Are cats territorial?


Recently, I had to put back a rescued cat to where he was rescued from after nearly a year. He was overcome with joy and emotion to see his home and is happily settled there now. Here’s more about cat’s behaviour.

Can cats be relocated to new homes? This question arises in our mind from time to time. In my experience with cats, cats are essentially territorial but can also be happy in new homes. The adjustment to the new environment should be gradually made.

Here are some interesting facts about cat behaviour:

  • Kittens handled extensively by people at 2–7 weeks of age will be better socialised and less fearful.
  • Touch and handle your kitty frequently.
  • Social play for kittens begins at four weeks and will taper off at 12–14 weeks. Social play involves biting, chasing, and fighting with other kittens.
  • It is important that kittens stay with their mother and other siblings till they are at least 12 weeks of age. This would help them learn better kitty etiquette and prepare them for adulthood.
  • Socialised kittens are less aggressive, friendly and more outgoing.
  • Familiarise them with daily noises like television, vacuum cleaner, radio, etc.
  • Introduce them to strangers, children, other pets (under your close supervision), etc.
  • Cats cannot be intimidated into obedience. They will obey if they want to.
  • Cats, unlike dogs, are not pack animals and peer pressure does not apply to them.
  • Cats are territorial and will defend their favourite spot if another cat approaches.
  • Cats do not like confrontation and will seek to avoid it.
  • Cats do not use their dominant status to control each other.

(Sudhersena is volunteer at the Blue Cross since 1998 and an avid animal lover, pet parent of nine cats and three dogs. She is associated with a number of animal welfare campaigns and programmes).