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Name: Giovanni
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: Italy
Date: Summer 2011
 

Question:
I have read that cats tend do communicate to each other more with body language (and other sounds: hissing, growling etc) rather than meowing. Again the two exceptions seem to be mother with kittens, and intact males at the intial phases of dominance "discussion". Now, I recently two neutered females (mother 2Y (M) and daughter (D) 10 months). A (very likely male & neutered)cat (X) has been visiting our garden; typically when he arrives and our cats are not out starts meowing (does not sound aggressive, nor his body language does); there have been a couple of initial apparently friendly (nose to nose) allbeit very prident contacts between M and X, but at the end f the sedon one M started growling and I and Dwent got closer and X run off. Since then though X has been coming back evry night and morning, again meowing (again does nt sound aggressive) but now M refuses to go out or stays very well clear of X when he arrived. D in all that is quite prudent but less concerned and X does not seem to have a problem with it at all, and they both roam the garden at the same time with no particular intereaction. Furhter info: M is a fairly big female Norwegian Forest cat (5.5kg), X ia a properly big (non descript)cat (must be 6.5+ kg...so unlikely to be a female), D is still quite small (for a NFC) at about 4kg) WOudl you have any idea for my description on what is going on, and how shoud I interpreter the meowing etc?



Replies:
Hello Giovanni,

What you are observing is normal interaction between cats that are first introduced to each other. Female cats that are altered, and male cats that are neutered can usually get along well as long as there is enough food and free space for all. In your case, the new cat 'X' seems to have found your garden an agreeable place. It is not surprising that your older female cat would object to him. She probably is a bit more territorial than her daughter. As far as the meowing goes, that seems to be a sound cats make when either they want something, or are trying to get attention. Your other observations seem right on the spot. I would expect that the mother cat will always remain a bit distant from him, but will likely adjust to his presence. If he is an intact male things might be a bit different as he may be spraying and marking his territory. If that is the case it will surely upset the mother cat.

I hope this helps, Regards,

Louis M. Huzella, DVM, Diplomate, ACVP. ACVP – American College of Veterinary Pathologists (Board Certified)



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