HomeCat Behaviorcat personalityDo You Have An “Alpha” Cat?

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Do You Have An “Alpha” Cat? — 24 Comments

  1. My Dusty. In 1999, she found me at work the day after Hurricane Floyd blew past us. She was “about” six weeks old then.

    I took her home and she, even as a kitten, very soon became the QUEEN. She could control the other two with just a look. It was hilarious, and kind of fascinating to see that transformation. My biggest boy then, “Cosmo”, was easily three times her size, but even he quickly ran, ears back with that “Oh, crap!” body language, when she gave him nothing more than that look.

    When we’d go to bed, she get up once, patrol the perimeter then come back and settle in. If either of the boys came wandering out, she’d put them back in their place.

    She was something.

    • Wow. That is true alpha cat behavior. It is very interesting but Cosmo immediately understood she was the top cat and I wonder how that message is transmitted other than through the way she looks at them. Thanks for sharing. As I am sure you know Dusty is a black calico with a super blaze down her nose.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Much like Jackson Galaxy’s feelings about the word “alpha cat” is unnerving – since cats aren’t in the canine family, I prefer “top cat”.

    We have a “top cat” for sure- He finds a way to get his needs met before his brother, and most of the time he isn’t timid in the least. His name is Sir Hubble Pinkerton.

    His brother, Dr. Hush Puppy- while he can definitely sway a paw at his brother when he has had enough- is more philosophical about things, and if it isn’t really important to him- he generally will allow his brother to have first place in line- but this is because he doesn’t get attached to most things.

    I thought I would add Jackson’s wonderful article about why he doesn’t like the term- the video is quite delightful.

    Thanks for an interesting article!

    • Agreed, Elisa.
      What really happens in my world is that there is a reigning king; and, as I said, it is most always a large orange male.
      At least in my colonies, the king eats first, then the females are allowed, followed by the remaining males. Any extraneous ones such as a rare newbie or stray waiting on the outskirts can eat when all are done.

  3. Since our old cat Ebony died almost 7 years ago our two 12 year old cats Walter and Jozef have never really sorted out who is top cat, they seem to job share lol

  4. I have an alpha cat. She passed two years ago at the age of nineteen. (I see you, Oliver! <3) She was the matriarch, a grey-haired silver tabby, who was given to me as a kitten when I was crewperson for an arborist, Stan Greve. I fondly knew her as Ollie, or "Owlie," as she had huge golden eyes that could see every little thing going on in the household of five cats, both male and female. She ruled. Respected by all, and yes, she ruled with a firm paw.

  5. Super article, Tim.
    This is so fascinating to me, because I don’t think I’ve ever had a female alpha. How common is that?
    In all of my worlds, the reign belongs to large orange males. But, I have seen some strong females in sort of the secondary position once in a while.

  6. well ive had both an Alpha female Tammy and Ozzie is the present Alpha Male. Though with the introduction of a female cat Jasmin might change that. see pics

    • Do you think that the size of a cat matters when it comes to being an alpha cat?

      By the way the reason why one or 2 of your photographs did not upload is because the file sizes too large. You may know that. Don’t worry but you can reduce the size online and you can find out how by clicking on the link below the comment box.

      • thanks yea i realised that thanks. yea well tammy was a big girl. she loved to boss her humans around as well. She was was special and unique as she could jump up on door handles and open doors. I had a smaller fridge/freezer when i was on my own and she could open the them with her paw. I had to put a block in front of it as she was very clever. i had to try and outsmart her as if she didnt get her way she would try and control. SHes sadly missed. Ozzie taken over her role now im sure both tammy and cassy have passed their spirit to ozzie and cassy to jasmin as can see it clearly. Hes not very happy about the kitten. but i think hes getting used to it now. The others are abit more accepting of it.

    • He beguiles the others with his good looks! He is so handsome that they have to look up to him. They think he is superior to them and that is why he is an alpha cat. He has a presence which allows him to be the alpha cat. I’m just joking but there may be something in it namely our cat looks. I don’t know. Just a thought.

      • Forget sleeping with him. He can rattle a door harder than Linda Blair in The Exorcist! He’s pushy when going ofter food and he never has to wash his own butt or ears. I look down a lot when sitting on the couch to find he joined me. He considers me his possession. He loves Sealy and Sealy loves him.

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