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Context

Our family has four cats. Some details about Pepe, the most relevant one to this question:

  • 5 years old
  • Orange tabby
  • Male
  • Exclusively indoors
  • Properly fixed
  • Extremely friendly and affectionate

Last fall we discovered, fostered, and then adopted a trio of stray kittens. At the time Pepe was scared of these kittens, often hiding in our rooms at the expense of his own well-being. That problem has since been resolved and he now gets along with the triplets very well.

Recently another male cat, whom we'll call T'Challa, has been walking around our neighborhood, including on our front porch. He's friendly, but we otherwise know very little about him; we're not even certain that he's stray.

The Problem

When T'Challa prowls around our yard or our porch, Pepe starts to get very defensive, even trying to attack him through the window. What confuses me is that this is extremely unlike him.

Some more facts about Pepe's behavior:

  • He gets riled up to the extent that he'll force the triplets out of his way.
  • When he calms down, he's friendly and affectionate again.
  • He never behaves this way with the triplets. He plays or cuddles with them all the time.
  • He's not ill or in pain.
  • Their first interaction was apparently cordial, but I wasn't there so I couldn't tell you much more.

My question: what happened?

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T'Challa is a tomcat and therefore a competitor for territory and females. Pepe is just defending his territory. Tomcats are generally more territorial than females and protect their territory more aggressively.

It could also be that Pepe and T'Challa met before and had a fight. Pepe remembers the cat and the fight and prepares himself for another fight.

  • "Pepe is just defending his territory." So why didn't he when we brought the triplet kittens home? – JesseTG Aug 26 '18 at 17:43
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    If they are not sexually mature yet, they don't produce hormornes and pose no threat to him. Be aware that that might still change if there's a tomcat among the kittens. – Elmy Aug 26 '18 at 17:56
  • We've had the triplets since October 2017. Two are boys, one is a girl. They were a few weeks old as of then, and they have since been properly fixed. If one of them were going to become a problem, when and how would we know? – JesseTG Aug 27 '18 at 18:24
  • I wasn't aware they are so old. They would have become a problem around 9 - 12 months old and if they were not neutered. Seems like your cats accept and respect each other a lot. – Elmy Aug 27 '18 at 18:37
  • And that's why Pepe's behavior around T'Challa confuses me. – JesseTG Aug 28 '18 at 2:25

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