Cat to Cat Love or Loathing?

By Valley Girl (VG)

Michael, I have to tell you about something that happened just now, as I was reading through the Sphinx/ Tootsie thread.

It really is, literally, a “visitor cat story”. I looked up from my computer, and saw a cat who is NOT Tootsie was inside my home eating Tootsie’s dinner. I jumped up, and the cat ran away. But, Tootsie was just outside the patio door, and looked confused, and maybe unhappy.

So, here’s the the back story:

I sometimes take Tootsie for “walkies” around our part of the condo complex. I happened to meet a neighbor on Toostie’s “walkies” who saw her and said “oh, she’s been on our patio.” They also have a rescue cat, “Steve”. I’d seen Steve occasionally, and realized that Steve must have been the cat I’d seen on my patio, even before I got Tootsie. So, I told my neighbor, Steve’s human companion, that Steve had been visiting us, also.

I ran into him later, and we joked that maybe Tootsie and Steve had a “thing” going. I don’t have any further reports about Tootsie’s visits, but we haven’t been on “walkies” for a while.

Anyway, back to the present. I realized, about 20 seconds after the visitor cat ran out the patio door, and saw the look on Tootsie’s face, that the cat visitor surely was Steve. Handsome short-haired tabby.

So, this was very very ODD behavior on Tootsie’s part. Maybe they do have a “thing” going.

It is really ODD, because of the visits of the cat I call “the invader cat” is a ginger and white cat that I’m sure doesn’t live in the condo complex.

Last summer this particular cat came into my condo in the early hours of the morning, and I woke up (a lot of noise) to find Tootsie hissing at her/ him in my bedroom. After I made a wild chase to capture this cat, and that is a story itself, he/ she leaped out of the open part of the window in my bedroom (upstairs, second story) and managed to take out the window screen on the way down to the ground.

I’ve seen same cat twice since, so cat obviously survived adventure. But, the only reason I’ve seen the “invader cat” is because I heard Tootsie outside on the patio, hissing and making a fuss. Both times I rushed outside, once to see Tootsie in action hissing off the “invader cat”, and the other time to see the “invader cat” running off. Tootsie does not like the “invader cat”, obviously, and Tootsie defends her patio territory perfectly well.

So, what’s going on? I need a cat specialist to explain this to me! Bear in mind, this just happened, I mean the Steve visit.

Why does Tootsie allow Steve on the patio, and even let him come inside, whereas she ferociously hisses off the “invader cat”? Are Tootsie and Steve in love, or what?

Valley Girl

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9 thoughts on “Cat to Cat Love or Loathing?”

  1. I misunderstood this story when I first read it. There are two male cats who visit your home and Tootsie hisses at one and not the other. Is that correct? If it is, it is because Tootsie likes Steve and not the other who has invaded her home range (the patio and inside it seems).

    Cats do have the capacity to form friendships (I think the experts call them “associates” rather than “friends”). This highlights the need to makes sure that cats in a multi-cat household get along. Just introducing new cats willy-nilly may be OK but it may not work.

    It would be nice if Tootsie and Steve go on. Perhaps the relationship could be tested?

    • Michael and others,

      Steve the neighbors’ cat is male, neutered. I don’t know what sex the other cat is, if spayed or neutered, or where it lives, and under what conditions. It has big patches of white, and big patches of ginger tabby pattern. I don’t think this is genetically diagnostic for M or F sex, but you will know.

      I was partly wondering if the sex of the other cat was a factor. Maybe females more are likely to accept males? And that the invader cat is female?

      More info in answer to comments above.

      • My reading of cat to cat friendships is that male cats spend more time and are physically closer to each other than female to female. But there is not much difference.

        The difference in Tootsie’s attitude towards these two cats may simply be a choice. I don’t think females prefer males as friends etc. in the cat world unless the female is in heat 🙂 Then she wants all the boys she can get. This is pure procreation.

        It seems to me that experts don’t know how cats make friends with other cats. Cats that are related will be friends. But we don’t know what motivates a cat to be friendly with another cat. We have to presume therefore that the reason is similar to ours; we just like someone else. It could be scent related and a visual thing as well.

  2. There seems to be a “knowing” amongst cats. They know immediately if they like each other. I have many stories, but I’ll just mention Yellow cat, my feral cat of four years. I say “my” only because she lives and eats here. I still cannot pet her. She and Shadow, all black neighbor cat, who also lives here most of the time, have been lovers for years. They put on a show for me daily in the back yard. If shadow goes in his own house, Yellow waits patiently under a tree in his yard. They curl up together. She grooms him. They chase and play. They are both older cats, probably 12 and they still act like kittens.

    Yellow will have nothing to do with handsome Marvin. Or sweet Bigfoot. She is a one cat woman!

    Bigfoot is pretty choosy himself. He doesn’t really have any cat friends. For a while, there was a small mean gray cat that lived in the neighborhood. That cat would terrorize shadow and yellow regularly, sometimes for food, sometime times for no apparent reason. One morning, Bigfoot was at the back glass door when the gray cat was there, but Big on the inside, they saw each other, and I kid you not, the gray cat came to the window, they both stood up on hind legs and were meowing and touching paws through the glass. I wasn’t brave enough to let Bigfoot out, but I was fascinated by the behavior. Bigfoot came to live with me as a stray, but long before that gray cat lived near by. I don’t see how they could have known each other. The gray cat has since moved away.

    • Oh, another lovely story. You are so lucky to see the cat love between Yellow and Shadow! That must be heartwarming to watch. And, lol “she’s a one cat woman”.

      And, Bigfoot and mean gray cat! That is amazing cat behavior, meowing and touching paws through the glass. I trust you mean it was in all friendliness, and maybe unrequited love or friendship! Fascinating indeed!

      I often wonder what’s going on in Tootsie’s cat mind. But the added dimension of why cats might accept one cat and reject another adds a level of mystery I hadn’t thought about before.

  3. Great story. I think maybe (Invader Cat) IC is not spayed or neutered? Or has some kind of threatening scent? Perhaps she just knows Steve well. For example after enough time she would be easy going with IC. Maybe she treated Steve like an IC before they got to know eachother. Do you know if IC has a caretaker or is neutered? Also maybe IC sprays regardless of neutering of not and Steve doesn’t. I know spray might be threatening to Tootsie if it is in her territory.

    Failing all that technical stuff maybe Steve is just a nice guy and Tootsie thinks he’s nice company to have around. Cats are like humans in many ways and will get along or not depending on so many different things you cant really have a simple clear answer.

    It’s nice that Tootsie has a buddy/friend/boyfriend. I know my Lilly and Red loved eachother so much. Lilly loves other cats and usually they are female and it’s a certain kind of love but when Red came along she really fell in love with him They would go for walks together at sunset. They really loved each other although Red was young and perhaps was less able to express that easily – more of a wrestler than a cuddler. I know that male and female cats can have very special bonds that are perhaps different to friends of the same sex. There must be some kind of difference afterall they are different sexes so I don’t think it’s wrong to take all these things into consideration.

    Lovely story, thanks for sharing. Maybe IC can eventually become accepted as well. I wonder of Steve and IC know eachother.

    • Great story about Lilly and Red. “Walks together at sunset”… ahhhh.

      I realized after I met Steve’s human (or one of them), and then saw Steve leaving his house (he gets to go out sometimes) that Steve was mostly likely the cat I’d seen on my patio, well before I adopted Tootsie.

      Assuming it was Steve (looked like the same cat) he’d come up and peer into the patio door windows. I’d try gently to coax him to come up to me, but no go. Calm, but shy cat. So, Steve has apparently been visiting the patio for quite some time. Because of this, maybe when Tootsie moved in his scent markings were a familiar part of the outdoor experience for her.

      I know that when we go “walkies” Tootsie does tend to spend a lot of time sniffing around the area outside Steve’s patio. The only way to get into Steve’s patio is when the owners prop open the back gate. So, that was the one (or maybe two times) that they’d seen Tootsie on the patio. But Steve wasn’t there are the time. They shooed her off, thinking (husband said) that she was a male cat. (And probably potential nuisance, tho that was not stated.) Not sure they liked another cat visiting, but when I said Steve visits my patio too, then the conversation subtlely changed tone.

      I’d never seen Tootsie and Steve at the same time until last night, but who knows what they get up to! Steve seems like a very sweet cat, so I hope he continues to visit. I was just startled to see a not- Tootsie cat eating her dinner, in my kitchen.

      I’ve not seen the “invader cat” visiting the patio on his/ her own, and my first view of the “invader cat” was the kerfuffle with Tootsie in my bedroom, and the following views with Tootsie hissing it off. So, my guess is that the “invader cat” is not from the condo area. I don’t know if that makes a difference or not- except that Tootsie does to like to surreptitiously visit patios in the area, and maybe she thus knows that “invader cat” is not local.

      I really have no idea! But, I will note, that even though it’s more subtle, for a couple of reasons, that female cats (spayed) do spray. No obvious odors, and the butt wiggle is more subtle that for males (I assume). But, I’ve seen Tootsie do this- at least that’s how I interpret the behavior.

      The “rental cat” (female) I had on sabbatical also did this, although I didn’t realize this until the owners (of house and cat) were moving back in, and I was helping them. (I’d volunteered to take care of their cat as part of the rental.) There was a large pane of glass propped up against an outside wall. The three of us were standing near it when “rental cat” aka Pookie came up and sprayed on it. The spray was quite evident on the glass surface! But no “smell” to it.

      Anyway, that alerted me to the fact that female cats spray. But, you have to pay attention to notice it, or realize what you are seeing. Seen the same behavior with my best friend’s neutered female, which she completely missed. I would have too, had I not seen the “glass pane evidence”.

      Ah, sorry, straying a bit her…

      • Maybe then Tootsie feels like she was entering Steve’s territory to begin with and so it’s more about her being accepted in his space. She sounds like a very peaceful and friendy cat.

        Yes all cats can spray but I understand that cats neutered at a young age don’t usually spray much or at all.

        I think she likes Steve – I think the fact that he’s male means something – not sure what but technically he is her boyfriend 🙂

        • This could be true. I agree, I think she is a gentle cat. She might feel that she needs a bit of a cat company and Steve seems like a cat she could associate with. Perhaps arrangements could be made for a supervised meeting 😉


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