Cats are solitary animals, very little used to sharing. This implies that in relationships between cats , some try to dominate others. Some cats accept the role of submission, while others defend themselves and establish their own dominance.
Spraying and marking objects is a classic of cat mastery. The cat establishes “ownership” of an object through scent, warning other cats not to approach. An alpha cat may accumulate food or toys, or block another cat’s path to restrict movement. Finally, dominance can lead to physical intimidation and aggression.
Cats are dominant for different reasons. Dominant feline behavior is sometimes confused with play. Knowing why your cats express dominance will help you control possible conflicts.
Are cats instinctively dominant?
Each cat has its own personality. There are cats with the instinct for dominance who will do whatever it takes to be an alpha cat .
Other cats have a more passive and submissive personality, it is not a problem, the only thing is that we must try not to be harassed by other cats with whom they live.
Non-neutered male cats tend to be more dominant, motivated by testosterone. Neutered male cats are calmer in this instinct.
Most cats learn to control their dominant instincts as baby kittens. They are raised in a litter, where they learn to share. The game between kittens allows them to acquire acceptable behavior. Another kitten, or a mother cat, will reprimand dominance or excessive force.
If a cat is separated too early from the litter or is dominant by nature, we must prevent and monitor these behaviors that will make it difficult to live with that cat.
How can cats show dominance?
Cats show their dominance in several ways:
- Marked with urine.
- Hoarding and saving objects.
- Food assault.
- Body language.
- Showing aggressiveness.
- Causing fights.
It is convenient that you know how to recognize these behaviors, which I will explain to you below.
Spraying and Marking
Cats mark the things they consider important with their scent. By marking an object, the cat determines it as his “property.”
Cats generally mark objects using their sweat glands found on the cheeks. If a cat is very territorial or dominant, it will spray urine on objects.
Spraying or spraying a cat is a behavior that you should control, because it is unsanitary, it will spray beds, furniture, clothing and food.
The best way to handle this problem is not to wait for an alpha cat to share with other cats. Try that each cat has its litter box, its bed, its toys. If the dominant cat is aware that he has his own possessions, he will calm down.
The dominant cat may not yet be ready to share an entire house, so it allows each cat its own territory, such as a particular room. Once cats get used to each other, they can get together.
Theft and hoarding
An alpha cat can also steal and treasure objects of interest.
If you are missing something, check the dominant cat’s bed or their favorite hiding places. You will likely find a collection of toys, food, and other items.
If a cat is hoarding, remove and wash the items while your cat cannot see you, this eliminates their odors. Return items to a common area. If he treasures them again, repeat the process.
Aggression during meals
Dominant cats usually eat first when meals need to be shared.
If several cats share the same food bowl, you should observe how they approach the food. Signs of food aggression by alpha cats, which you can observe:
- The dominant cat may push the other.
- Throw away the food plates.
- Eat of all food dishes.
- Grunts and hisses when a second cat tries to eat.
If the submissive cat has difficulty eating, the problem can lead to malnutrition.
To end the aggressiveness and dominance of food in cats:
- Give each cat its own food bowl
- Feed the cats in separate rooms or opposite locations in the room.
- Give both cats equal portions of identical food so that neither of them is jealous.
For the safety of all cats, it is best to keep feeding sites separate. Food is sacred to many cats.
Blocking and control are common traits among dominant cats. They will deliberately get in the way of the submissive cat, he will have to deviate.
Alpha cats often block room exits. They can also get in the way of the litter box or a toy. The dominant cat sometimes attacks if the other cat makes it through.
Never allow a dominant cat to block access to essential items, such as the litter box, food bowl, or water.
An alpha cat will also block a submissive cat’s playtime. The dominant cat wants your full attention. To avoid this, play with both cats at the same time, this will teach the dominant cat that mutual playtime is a rewarding experience.
Groups of cats often groom each other. The dominant feline will groom a subordinate, not the other way around.
The dominant cat with this grooming is showing its superiority. He is showing that he has power over the submissive cat. By allowing the dominant cat close to your face, the submissive is very helpless.
The dominant cat will stand up. The submissive cat will sit or lie down. This ensures that the dominant cat ‘looks down’ at his subordinate.
Also a dominant cat can groom a submissive cat to apologize for the conflict. However, this is rare. Dominant cats rarely feel remorse for expressing dominance. They consider it the natural order of the hierarchy.
Staring is a popular way for cats to declare dominance. This is especially common in cats that do not recognize each other. One cat will look into the eyes of another to intimidate him.
Typically, one of the cats stops looking and walks away. This avoids physical conflicts. At other times, neither of you will want to back down, as this will grant dominance to the other, and a confrontation may ensue.
Cats can stare at each other for hours. As natural hunters, they are used to looking at prey and rarely blink. It is convenient for you to break this situation, you can hold a paper or card between them.
Cats do not usually communicate verbally with each other, the meow is reserved for humans. They show their state of mind through body language. A dominant cat will adopt a particular posture:
- Head held high.
- Very straight back.
- Ears pointing up.
- Tail up and arched at the base.
This pose, along with the staring gaze, is a characteristic body language of an alpha cat . The other cats will recognize it and react accordingly.
If body language is unsuccessful, cats can become verbal with hisses and growls. These sounds can be followed by violence.
Some dominant cats are prone to acts of unprovoked aggression. The alpha cat will hit another cat with its paws, it can hide and jump on the cat when it passes.
This will create some problems. The victim will become anxious, always anticipating an attack. Eventually the cat will probably fight. This leads to a situation where both cats fight for dominance.
Cats often play rough. This is because cats reflect their hunting instincts. Jumping and fighting are popular games for couples and groups of cats. You must differentiate when it comes to games and if we are facing a fight:
Signs that we are facing a game:
- The cats play in silence.
- The claws will remain sheathed.
- Cats bite gently.
- Both cats are happy to participate.
- Cats have relaxed body language.
Signs that the game has turned into a fight and problems may arise:
- Nails are clearly visible.
- The ears are set back or flat against the head.
- Strong bite, to hurt.
- A cat tries to escape but is pushed back.
- They will growl, hiss and howl.
- Cats have bristly hair.
Even in a fight as a game, cats show dominance. Equally positioned cats will take turns being the dominant and submissive pair. A dominant cat will always be the “aggressor” during the game. If the submissive cat allows it, don’t break the game. It is a sure way for the dominant cat to assert itself. If you don’t allow cats to play, aggression will be more likely.
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