Aggressive tomcat coming into your house to attack your cat. How to stop it.

Aggressive roaming male cat
Aggressive roaming male cat. Picture in the public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats


Humans often live in a row of houses with backyards and fences delineating their property boundary. Domestic cats don’t recognise boundaries. They just recognise space, the space that they claim as their own. It crosses human boundaries. They don’t understand doors and windows. If a neighbour’s cat comes into your home the cat doesn’t think that they’re coming into your home. They are simply wandering around what they consider to be their home i.e. their ‘home range’ or territory. That’s why you’ll see clashes between domestic cats. It’s because they’ve carved out their home ranges and they don’t match up to the “home ranges” of their human caregivers. Male cats are more protective of their space than females so they attack intruders and your cats are intruders in the eyes of a marauding tomacat.

Home range of domestic cat - MALE
Home range of domestic cat – MALE. Image in public domain.

Coming into the home

If a neighbour’s male cat (tomcat) is coming into your home it is a difficult problem to solve. There are some conventional solutions but they seem quite weak. For example, you can talk to the cat’s owner but that’s liable to end up in an argument and you don’t want to argue with a neighbour because it makes your lifestyle less good. In any case, they are liable to say that they won’t do anything about it because they believe that their cat has the right to roam and after all their cat is all right. Their cat is doing the aggression so there’s no issue to discuss for this cat owner. I don’t think you will be successful talking with your neighbour and even if they are kindly what can they do? Keep their cat inside their home after he has been free-roaming for years? No chance.

Lack of success in discussing the matter with your neighbour may drive you to consider legal action under the tort (civil wrong) of nuisance, negligence or trespass. Or you might go to your local authority and asked them for help. If the cat attacked somebody in your home you might go to the police for help. I don’t think any of these avenues are likely to succeed even if you steel yourself to do them. Nobody wants to go to court about this sort of thing mainly because the outcome is uncertain and the processes horrible. The police aren’t interested. It’ll be the same with the local authority unless a person has way too many cats and they are causing a problem in the neighbourhood generally. The local authority may get involved then. But a single cat causing mischief won’t interest them.

The underlying problem is that domestic cats have the legal right to roam unlike dogs. Therefore having discounted all the other conventional answers I think that the only workable solution is to present a physical barrier. In this regard, their are two things that can be done. Firstly you can fit a microchip activated catflap which only works for your cat provided they are microchipped of course. That’s a pretty simple solution and secondly you can fit a plastic mesh over the window that you open on the ground floor. You can buy them on Amazon or you can make them yourself. You can get plastic mesh online and you can cut the material to the right size and attached it to a window using Velcro which you can also buy online. I have done this myself and it’s pretty straightforward and it means that you can open the window to let in air while preventing your cat using the window to get out or a neighbour’ cat to get in. It will also stop bugs coming into the home which is an added benefit.

Attacks outside the home

The solution that I have presented should resolve the problem of a neighbour’ cat attacking your cat inside the home but of course it does not address any issues outside the home if your cats are freeroaming in the neighbourhood. There’s nothing you can do about that in my opinion. It’s one of those intractable problems. The only compromise solution is to use your back garden or backyard as a cat enclosure with a thoroughly good cat confinement fence around it which keeps cats in and stop outside cats getting in. But this is quite an expensive solution and in the UK almost nobody likes to confine their cats in any way. The attitude is that domestic cats should be free to roam. With that attitude you’re going to get the occasional antagonism between domestic cats protecting their home range.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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