"Jimmy & Maggie" - Feline Anxiety
Anxiety or worry is a natural instinct which has evolved over the years to provide an advantage to those who can experience that innate sense of fear.
If gazelles in Africa aren't anxious when they approach the water hole for a drink then they would be easy prey for all those carnivores waiting for a meal. Conversely, if they allow their anxiety to take over completely then they would die of thirst.
Clearly, exhibiting anxiety is manifestly a safety mechanism to avoid danger but a balance must be struck to allow other instincts to function.
Domestic cats fear potential predators such as dogs and are generally careful to avoid crossing their path. Other cats however will tend to follow similar routes and territorial disputes tend to be the biggest form of anxiety.
These patches of ground which are patrolled would normally represent the area permitted for hunting and are instinctively very important to that individual for fear that they might potentially starve. When new cats move into an area then these heated arguments can be both brutal and noisy as I know from personal experience!
"Jimmy" my 15lb feline (he's big boned) is currently debating the official borders to his land (without the benefit of a democratic vote) with another large tabby feline who is new to his patch.
Fighting injuries aside both he and his living companion "Maggie" have taken to de-stress their lives by increasing their marking/scratching behaviour within my house.
I always knew a leather settee was a bad idea! Plug in pheromones (Feliway diffusers) have been topped up and additional scratching posts installed. Despite these efforts the "problem" remains the other cat and as such it can be an extremely difficult issue to resolve. Hopefully over time they will accept a border truce and agree an acceptable shift pattern that will allow them to regain their sense of confidence and security on their patrols.
Feline behavioural "problems" are common, complex and can be difficult to resolve. Anyone who wishes to learn more can learn a great deal at www.icatcare.org/advice/problem-behaviour My own de-stressing regime is a whole lot simpler with significantly less damage to the furniture!
BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS