My boyfriend owns a 9 year old female cat (Lucy). She is a street cat. She has never been spayed, and has given birth once to a single dead kitten. This happened about four years ago. She's a bit overweight now.

I told my boyfriend that I thought it would be a good idea to get one more cat so she has company and so we recently adopted a four month old male cat (Yo-Yo). At first, Lucy didn't pay him much attention and was a bit jealous but later on she started accepting him and she is now really affectionate towards him. She plays with him, licks him and she even lets him steal her food. We try not to let that happen if we witness it. However, lately, and because he's growing up, Yo-Yo has been really naughty, trying to eat leftover food, messing up the plants and so on.

If my boyfriend or me try to discipline Yo-Yo, Lucy gets really aggressive and attacks us (mostly me though). Let's say I have a lot more bites and some are deep and scratches than my boyfriend does.

In addition, my boyfriend surprised me a few times when I was lying in bed reading a book by jumping on me from behind. I shouted at him because I didn't expect it, and even though I was the one sitting quietly not bothering anyone, I get attacked by Lucy. I have a feeling that she doesn't like loud noises and surprises but I don't understand why I get attacked when it should have been my boyfriend getting attacked for "attacking' me (in Lucy's mind).

I'm just tired of having bite marks all over my legs, either because I tried to discipline Yo-Yo or because I happened to be physically surprised by my boyfriend.

How can I permanently stop that behavior? (I have asked my boyfriend not to make me react that way but there is no guarantee it will never happen again)

  • 2
    I noticed, cats react differently for women, because your voice is more similar to theirs. And they typically don't like eachother so strongly, particularly the large, alien ones. She knows that you are a woman, from your body scent, but it doesn't matter for she. She knows that your boyfriend loves you, and this is probably her main problem. Give her food, if you do this repeatedly, you will elevate from alien invader into a food servant, which is much better status.
    – Gray Sheep
    Sep 18, 2017 at 0:47
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    I do give her food but she's already overweight. And she will bite me to get my attention every time I go in the kitchen, too. This happens at least twice a day. Sep 18, 2017 at 0:49
  • If she bites, while you are going to the kitchen, turn back on the spot. And give her some minute to think, in which direction does she want you to move. :-)
    – Gray Sheep
    Sep 18, 2017 at 0:57
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    Give her food as custom (if it doesn't happen, she will be really angry), but give her lesser. I never had problem to help cats to lose weight. The main problem is a psychoterror what she will do to you some days long. Don't reduce her food very heavily, maybe a -30% reduction is okay. Overweight cats are typically only too good in their human manipulation technics :-)
    – Gray Sheep
    Sep 18, 2017 at 1:00
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    I've been giving her less food like you said but every hour she will just do what I said in the question. Trying to get our attention by trying to scratch or bite us in order to giver her food. When I face her as I walk past her, she won't bite but it's just tiring to keep walking backwards to avoid getting bit. Sep 18, 2017 at 1:14

4 Answers 4


In addition, my boyfriend surprised me a few times when I was lying in bed reading a book by jumping on me from behind. I shouted at him because I didn't expect it, and even though I was the one sitting quietly not bothering anyone, I get attacked by Lucy.

Did Lucy see that he jumped on you from behind or did she only hear you? If the second was the case, she naturally tried to defend him. But even if she did see it, she did not thought that he attacked you. Some cats attack each other just for fun, so it is a known principle. And they are good at reading humans' body language. She had seen that your boyfriend came to you full of anticipation for his attack and without any aggression towards you. She recognized that it was just a game. But you were a bit aggressive towards him when you reacted, right? So she defended him.

There is one main thing between you and this cat. And this is your boyfriend. Lucy was first, right? So he was caring just for her when he was at home. And now you are there, too. And your boyfriend is giving you attention. Probably more than Lucy, right? And this is correct and nothing should change. Lucy has to learn that it is ok that you exist and that you belong to him.

So the first lesson is that you have to be self-confident but calm. You wrote that you have the feeling that she does not like loud noises. That is possibly true. So try not to make loud noises.

The second thing you want her to do is love you. One thing to know is that trying to pet her all the time or even looking at her will not help you with this. On the contrary, it is best to start to ignore her. Don't watch her, and if she comes and tries to attract attention, don't react much. You can look at her for a short moment, but you have to be the one who ends up with it. Then you can start to ask her for attention, and she likely will accept that. Try to play with her or gave her some treats. There are 3 rules:

  1. You start the game or giving treats. Never give her what she wants if she starts to attack you or begs for something.
  2. You end the game or giving treats. You have to stop it before she loses interest.
  3. Stop the game or giving threats immediately when she starts to be aggressive towards you.

The key is to always stay calm even if the cat does something wrong. If you try to discipline her, it is best to stop doing positive things with her like giving treats or playing with her. Do this immediately the second she starts behaving in a way you don't like. Or, if there is nothing you can stop, show her you don't like what she is doing. For example make a hissing noise and stare at her. If this is not sufficient, you can push her away. You are stronger, so do not hit her, but you can shift her. Always start with a soft reaction and increase the pressure until she stops. Raise your voice and shout at her just in case nothing else works.

A good tip for rewarding an overweight cat is to lock the food so that she can't eat whenever she wants. Then portion the food so that you know how much you can feed her a day. And then divide this portion into smaller parts you can give as treats or as regular feedings. Feed her as often as possible if she was used to having the food always around, so that it is easier for her to rearrange.

At first it will be really difficult to find a situation where you can feed her, because she possibly is aggressive really often, but you have to wait until she does not attack you or is not begging. Be patient. This time will pass. You can try to put her in another room just for a minute, if she does not calm down, and then free her and give her some food, before she has the chance to attack you. If she was faster, put her back into the room, wait a minute and try it again.

And last but not least it is really important that your boyfriend supports you in disciplining the cats. It won't work so well if he does not support you. The cats will recognize it, and he has more authority than you at this point of time. Speaking of support, it may be a good idea if he is defending you, when Lucy starts to attack you. It shows her that he is at your side and helps her to find her new position as second after you.

  • I think she saw he jumped on me. Yeah, Lucy was first but I wouldn't say he's paying more attention to me than her. In fact I used to tease him about it. I don't know, I feel that Lucy is the queen and I'm the princess :) Sep 19, 2017 at 12:00

Don't discipline cats by yelling. This can cause more aggression and it reinforces the idea that she can bite you to get your attention.

There isn't much you can do to stop her attacking you when she's scared, this is an involuntary reaction and an unfortunate reality for some cats. Trying to stop this behaviour would be harmful in my opinion, but you can try and redirect her to a toy or something she can scratch.

When she bites you to try to get your attention, you can either ignore her or put her in a room on her own for a little while (no longer than half an hour in my opinion). Maybe leave a toy in the room with her so she can learn to use up energy on her own.


I would be happy that Lucy accepted Yo-Yo so much, even to the point of defending him, which is very rare.

As far as the comment above about female cats not liking women, I've never heard or noticed this. In fact, the two people that I can think of that have the closest relationship with their cat are both women and female cats.

I would just make sure when your BF gets onto Yo-Yo to make sure you're not around. And you/he should really focus on stopping Yo-Yo's bad behavior, which can often be done. In fact, Jackson Galaxy would say it can always be done, maybe unless the cat has been through some real trauma. Are you in NYC by chance? If so, you could be on My Cat From Hell. :) There have been many episodes of cats attacking SO's.


That is typical jealousy. For Lucy, it does not matter whether you are human or a cat, it matters that you are a "female". The way you explain it, the picture is quite clear: whenever there is a "problem", she protects "her" males against the only "enemy" - you, the other "female".

The only thing you can do is to be the wiser, and accept the situation, as well as minimize the number of situations when Lucy has to choose. Do not discipline anyone when Lucy is around. Let your boyfriend handle these things.

I also expect that Yo-yo is actually more protective of you against your boyfriend - I mean, he protects you and Lucy against the other "male". However, his bias might be very weak and his actions too subtle for you to notice them - especially while you are defensive "against" Lucy.

To test my assumption, you can do some small test: while the boyfriend and Yo-yo are clearly on one side of the room (and Lucy is aware of this) and you are on another side of the room (or apartment, whatever) make some loud noises (e.g. scream, or sing loud and possibly unexpected...). I expect that Lucy will not be (very) aggressive, since you are clearly not hurting her "proteges".

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