I live in a condominium complex where about 12 feral cats have made their home. The cats are fairly well-established, they tolerate people well, they are well-fed, they are all fixed, and some of them are prone to fighting over their territory. Over the past few months, one cat in particular (female, 1 year old) has gotten beat up a lot, by about four other cats (two males, two females, not all at once). The victim cat doesn't run away until the fight gets bad. Sometimes she runs away screaming and bloody. I would think that this cat would have quickly learned to avoid trouble, and to flee at the first sign of it, but when another cat starts getting aggressive, she sits there as if everything is perfectly fine. How normal is that?

We've tried feeding the victim cat in different locations, which just added to the fighting, because she got too close to other territories. We've tried keeping her indoors most of the time, but one of the adoptive family-members is allergic, made worse by the fact that he is home all the time now due to COVID-19 restrictions.

For everybody's sake (cats and people), we want to relocate this cat, and we're trying to decide if we should risk putting her in a new place that has other cats, or if she should be the only cat.

I'm aware that it can be tricky to relocate a feral cat, but I think this cat will adapt easily, as she did with the current adoptive family. We just want to find the best chance of success wherever she goes.

1 Answer 1


I think this situation is an artifact of numerous amount of these animals concentrated in common area, to which they are drawn by being fed. And while there could be enough food supply to feed all of these cats, they are also simultaneously competing for territories which will result in sparking conflicts in case there is no clear signal understanding between them. Cats are not really social animals: unlike dogs, etc. they don't have hardwired concepts as dominance, submission or praising the leader of the pack, which I suspect might further enable this kind of worrying situation. She is probably desperate for food as this place is her somewhat only source so she sustains these injuries because she knows there could be no alternative.

As to whether this behavior is normal: I can't really tell but regardless of that she would be better rehomed to different, more peaceful place. In the wilderness it usually solves itself in the way that area of given size could "feed" much less inhabiting animals, especially if they are predators. But again, even if feral, they are fed by humans and aren't really wild animals so their behavior is going to be more or less an artifact of nature rather than nature itself. So you've already tried keeping her indoors, even if that didn't work out, you have already put more effort into making her life better than what majority of people would. How did she behave while indoors?

Ultimately it's just how the nature works, even if it's cruel.

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