Three years ago, I adopted two tabby cat sisters from a local agency. The contract says that they are a bonded pair and must be kept together. After three years of behavior issues with one of the cats, I am done. I have tried everything I could think of; consulting the vet, supplements,etc. The one cat just bullies the other, until she is losing weight because of having her food taken. She is hiding most of the day, while the other cat slowly takes over the whole house for herself.

I am afraid that if I try to re-home the bully cat, that I may be penalized by the shelter. I am at the end of my rope here, and I sincerely think both cats will be better off separated for good. I want to keep the bullied cat.

  • What age were the cats when you adopted them?
    – user25771
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 23:41
  • I adopted both cats when they were seven months old, back in 2020. They have changed drastically since then. Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 4:54

2 Answers 2


Have you tried asking the shelter what they suggest be done in this case? They may agree with you that the cats would be better separated, or they may have suggestions on ways reduce the conflicts, or on ways to implement separate feeding.

I know someone who had two cats, both on special diets not good for the other cat, who got a pair of fancy food bowls that opened only for the cat who was wearing a particular ID tag on its collar; not cheap but not expensive compared to vet visit costs, took some training to get the cats to not be afraid of the cover motors, but did the job.

If you don't have that issue, there may be other solutions depending on whether one or both of your cats has food insecurity issues. Keeping multiple feeding locations is one possibility; it's a nuisance but prevents one cat from monopolizing all the food since they can only guard one bowl at a time.

Another friend was able to achieve something of the same effect by putting one food bowl on a counter that the younger cat could jump to but the older cat could no longer reach. Again, that was a diet issue, not a bullying issue, and I have no idea whether it would work for your cats; I'm just tossing out ideas.

  • It isn't just the food; the bigger cat chases the smaller one out of the room so that she can hog all the attention. I have also seen the bigger cat gobble all her own food then intimidate the smaller so that she can take hers, too. They used to play together, now they don't. I have written the shelter and am waiting for a reply. Commented Jul 25, 2023 at 4:57

I agree with keshlam that you should ask the local agency for advice. I also agree that the current situation is detrimental to the bullied cat.

Cats are living creatures with individual personalities and they do change their personalities overtime. Shelters and animal welfare organizations should be aware of that fact and allow for those changes in their contracts. My family has also adopted a dog from a welfare organization and the contract states that the dog must not be given to a shelter or research lab or anything like that. However, it does allow another person to adopt the dog from us, provided that the new owner signs the same contract at the same organization.

You have clearly shown your care and dedication to keep both cats, so there shouldn't be any accusations of "trying to get rid of" one of them.

  • I have been in contact with the agency; they are behaving as if the cats will be traumatized by a separation. I just want to get this over with; it was bad enough having to come to this decision and now I am having to defend it. Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 17:06
  • My advice is to record video evidence of the behavior. The people at the agency only know the cats as they were 3 years ago. Your word as the owner should be trusted as much as their word as the former owner, but objective evidence is less disputable. Other evidence would be vet records (if they noted that one cat lost weight). In the meantime, give the bullied cat one dedicated room where the other cat is not allowed in. Make sure the bullied cat has all her food, water, bed and scratching posts in this one room, but no item of the other cat. That separation helped our cat as well
    – Elmy
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 5:35
  • Great advice! I will be keeping them separate until this is resolved. I did hear back from the shelter and they are wiling to take the bully cat back. I specified that I think she should be the sole cat in her next adoption, or she will do the same as she is doing now. Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 14:45

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