How a Scared Outdoor Cat Retreats From a Fight

Latest update: January 19, 2022. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

If only I could have caught this on video...

A True Story

Scared, Outdoor Cat Retreats from Fighting

At my desk I was. A screeching howl I heard. Out the large window I looked.

Two cats.

The first and younger cat, ears flat, hair and tail straight up. And howls, hisses, and other noises he did continue to make. He was directly facing the other cat. The other, older cat was two to three feet away, facing sideways to the younger cat and was completely, utterly, totally motionless. And very, very silent.

This went on for about a minute or two.

And then, ever so slowly, the older, motionless, silent cat moved a paw . A mere twitch at best. A long pause. And then the older cat moved another paw, again barely a twitch. Another long pause.

The younger cat remained still and watching. The older cat then very slowly took an actual, minuscule  step forward; away from the younger cat. The younger cat still remained motionless. Another long pause. The older cat then took another tiny step. Another pause. And then another slightly longer step. And then another, slowly and gradually moving away from the younger cat. This drama continued for a good five minutes. Until finally the retreating, older cat disappeared around the corner of the house a short distance away; the younger cat remaining motionless and observing the entire time.

Then the younger cat noticed I was watching. It’s not often a cat makes eye contact with a human. The cat had a startled, questioning look. Then the cat slowly walked away, casting a final glance in the direction of where the older cat had retreated. I got the distinct impression the action of the cat taking that final look was solely for my benefit, as if saying, “Look what I did.”

And that is how a scared, older cat retreats from a fight with a younger cat. Nature is not pretty.

A side note: What with the demonstrated social protocol during the incident and the behavior afterwards indicating self-awareness, cats might have a level of intelligence greater than we give them credit for.

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