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