Our Behavior Rubs Off On Our Cat

Cats fit in with our routines and habitats and vice versa. The degree to which a cat is domesticated depends to a certain extent on how much time we spend with our cat. The amount that we modify our behavior to fit around our cat’s behavior is also influenced by the amount of interaction we have with our cat.

Cats pick up people's habits

Cats pick up people’s habits. Photo by deadoll (I have lost the link, sorry).

Cats learn our habits and routines. Just today I was discussing the behavior of a cat that I am looking after for a very old lady who is in hospital. The cat’s name is Cardi. She has cancer but no pain. I feel she is a very passive, a low key sort of cat. She is not very responsive. And I wondered whether her behavior may be in part due to the fact that she lived for a considerable time with an old lady who lived very quietly. She probably didn’t play with Cardi and so on. I had also thought that Cardi may have some learning difficulty problems. But her behavior may be simply to do with the subdued lifestyle of her human carer.

Then there is Charlie, my three-legged cat companion. He always goes to bed when I go and lies next to me all night, then gets up when I get up. This is not really classic cat behavior. We are joined at the hip so I think he is copying me. It also means I have to behave like him and wake up at all hours.

I am told that in households where the cat’s litter is in the bathroom, the cat and her human caretaker sometimes go to the toilet together. A routine is set up.

Wild cat hybrids cats such as the Savannah are known to take showers with their human caretaker. There is a considerable amount of merging of behavior between human and cat.

In households where the cat is free to roam at all hours the cat quite naturally starts to tap into his wild cat roots becoming crepuscular and nocturnal and losing the lifestyle influences of his human companion.

I have a feeling too that in homes where the person is lazy and overeating their cat might follow suit to a certain extent. Whereas in a household where there is more activity the cats are likely to be more active too. This is probably at least partly because the person is more likely to interact and play with their cat.

There is a natural merging of behaviors of cat and person if they are with each other a lot. We know too that cats can copy people’s actions at home. The classic case that comes to mind is the cat sitting in front of the television watching a boxing match and mimicking the boxers. This is an example of cats learning through observation, and cats can learn from watching humans.

Cats will also learn and copy other cats in multi-cat households. Cats are good observational learners. This is probably accounts for the fact that they do pick up human habits and routines.

I am not saying it is a clear cut thing. Cats are cats and can’t behave like people but they can fit in with the human lifestyle which is what domestication is all about and go further by picking up human behavioral traits.

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Our Behavior Rubs Off On Our Cat — 7 Comments

  1. I think cat who are allowed outside are more in touch with their roots. It sounds obvious but now that i have my cats inside they are much more adapted to my routine. However with Red, we would play a lot and that was our time together. As was sleeping. He would sleep sometimes on the bed and sometimes in his little cubby hole on a shelf but we’d always cuddle a bit and then he would eat and so on. But then he was on his time. He would go outside for hours. He spent most of his active day outside when not playing. We would play outside alot actually too. I think playing outside was his perfect time that he loved the most. Before he moved to mine I would visit him every day and we would play outside for a couple hours. He was so excitied and happy about the fact. He liked to play inside too, in winter especially but his ideal was outside. He lived for the outdoors.

    Now that I have indoor cats, they wake me up at 5 for food if I am not already up and they sleep while I am out at work and when I am home we play indoors. There is a much greater expectation for me to drop everything and play with them as soon as I am awake and as soon as I arrive home. Its a bit like they are waiting for me. I oblige because I can see the different life they have without the outdoors. Instead of living for that they live for our time playing indoors. It’s a job and a half but for now I cannot see any way out of it andI have gotten used to it and enjoy it most of the time. They are adapted to my routine. Whereas Red was out all night they sleep all night and are up when I am. So I think our behaviour absolutely does rub off on cats – certainly when they are indoor cats or rely on us to get in and out because they dont have a cat door. As soon as they have free access then they do what they want when they want. They still need us but not half as much nor in the same way. I prefer it that way but for now it is not safe where i live so I’ll stick to the job of playing with them and keeping them active and enjoying themselves.

  2. Our house mostly revolves around our cats Walter and Jozef, they choose what time we get up on a morning but not always what time we go to bed, they have to give and take on that one because Walter in particular would like a 24 hour doorwoman on duty. As long as one is out the other won’t settle so we have to call it a day and keep one in despite his protests or we’d never get to bed.
    Once we are all upstairs they settle, one with each of us.
    Mornings Babz and I take turns to get up, it can be anytime from 5am onwards when one of the boyz decides it’s morning, oh the luxury of a lie in until 7.30am every other day lol
    Some people think we are daft for not shutting them away at night but nights would be long and lonely with no little furry bedmate and for them too, we couldn’t leave them together, there would be mayhem lol
    It’s very easy for cats to take over your life and routine and our two like lots of attention and games with us, but when the weather is good they also like to go out and do their own thing knowing they will have a huge welcome home.

    • It sounds like you have an ideal setup. I like that you can let them out but that you can bring them in for the night too. It’s a good balance I suppose and it means you interact more and spend more time with them which is once too. Also it feels safer to keep them in at night. I guess they must be 2 very happy cats with everything they need.

      I hope Jozef has gotten over his ordeal of a week ago and things are as if it never happened.

  3. Yes thanks Marc, Jo is fine now. We had a bit of a scare yesterday when he wasn’t himself and we thought it was because the antibiotics had finished, but it was a hairball. They are not very happy at present because it’s so cold here, snow on the ground a few days and solid ice now, too cold to stay out very long. We are lucky to live in a safe cat friendly cul de sac as they both love their freedom.
    Yes they accept they have to stay in at night and if we go out.they’re good boyz really.

  4. Pingback: Cat learns to knock on door and finds it effective | Pictures of Cats

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