By Danielle (Ark on the Edge)
Not long ago saw a programme on British Television, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was called; so I apologise for that. However, this programme stated categorically that cats were naturally solitary creatures that didn’t enjoy being in other feline company.
I’ve personally studied animal behaviour and read a lot of articles on specifically feline behaviour, and what I’ve noticed is that each one has it owns opinions either: “cats are naturally solitary animals” or “cats enjoy the company of others”; to date I haven’t come across a piece which stated it depended on the individual animal.
Working in a rescue centre, which sees a high intake of cats of different, ages, breeds, temperaments – I can personally say I don’t think I could agree with either of the above statements; I have found cats who are naturally solitary and prefer their own company and despise other felines and animals and then on the flip side I have found cats that are totally dependent on one another to the extent that when they are separated, the stress that is seen in both cats is clearly evident.
For example, we had a cat come into us at Ark on the Edge, called Nellie. Nellie had severe dental problems and stayed with for a few months for treatment – during this time she was kept in our “office” area, as she was very social and didn’t enjoy being alone in a cat chalet; also in our office was Peeps – a very bad tempered Dutch female rabbit – within the space of a week – Nellie and Peeps began sleeping the same areas, and Nellie as soon as allowed to free roam the place, would jump into Peeps’ run to go to sleep – of course, it could be simply because the hay was comfy. Peeps also did not in the least bit seemed stressed or fazed by the fact that there was a “predator” in her area – Peeps simply ate, slept, played with her toys, not bothered by the cats presence.
Again, it brings to mind feral cats, who are immensely independent and do not particularly enjoy human contact (Ever tried to cuddle a true feral – if you valued your skin still attached to your body – I wouldn’t try).
I’ve also seen kittens – which were virtually attached to one another – grow up to actually hate being in the others presence!
Personally, I believe that it should depend on each individual feline and I was quite surprised to see a programme with “feline behaviourist researchers” state wholeheartedly that cats were solitary creatures, and they were surprised to find out that 6 cats were living quite happily together, with no issues
Interested to hear other people views and experiences on this?
Associate page: Sociable Domestic Cat – search results for “sociable domestic cat” on PoC (new window).