Possible bullying in household?

lurealC

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Hi all,
I have two cats Pepa & Clancey. Clancey is just over two, and Pepa is just under two.

Lately their relationship (or lack thereof) has been really tricky.

For context, our house is well equipped for kitties, we have scratching posts everywhere, plenty of water, and they get fed 3x a day. They are partially outdoor cats cause we are in NZ in a slightly rural area with plenty of room to roam. We don’t have litter trays as i’m currently pregnant so unable to clean them due to risk of sickness. But they are happy to go outside wherever picks their fancy.

The issue we are having is at various times through the day (but mostly at night before/after their final feed. If Clancey tries to use one of the posts, Pepa will lunge at him & attack him. If Clancey tries to move around, Pepa will stalk him and grab his back end and pin him to the ground. Sometimes she will stand in front of him in an intimidating stance staring at him and grab/bite him on the neck.
Other times there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it she just wants to hurt him.

I know cat play can be rough, but it gets to the point where he sqeals and yelps, and fluff comes out. (He also is a little bit bigger than her)

He doesn’t often initiate play with her, and if he does it ends very quickly with her causing him to scream and him cowering away somewhere.

I really want to help improve their relationship but I’m quite lost on where to begin, especially with a baby on the way (i cant just jump up and break up the fights) i feel like im on edge watching her interact with him, scared that she will keep hurting him. He seems a lot more timid and uncomfortable whenever she is around.

would love some advice on how to help these guys out.

(p.s. i do also try to-tire her out by playing with her strenuously, most days when and where i can)
 

Furballsmom

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Hello - have you considered any calming products, or cat music to try and help her relax? Have both cats been in for a wellness check recently?
 
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lurealC

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Hi Furballsmom Furballsmom :-) We tried feliway which didn’t make a difference, and is really expensive over here so not really a feasible long term solution.
Both cats have been to the vet and are all clear. We asked our vet about what we can do and they just sort of went with the ‘cats will be cats’ advice
 

Furballsmom

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How about Cat Music? It can be surprisingly effective. There's Relax My Cat, Music For Cats, and spotify and other sources have harp music that's been written for cats.

but mostly at night before/after their final feed.
Can you seperate her during this time, before things start?

It's possible that once the baby is there, things will improve, --in other words she might be reacting to your condition. She's spayed and he's neutered? But even so, I'm thinking she's still having instinctual territorial behaviors due to the pregnancy. Hopefully she'll become calmer when baby's on the scene :)
 
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lurealC

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Furballsmom Furballsmom it might be tricky to seperate because its also throughout the day at various stages.
I want to see if there are some things we can do to help in the meantime because hes a bit more timid than i’ve known him. And i dont want her getting in the habit of bullying, especially not once baby arrives (in 4 months)
♥
 

Furballsmom

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but mostly at night before/after their final feed.
To come back to this, the reason I suggested separating them is based on your comment that it's mostly during this time. He needs to be able to eat, plus it could help adjust her mindset if you do this, especially if you start utilizing cat music while she's in another room having her food alone.

The whole idea is to get her to stop. You have to start somewhere, and this seemed the most logical point.

Is she spayed? Is he neutered? Are there other cats outside, which would cause her to be more territorial like this?
 
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lurealC

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Sorry for the delay in response!

They are both spayed/neutered. And i dont see any cats around, but ya never know really!

if i’m looking at it in a routine way would you suggest seperating them as soon as she gets a bit stalky, feed her seperately with some chill out music and then allow them to interact again?

do you have any suggestions for when it happens at other times during the day? Clancey has been slapping her quite a bit lately and will sometimes jump on her back, they both look testy and uncomfortable once he jumps off and she will often jump back on him and get him in a savage headlock.
 
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lurealC

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Theres never any hostility between them when they are eating, they can happily eat & do treat puzzles near eachother at any time with no struggle at all.
 

Furballsmom

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do you have any suggestions for when it happens at other times during the day? Clancey has been slapping her quite a bit lately and will sometimes jump on her back, they both look testy and uncomfortable once he jumps off and she will often jump back on him and get him in a savage headlock.
Honestly this sounds like play, the article might help
Are My Cats Fighting Or Playing? [Answered] - TheCatSite

This below however, since it does sound like she's more deliberate in her behavior and he's not involved, I think I agree on your thinking;

if i’m looking at it in a routine way would you suggest seperating them as soon as she gets a bit stalky, feed her seperately with some chill out music and then allow them to interact again?
 
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