In the latest instalment of our cat care column, pet expert Pauline Dewberry who runs the website takes a humorous look at an issue every moggy minder must prepare for - turf wars.

It’s 6am. I’m in bed asleep but hear crying. Thinking it’s a baby crying – and what would a baby be doing out in the garden in the middle of winter at 6am – doesn’t dawn on my sleep-deprived brain. The plaintive, soulful cries I hear are the yowlings of cats while they sort out their disputes over territory.

Sometimes, these disputes happen in the early hours of the morning, other times at teatime, or just after.

Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are more active at dawn and dusk – which ties in with when little furry things are going about their business. It’s no coincidence, therefore, that disputes will occur at these times because felines everywhere will be out ‘shopping’.

In suburban gardens, which tend to be small, many cats can live whisker by whisker quite happily. They work out their own timetables for going down the back alley and if they meet a neighbouring cat that they know, they’ll nod in mutual respect. They don’t have to like each other, and frequently they don’t, but they do tolerate each other.

News Shopper:

Now, enter two newbies, possibly un-neutered (and that makes all the difference); one is jet black and the other is a mix of ginger and black. Both are very fluffy – which is useful for later skirmishes – and both come with attitude.

I first saw the black one in my right-hand neighbour’s garden. He was circling Clive, also black, who lives on the left-hand side. Plenty of yowling, posturing went on. It was a bit like a feline ballet with a bit of opera thrown in. The ginger and black one was sitting on a wall watching proceedings, adding his five pence worth every so often.

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This morning’s scene was between my two mackerel tabby cats, Casey and Gibbs, and the newbies. They were trading insults. “Oh, you big ginger Jessie! Go home!” said Gibbs from behind the water butt.

“How does he know mah name? Did you tell him?” Ginger Jessie (sounding surprisingly like Billy Connolly) asks his brother in arms.

“And you, Fluffy Bottom, go home too!” Gibbs is emboldened now, stepping in front of the water butt.

The insults continue and I wonder what I should do. Should I go down with a rolled-up newspaper? To do what, I hear you ask. Read from the sports pages? “Charlton are doing better,” I say, hoping to lighten the tone.

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“Ah prefer Rangers mahself,” Ginger Jessie retorts. “Come on, Fluffy Bottom, let’s go hame.”

Casey and Gibbs breathe a sigh of relief, have a quick wee before returning to their beds in the dining room. Peace reigns once more and I get back to sleep.