the cat trees and she will not defend herself, his habit will be much more ingrained and it will be much harder to break.
 
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misty8723

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Thanks to all who took the time to read this and respond. I will answer a little better when I have time, I've just been busy lately. But I think I should explain that I've been very protective of Cricket since losing my Swanie, my heart and soul, in October. I have been concerned that bringing in Austin so soon might not have been good for her, and maybe we have ruined her life. I guess I'm just a whacko.

They are actually doing very well together considering that when he was new here she totally had her tail in a twist about it.

Like I said, I'll post more later.
 

kobata1928

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Cats behavior are not like humans, they are more aggressive. Strange cats will and could hurt each other, if allowed. But, I have realized it is better to let them work it out, than prematurely stop their interaction. No one wants a cat being bullied or scared, but I have come to the understanding that setting the social order might be for the best.
 
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misty8723

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Hi. How old is Austin - still a kitten? How do they react with each other if one of the cat trees is not involved? Does he "go after" her under other conditions? What kind of personality does Cricket have - is she more or less a subdued type of cat? If she is a quiet shy cat to begin with, she is probably feeling a little 'replaced' by him, and may not try to put him in his place because her confidence is a bit shaken. Does she defend herself in any other situations that arise between them - if there are any?

Watch him and see if you can tell whether or not he is trying to play or to dominate. Depending on her personality, especially if you think he is merely trying to dominate, I would continue to intervene. You might even try to put him into 'time out' when he does it - pick him up, say a firm 'no', and then place him in another room for a few minutes.

My concern about 'letting them work it out' is this: if it doesn't happen, and after months and month of this behavior he is still doing this to her, and you finally decide he will always rule the cat trees and she will not defend herself, his habit will be much more ingrained and it will be much harder to break.
Austin is about 1.5 and Cricket is around 4. Cricket is a Tortie, but she doesn't have what I would call "tortitude." Neither is she shy. She does stand up for herself and usually I let them do what they do. They seem like they're getting along fine, but for some reason the trees are an issue. Also, he sometimes does try to do the bite thing on her. I stop him, and if he keeps trying he does get a "time out" (in the bedroom, with a nice soft bed, toys, and his food dish, so it's not like I'm throwing him into a dark closet. Just some place for him to settle down a bit.) I don't keep him off the trees either, it's only when Cricket is on one and he tries to get her off. And I'm convinced that's what he's doing, not playing, but what do I know?

It was actually funny the other day, he was on the tree and I put my hand on it and he started batting at my hand. I told him I wasn't as easy to get off the tree as Cricket.

They do play together, sometimes she initiates it. This morning he was getting a little too rough I thing and she bopped him and hissed.

I do agree that if I keep letting him get away with things like pushing her off the trees, he will learn that it's his right to do that. I would like neither of our cats to be "dominant" over the other one, but I know cats have a hierarchy and it is what it is.
 
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misty8723

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Also play to help tire him out & play with her to build up her confidience (by herself.) To me it sounds like he wants to own everything. I think what you did was good .... but like Susanm9006 said you can let it play out and see what happens.
My punk used to do that to his brother. He would follow him, then sit next to him and push him off. I got annoyed and started stopping him before he could with a "leave your brother alone!" That was almost as good as his reach around groom then nip move. :rolleyes:
I do play with him, he loves to play with the feather bird and the laser pointer (which I think is a mean toy). Cricket likes to play too, but if I want to get the feather bird out I have to put him in a room, because he is a hellion. He's more polite with the pointer, when it's near her he waits and lets her "attack" it.

With Swanie, he was a very laid back boy, but he did try doing the bite thing too with both Cindy and Swanie. It got to where all you had to say was KNOCK IT OFF SWANIE! and he would back off.
 
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misty8723

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You are SO not a whacko!! And I don't think Cricket's life has been ruined, just changed :)
Thanks, I am a bit whacko about some things, lol. And I'm hoping that Cricket's life is changed for the better because Swanie was an older boy and unknown to us had an awful lot wrong with him, so he wasn't into playing with her. I know she cared about him, but she also wanted to play sometimes. Cricket and Austin race around here and I love seeing it.
 

danteshuman

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Awwwwwwww it is nice to see them getting along.

With my boys I think they had a lot of issues because I didn't let the older one teach my punk manners when he was a kitten. Then throughout their lives together I would not let my punk dominate his brother. So I think you should let them sort the tree thing out but give her down time/play time without him. I would also add another tree. Try spreading everything around in different rooms to make it hard to guard any resource. Also litter boxes with out lids prevent him from trapping then attacking her.

You want/need her to stand up for herself.
 
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