If you are a cat owner and have noticed that your cat sometimes comes home with battle scars, don’t be too alarmed, as cats are very territorial and any newcomer will have to earn his place in the neighbourhood. Recent studies on urban cat behaviour revealed that cats actually travel quite a distance from their home, and they know this because they put GPS collars on all the cats involved in the experiment.
So, in an average urban area, each cat would have its own territory, which they would mark, yet other cats will traverse through, and should your cat be around when it does, they will vigorously defend their territory. This is the same behaviour that big cats have, lions, especially, have their own area and should they find another animal in their patch, they will defend it with their lives. If there is a fight, one cat will come out on top, which is usually the resident cat, and that is normally sufficient to ensure peace. Male cats that have not been neutered can also cause conflicts, as they prowl around looking for receptive females, and this can be a real problem.
Introducing a New Cat into the Home
This always a tricky situation, and sometimes the new cat is tolerated from day one, especially if they are young and adopt a submissive stance, but if you are planning to bring a new cat into your home, keep it in a cage or crate for the first few hours, which will allow the resident cat to become accustomed to the idea. If you have several cats and want to stop your cats fighting, this can be a real challenge, and it could be that they are not actually fighting, rather it is rough play. There is one way to tell, when they are together, if they chase each other around a lot and after the fight there are no injuries to either animal, then the chances are it is merely play. Serious fights will see very little chasing around, and when they fight, their claws will be out!
Let Nature Take its Course
This is very often the only thing you can do, and just like wild cats, a newcomer has to find their place in the hierarchy. Introducing kittens into the home is not normally an issue, as the young cat will be very submissive, however, bringing an older cat into a home that already has a cat can be potentially dangerous. In most cases, the new cat will be tolerated after a few days, providing it does not attempt to be the boss!
Cats are very much like humans, in that they might get on with another, or they might not. If your cat is fighting with a neighbour’s cat, there’s nothing you can do but to let nature take its course. The best approach is to take out some pet insurance, which will cover any vet bills that are a result of injuries sustained from fighting.