My cat goes out for weeks and attacks my other cat on return – why?

My cat goes out for weeks and attacks my other cat on return – why?

by Erin
(Portage la Prairie, MB, Canada)

My cat Pickles goes outside a lot, sometimes for weeks at a time. He always comes home though! (Big Mama’s Boy :P) but EVERYTIME he comes back he hisses at my other cat Sugar and tries to attack her. I’ve taken her to the vet for stitches, but he’s never gone after my dog.

He’s known Sugar since she was a month old, and they never had problems until he come’s home from one of his trips.

Is there a reason for this? Should I maybe get rid of one of them? Is something wrong with my cat?

Erin


Hi Erin… thanks for sharing and asking. I am almost certain that I know why Pickles is doing this but would, as usual, welcome any other suggestions.

Each cat is an individual and all cats are essentially solitary animals except for the lion that form prides. All adult cats also have their own home range, that piece of real estate that they roam over as theirs (domestic cat territory). For the snow leopard this single area can be as much as 1000 square kilometers – astonishing. For the domestic cat it can vary tremendously. At one end of the scale two cats could be full-time indoor cats sharing an apartment and the other end a stray cat might have a home range of several acres and more.

Domestic cats adapt to group living and small home ranges (as do feral cats living near restaurants etc.) as they are looked after by humans.

But each cat, as mentioned, is an individual and Pickles has a conflict going on in his head. He has adapted to living with Sugar and at home. But he has the pull of the wild which brings a large home range and solitude. These are competing emotions.

When the latter calls strongest he wanders for a while. We he tires of that finding it hard, he comes home.

When he comes home he has by then developed a solitary mentality and one which has adapted to a larger home range. He has to re-adapt to group living with Sugar. This he will do in time but initially Sugar is treated as a cat that wrongly occupies his home range so he tries to kick her out.

Once he has re-adapted to her presence he probably treats her as a female cat that lives within his territory. The tiger’s large home range typically has several females living within it on their smaller home ranges.

I suspect that Pickles treats Sugar in that way when he is settled at home.

In short and in conclusion and in answer to your question his behavior is reassuringly normal and typical of a male cat.

As to getting rid of one..ummm..a difficult question. But Sugar is more homey and should stay and Pickles is probably more content in a single cat household.

That said I would be reluctant to re-home him. An ideal alternative arrangement would be one where he has his own small territory but I can see that that is not possible at your home.

These are my thoughts. Before action is taken I would seek a second opinion.

Best

Michael Avatar

Comments for
My cat goes out for weeks and attacks my other cat on return – why?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 26, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Thinking
by: Anonymous

Thanks so much for your help. I’m moving in a few day’s and I have a friend staying at my house with my animals until I can sell it and move them with me. It’s one thing if I can be here to watch them, but there’s a good possibility that it might take me a few months to find a place that takes animals.

So not only will I be several hour’s away but my friend and her two year old daughter will be staying here. Neither of my cat’s have ever hurt a person let alone a child. My niece likes to pull out Pickles fur and all he does is lay there and purr.

I just don’t want her little girl getting scared of animals because she see’s mine trying to kill each other. and I would NEVER put her in a shelter. I have two dogs(One lives at my parents) And two cats.. All of my animals I took so they wouldn’t go to a shelter. I know better, out shelter here has a 48 hour kill policy.. It’s terrible. but thank you so much for your help, I’m taking them to another vet tomorrow to sig them up and all.


Jan 26, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
I agree Michael
by: Ruth

I agree Michael, I think if Erin has decided one cat has to be rehomed and she feels it should be Sugar, then she must find her a good kind home, not a Rescue Shelter.
I mentioned it should be a home without any more cats in it because Sugar understandably will be nervous around any other cat after having been attacked several times by Pickles.
Personally I couldn’t part with either cat, I’d just make sure I kept them apart, but of course I don’t know Erin’s circumstances and if that would be feasible.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Jan 25, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Bizarre
by: Michael

It seems bizarre that your vet has threatened to report you for animal cruelty. That sounds completely nonsensical to me.

Both cats are behaving normally and you are doing your best to resolve the matter.

It seems to be one of those rare cases where one cat refuses to really get on with another even after a long time.

Under these conditions there is an argument that one should be re-homed although that is a very difficult decision.

I wouldn’t use a rescue center or shelter though as they tend to kill cats they can’t re-home.

Michael Avatar


Jan 24, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
To Erin
by: Ruth

Hi again Erin, you aren’t a bad person, if you were you wouldn’t be asking for advice.
Change your vet quickly, but try not to go to one who declaws either as those type certainly don’t put cats welfare first ! I’m shocked that vet threatened to report you ! I don’t think she can do that and you don’t go having cats killed just for being cats.
I can see how much Pickles means to you as you’ve had him from 3 weeks old and if you can find Sugar a good home with no more cats in it she would be happier once she settled in.
You’d still have the worry of Pickles going off on his travels but it doesn’t sound as if he would be happy being kept in.
I’m sorry I can’t think of anything else to help you as I’ve never been in your situation.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Jan 24, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Looking for a New Vet
by: Erin

Thank you so much! My vet suggested putting Pickles down since he was a threat to Sugar. I couldn’t do that unless he was dying! I’ve had him since he was three week’s old, found him in a park. I would hate to get Rid of Sugar as well. Pickles is neutered and I’ve tried keeping him in at night, but when we get a really nice day he bolts out of the house when your least expecting it and he’s gone.

Also I’ve had my vet threaten to report me for animal cruelty, by which she meant keeping Pickles alive when he keep’s attacking Sugar.. Can she really do that? I hate to say it but I think I need to find a better home for Sugar. Makes me feel like such a bad person..


Jan 24, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Nice addition
by: Ruth

Thanks, Ruth, for the additional information – most welcome as usual.

Michael Avatar


Jan 24, 2011
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
My thoughts
by: Ruth

I agree with everything Michael says and I too don’t think you should get rid of Sugar because she’s the victim in this.
In a way though Pickles is as much a victim because he’s only doing what cats do, but you do need to consider Sugar’s welfare.
What I’m wondering is if he is neutered ? It’s unusual for a neutered cat to stray far from home for weeks at a time.
It sounds as if he gets a hero’s welcome and I can understand that as it must be a relief to you when he returns safely but it establishes him as top cat even though he’s not always home and he doesn’t want to lose that position, so he has to keep Sugar ‘in her place’
The dog is no threat to his position.
What you need to do is have him neutered if he isn’t and also try to set him ground rules, such as staying in after dark. Because if he keeps going off the chances are one of these days he might not come home.
Try to keep the cats apart for a while if he does go off and return weeks later, make a fuss of Sugar too when you welcome him home, feed her first when you feed them as you need to establish she has rights too.
It’s a difficult situation. I hope you can resolve it.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks.