Cat turns into bully when hungry

txcatlover94

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One of our male cats when he wants to eat and is not getting his wishes, starts bullying our female cat. I don't know what to do because I try to keep them to scheduled meal times and he'll sometimes want to eat when it's not his mealtime. But if I walk out of the room without feeding him he'll start to bully the female cat. Is there any way to stop this? I never feed him in response to it, but not sure what else to do.
 

KittyCat_chitchat

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Are you feeding them in separate rooms? As a rule, cats prefer to eat apart, rather than at the same feeding station.

If they're already being fed in separate rooms, the immediate action you can take is to shut the male cat out when the female cat is being fed. That will reduce the stress on her.

Other users will be more qualified to suggest a more permanent solution, if there is one.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Are you absolutely positive he is getting enough calories per day for his size? Double check it. IF he is not, feed him more. If he is, consider three smaller meals a day. Sometimes that can word wonders.
 

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Bullying how? Pushing her away from her own food dish so he can try to eat it? If so, I agree with the above to make sure he is getting enough food, and/or he should eat more frequently. If not, there could be something else going on.
 
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txcatlover94

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Other than our 6 month old kitten, all the cats eat in the same room and don't seem to have any problems with it. The problem isn't that he bullies her around the food dish but that he'll start to chase her, I think mostly to get my attention perhaps?
 
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txcatlover94

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Are you absolutely positive he is getting enough calories per day for his size? Double check it. IF he is not, feed him more. If he is, consider three smaller meals a day. Sometimes that can word wonders.
Oh, he's getting PLENTY of calories per day, probably more than he should be. 😄 They already eat 3 meals per day and then some (due to the fact that our older cat is used to eating whenever he wants)
 
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txcatlover94

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Bullying how? Pushing her away from her own food dish so he can try to eat it? If so, I agree with the above to make sure he is getting enough food, and/or he should eat more frequently. If not, there could be something else going on.
He starts to chase her around and sometimes nip at her. I think it's mostly to get my attention? We have another cat that used to do that in a different way as well - in the early morning or middle of the night when he'd want to eat, if I didn't get up and feed him he'd start to pick fights with our other cat. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

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I am not sure that I understand how a cat is capable of scheming to chase just one specific cat to get the attention of the caretaker because he wants to eat more. But, if that is what you believe to be happening, and you are positive he is getting enough food to eat, then your only recourse is to pick him up each and every time he does this and tell him 'No', or hiss in his face (pick one and stick with it) and put him in a 1-2 minute timeout (behind a closed door). In order for this to be effective, it must be done consistently so that he learns to correlate what he is doing with being given a timeout when he does it. The timeout should not go on longer, as the point being made to the cat is lost otherwise. This is also the only way to help the cat being chased from being bullied, which is equally important.
 
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txcatlover94

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I am not sure that I understand how a cat is capable of scheming to chase just one specific cat to get the attention of the caretaker because he wants to eat more. But, if that is what you believe to be happening, and you are positive he is getting enough food to eat, then your only recourse is to pick him up each and every time he does this and tell him 'No', or hiss in his face (pick one and stick with it) and put him in a 1-2 minute timeout (behind a closed door). In order for this to be effective, it must be done consistently so that he learns to correlate what he is doing with being given a timeout when he does it. The timeout should not go on longer, as the point being made to the cat is lost otherwise. This is also the only way to help the cat being chased from being bullied, which is equally important.
Haha, I'm not saying 100% that's what's happening or that he's scheming. :) I was really posing it as a thought. But it's always when I'm not giving him what he wants and it was the same when our other cat used to do it. I do think they're smart enough to know that when they do one thing and it gets a response from me, to maybe keep doing that. Isn't that how dogs learn with positive reinforcement? (I know, cats are not dogs!)

I do pick him up and tell him no and also put him in timeout but he still does it, so not sure what else to do. :/
 

FeebysOwner

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I do pick him up and tell him no and also put him in timeout but he still does it, so not sure what else to do. :/
How long have you been doing this, and are you doing it consistently? It can take months to get through to a cat that is hellbent on repeating their behavior.

If you think he feels he is being 'rewarded' by what he is doing because you give him attention by picking him up and giving him a timeout, then reverse the tactic. Pick up the poor cat being chased and shower her with attention instead, while you ignore him. That way he isn't getting the attention, and you are letting the chased cat know that you 'have her back'.
 

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If your sure its not hunger, then its probably food anxiety. Dish-is-empty anxiety is absolutely a thing, but of course the common response would be whining at the dish, whining by you, or sometimes doing stuff to get your attention such as nipping, body butting and the like. Although I've not heard of food anxiety leading to this particular symptom, it does have a certain logic. After all, humans with anxiety sometimes lash out at others.
 

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Is there anything that can distract him from food when you have to tell him no?

How often are you playing with and petting him? I'm wondering if it perhaps is some jealousy.

I wonder if any of these tips might help:
 
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txcatlover94

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If your sure its not hunger, then its probably food anxiety. Dish-is-empty anxiety is absolutely a thing, but of course the common response would be whining at the dish, whining by you, or sometimes doing stuff to get your attention such as nipping, body butting and the like. Although I've not heard of food anxiety leading to this particular symptom, it does have a certain logic. After all, humans with anxiety sometimes lash out at others.
I've never heard of that before! I suppose that could be a possibility. Most of the time it's when he wants to eat and I don't feed him right away. Though sometimes he will chase her just because but it's usually when he's waiting for food. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 
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txcatlover94

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Is there anything that can distract him from food when you have to tell him no?

How often are you playing with and petting him? I'm wondering if it perhaps is some jealousy.

I wonder if any of these tips might help:
I haven't been playing with him as much because he runs around and plays all the time with our 7 month old kitten. I do try and give him pets and he often sits on my lap in the evenings, so I don't think it's jealousy but I could totally be wrong!

I'll take a look at that video, thank you!
 

Furballsmom

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In the meanwhile, feed her elswhere, closed off from him. This is a lot of stress that she's having to deal with. Stress is hard on cats and she could end up with health issues.
 
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txcatlover94

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In the meanwhile, feed her elswhere, closed off from him. This is a lot of stress that she's having to deal with. Stress is hard on cats and she could end up with health issues.
I would but the problem isn't really when they're eating, but whenever he wants to eat
so I can't really keep her locked up during all those times, if that makes sense
 

Alldara

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Jealousy in cats can be hard to spot even if it is! Nobel would be good with Calcifer all day, and then I'd come home from work and he would immediately hiss and swat at Cal. But I'd get photos all day from my wife of them cuddling!

Same with if he thought I was in another room...of catch him grooming Calcifer, and then he'd spot me and bonk Cal on the head and walk off.

Calcifer would sleep with Nobel all night.

We asked the vet and she said it sounds like Nobel wanted me all to himself as he was worried I'll start working full time on site again.
 
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