Cats are bullys too

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Become a Bully Buster

I was at my parents house, where they have three cats and one big blind dog.  I grew up with cats as a kid, and always remember each had their own personality, and they all interacted in a way that fit to some extent, but didn’t think much further into it.  There was Sumdge who in his day was the “top dog” of the cats, and Boots, who was a bit more passive like Mellow Yellow.  And Thumper, I remember, often times would get in a spat with Smudge as he was growing up, only to be put in his place, on the lower level of the three tiered cat bed set up that I remember.  It wasn’t until this recent visit that I started to notice and actually think a bit more on the cats behavior towards each other.  I think that with a recent focus on “bullying” issues, I have grown a keen eye to imbalance in relationships in general, and have taken interest in trying to spot “bully” behavior where ever I go.  I am now convinced that two of the now present cats at my parents house, are straight up bullying the 3rd cat.

I know that bullying stems from an imbalance of power and happens over time, and that is exactly what seems to be the case here, but with cats.  Hobie and Tobie are the bullies, picking on Scooter, excluding him from their cat games, physically abusing him by sneak attacks, or chasing him from room to room.  I noticed that I had a little social experiment happening right in front of me in the living room, and I have learned quite a bit more about the three cats paying close attention to their behavior.  Scooter, the victim, has obvious anxiety as a result of being bullied, and he seeks attention or help from us humans when we are around.   I used to think that he was just being friendly or wanted human love, but I have found and now believe that he is using us humans as a kid would a teacher, to get some momentary relief from the bullies.  And even more interesting, when Scooter is on a human lap, I have noticed that the bully cats do respect the safety zone, and keep a perimeter watch so as to know when and if Scooter is out of the safe zone.

To top off my suspicion, I randomly found a TV show called “My Cat From Hell” on the Animal Planet, and the weird looking host visits homes of problem cats, and does a full diagnostics of why there are issues, and has a handful of suggestions to help the owners out, and help out some cats that seem to be the victim of such “cat bullying” from other cats in the house.  I found myself watching the show, to realize that the two bullying cats in my Parents house, like many bullies at schools, may have some deep rooted issues, may be jealous, or may be just taking advantage of their power over the weaker of the cats.  The Cat Man from the TV show, seems to claim to know how to make cats get along, and just like with humans, the real problem solving comes with the follow up.  There are no quick fixes for cats, nor are there with kids.  The first step is identifying that there is a problem, then finding how to help and then helping.

What I realized in noticing the bully behavior of my feline friends, is that sometimes bully behavior is not so easy to identify.  I think the same is true with kids.  We must have a watchful eye, and know that we can provide saftey zones for them, but we must not stop there.  For my cats, I am going to watch a few more episodes of “My Cat From Hell” before I come up with my Bully Buster Cat program, but I will make an effort to monitor more, and try to balance the power.

I will keep you posted on my Anti-Cat-Bullying research as it develops!

Ryan Foland


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