I have noticed that cats in groups are fairly evenly spaced compared to people. This is not hugely significant but interesting. It struck me that cats standing around in sanctuaries often keep a bit of space between themselves. You would never find that with people unless they were told to.
For me, the first reason is because the cat does not engage in conversation with a fellow cat nearby. Adult cats don’t meow at each cat. A cat doesn’t feel uncomfortable when near another cat while doing nothing. Aslo cats in groups still like to retain some personal space because they still have some territorial urges and are, at heart, solitary animals (some experts believe the cat is no longer territorial). Whereas the human is neither solitary nor territorial (well, you might think they are sometimes).
The domestic cat has become sociable because circumstances have forced that upon the cat – living in multi-cat homes for example – but the human needs to be sociable. A lot of the bunched spacing between people in groups is because they are talking to each other, forming sub-groups within the overall group. This doesn’t happen with cats. Although cats do groom each other and lie next to each other on occasion.
The cat’s desire for personal space comes through in various ways in the home. It depends on the cat, of course, but the majority of cats are often reluctant to be cuddled, crowded or held for too long. They seem to tolerate these things rather than enjoy it. They like their space. A cat likes our company but in a manner that suits them. This is not to say that cats don’t get close to us sometimes (e.g. on the lap). There is just a brake on it, which might be why some people say the cat is aloof. In this instance it is a cat retaining a tiny vestige of his territorial character.