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Need a shock type collar for a fixed male cat to stop him from attacking a fixed female cat when he gets too close. Answered

Our 8 year old fixed male cat has decided he hates a fixed female in the house. He only attacks her, we thought fixing her would help, but it did not...he stalks her, and attacks her and bites her around the neck. We thought if we could put a low frequency shock type halter on him so when he gets within a few feet of her it would give him a small shock so he would avoid her. She of course would also have to have a collar on to "see" him coming. We have tried many different things, at this point she is safe in a separate room with a screen door, but that isn't fair to her or the other cats. Thank you and no I do NOT like the idea of shocking him, but I also do no like the fact she can be laying sleeping in a window, doing nothing wrong and he just jumps her. BTW..he is a very large Maine Coon/Siamese mix..about 18 lbs and she is a domestic short hair about 8 lbs...so it is never fair. 

11 Replies

VygerBest Answer (author)2011-07-16

Animal behavior and interactions are both mystifying at times and also fascenating. Just when you think you figure out what is going on things change.
There is really no way to know just how both cats will react to the introduction of another variable like a shock collar. (Do they even make them for cats?)
Have you ever heard the expression "Kicking against the goads"? The expression has its roots in animal control and herding. A goad is usually a sharp stick of some sort that is used to move animals forward, such as a pair of oxen in a yoke. Most of the time when you poke an ox in the butt it moves forward, away from the stimulus. But every now and then you get one that does not and instead kicks back. This results in him getting poked even more and it can become an escalating cycle. The ox fights against moving forward when all it has to do to stop the negative stimulus is just that, move forward. Kicking gets him nowhere, and yet he still does.
There is no way to predict how your cat would react to a collar (goad). He may become even more hostile and associate the presence of the other cat as the reason for getting shocked. It might cause him to attack with purpose (intent to kill) if he gets that idea in his head. And he might override the temporary discomfort of the collar to achieve his purpose. So right now, at the moment he might just be reinforcing his dominance, showing that he is top cat, but the collar would shift that balance of power and he could become determined to reassert himself at any cost.
I have a bunch of cats at the moment, and the dynamics between them is amazing. They are all related, all coming from the same parents, and yet some of them like each other and some of them don't. Some are submissive and get along with all the others and some are dominant and expect the others to respect that. If a smaller cat who should be submissive but refuses comes up against a larger dominant cat then a battle ensues. I have seen my big cat who is at the top of the pack, put the smaller kittens in their place with a fast whack followed by a stare down. If the kitten acknowledges him and backs down then its over. But there is one other cat that he does not like at all and if that one comes into the house when he is inside there will be a battle. The other one, even though mismatched, will not give in to him and it escalates to a full battle. What really got her in trouble though is that when she gets into a fight with him she poops. He literally scares the poop out of her. I didn't appreciate having to clean up the mess so she got banned from being in the house with him. Since summer has made being outside a fun thing for them she has turned semi wild. I see her every few days when she comes in for food. She hisses at everybody else, eats her fill and then disappears again.
They also have disagrements over places. One cat might consider a certain area as its place. I have one that has her place for sleeping. She gets along fine with all the others as long as they don't try and take over her place.
So maybe the smaller cat is not being submissive to the bigger one. Or maybe she is taking his space. Maybe he just needs to get outside a little and assert himself with the other wild life, foreign and domestic, so he can feel that he is keeping his turf safe. Its hard to tell really, you will need to observe more of the dynamics. it might be impossible for the two to ever get along, or they may move out of this phase and become best buds. If they are contesting over turf in the house then you might need to make that spot off limits to all of them. Make it your spot and let them know. I have one cat that really like to sit in my computer chair, which is fine with me as long as I am not using it. But I got tired of having to move her every time I wanted to sit. So for a few times I just sat on her. (Not the full weight) and she got the message. Now she moves when I come to my desk. Its my spot.
I know that they can be jealous of each other, fight over dominance and fight over turf. Just make sure they know that you are the top cat and you might be able to effect better relationships between them. I don't know what effect a collar might have because there is no way to know how they will react to it. I do know that a spray bottle of water has an amazing effect on them. Its one thing they do respect. I don't even need to use it anymore, I just point my finger and make the spray noise.

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lzigler (author)Vyger2011-07-16

Yeah that is kind of what I was worried about..that it would make things escalate. We are definitely sick of it and yes she does the same thing, poops when he attacks, and sounds nasty..it is, but it is very nasty smelling, worse than the normal cat poop..not sure if it really is..but seems like it.
We have her in her own place now, the other cats in the house are also more calm as there is not that fighting anymore, she can't visit others, but she gets us to herself at times through out the day.
We have discussed re homing her, but we don't want to do that either..lol. She is part of our family..but if it comes down to that it is what will happen...just getting to the end of our rope..it has been going on so long. It does not seem to be in a cycle, just seems to be whenever he can get the chance...and he watches for any chance.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and help in this area..we appreciate it..just knowing that we are not the only ones that deal with this makes it a bit easier..lol.

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orksecurity (author)Vyger2011-07-16

Good advice. They have personalities. Sometimes they'll get along, sometimes they won't. Either separate them, or let them settle it. Asserting your own dominance over the whole clowder more strongly may or may not help; cats don't take orders very well but may deign to accept requests.

Re that last point: A friend of mine has a cat who _liked_ being squirted. Or at least liked attention enough that he was willing to accept being squirted as attention.

(My two are sibs, and the question was less whether they were going to get along with each other than whether they would accept me into that circle. The dynamics have been interesting.)

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j-christopher-blair (author)2014-07-31

I realize I'm replying 3 years too late, but in case its helpful to anyone having the same problems:

My advice would be to put the animals in cages near each other. Start far away so that the animals can get comfortable being around each other at that distance, and gradually move the cages closer together. The trick is that you need to force the animals to have safe, positive interactions until they become comfortable around one another and realize that just being around the other cat is not a threat in any way. (Also, you want to supervise these actions until you are sure that the kitties cannot get out and hurt each other.)

Once you've established that the cats can be in cages very near each other without tension, you can let them out on a (very) supervised release policy. If you have a treat or snack that your larger cat responds to, you can provide it whenever the cat is behaving well. Let them out for very short durations at first, and gradually lengthen the time they spend together.

I agree that a shock collar is inappropriate - at first. The larger cat may begin to associate the shock with being around the new cat, and it may develop a worse relationship with the new cat as a result. However, once the animals have been in cages around each other for long enough, AND you've let them get to know each other out of the cages (when they're ready) on a very supervised release schedule, if your larger cat is attacking the smaller cat, a shock collar is perfectly appropriate. In this way, your cat will learn that simply being around the other cat is not dangerous in any way, BUT that trying to hurt your new family member is completely unacceptable.

I wish there were a "nicer" way to make animals understand us, but there's not. Animals aren't psychic, and we need to use all the tools available to us (in the most ethical way possible).

(CYA Language: I've studied animal learning patterns, but I am NOT a professional animal trainer. It is highly advisable to consult a licensed trainer before you attempt any behavioral training with your pet(s). Please do not follow my advice (or anyone else's advice) unless you fully accept all inherent risks associated with the activity in which you are engaging. Thanks, and best of luck!)

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Kiteman (author)2011-07-16

Before you fix on using a shock-collar, check your local law. They're illegal in England, but not in Wales.

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Vyger (author)2011-07-16

By the way, welcome to instructables. I noticed that you signed up just today. Many of us who answer questions often look at the profiles of the person who is asking so we can get a better feel for the question and form a more appropriate answer. An answer to a 12 year old's question will often be less complex than one to a 30 year old. We try to help the best we can.

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orksecurity (author)2011-07-16

Hate to say it, but I suspect the best answers are either to let them work it out or re-home one of them...

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2hot2hack (author)2011-07-16

every nite there are these 2 cats that fight and it drives my dog mad.i feel like opening my gate and letting my dog chase them away. but DONT use a shock
coller but if you do.....dont make one they can spark and catck fire only buy one that hase been tested

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Jack A Lopez (author)2011-07-16

I dunno... here's the best I could find for an actual collar that delivers electric shocks:

Also there are ultrasonic noise-maker-type trainers such as:

BTW, there is an institution in Massachusetts which uses similar techniques for training,  ah... um, humans,
not to be confused with that other institution in  Massachusetts.
Although I'm sure shocking things happen there too.

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steveastrouk (author)2011-07-16

Does he do it all the time, or just cyclically - we had a neutered girl with some residual tissue that made her interesting to the neutered boys, to the bafflement of both.


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