Do domestic cat partnerships exist? We know that domestic cats form ‘associates’ – they are sociable. The word “associates’ is a scientific word that hints at friendship. I think scientists don’t want to say that the domestic cat has friends. It doesn’t sound scientific enough and also the concept of friendship is a human one. Cat friendship occur in cat colonies or multi-cat households. You may also see them form where there are loosely arranged relationships between cats and humans in market places and near other food sources, particularly in places where the climate is warm
What kind of mentality does a cat have when he or she forms an association with another cat?
We can get a clue from the relationship we have with our cat. There is no doubt that cats form close bonds with us. They sleep on us and with us. Cats like to be in contact with us. Cats in multi-cat households are often resting with or on other cats or dogs.
I have unearthed a story that informs us that cat to cat friendship can go farther than simple friendship. It can go to a place where we could call it a partnership in the same way that people form partnerships. If it isn’t that this is a story that is about one cat caring for another; a carer/patient relationship. It comes from Nancy Cortez, Fremont, USA.
A feral cat came into her yard (back garden). He behaved a bit differently. He was clumsy. He was blind. Nancy didn’t know at first but his tendency to bump into things was due his blindness, confirmed by a vet because over time, Nancy had befriended this cat and taken him for his shots at the vet.
The months rolled on and eventually a new feral cat arrived. He became an “associate” of the blind cat. They would nuzzle each other and lie next to each other. Then gradually, it appears, the newcomer began to act as a ‘guide cat’, doing all the things that we see blind dogs do when assisting a blind person. In fact, it seems the guide cat was caring for the blind fella; going beyond being a cat guide.
One day the cat guide left. Blind boy was inconsolable. He cried out and wouldn’t eat. It was heartrending for Nancy to see and hear this.
Then, to Nany’s relief and blind boy’s joy, cat guide returned. They have been together ever since. They met many years ago.
This is a beautiful story. I am sure that cat friendships can go deeper than we imagine. However, you will see cat colonies in which cats also form antagonistic relationships with other cats and you will see cats being insular, keeping their independence and ‘space’. We’re pretty much the same aren’t we?