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 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.