Tom Cat Buddies Closer than Female Friendships

The title needs a bit of explaining! It is difficult to compress some stories into a few words. This relates to multi-cat environments. We know that domestic cats and cats in feral cat colonies form relationships. Cats choose friends essentially and become social animals contrary to the perceptions of some people.

Well, research by scientists in 1999 (Barry and Cromwell-Davis) that examined the differences in social behavior of neutered, indoor cats, both female and male, discovered that male cats spend “more time in close proximity” (male to male friendships or associations) than females to females. I think that is interesting and deserves reporting on PoC.

Cat Buddies - Photo by J i J y
Cat Buddies – Photo by J i J y
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The scientists studied 60 pairs of cats (120 cats in total):

  • 47 of the pairs of cats were not related;
  • 20 pairs were both males;
  • 20 pairs were both females;
  • 20 pairs were female to male pairs.

All the cats were:

  • neutered;
  • between 6 months and 8 years of age;
  • and had lived together for at least 3 months.

As a whole the cats:

  • spent 50% of the time out of sight of each other;
  • 25-31% of the observed time they spent together;
  • spent 35% of the time within 3 meters of each other;
  • and kept a distance of between 1-3 meters between each other;

The boys “spent more time in close proximity” (male to male) than the girls (female to female).

For 19% of the observed time boys were between 0 (in contact) to 1 meter from each other. The females were between 0 to 1 meter from each other for less than half that time (8.8% of observed time).

Here is the fun bit. The text that I have seen does not tell me if the scientists speculated why male cat friendships resulted in the cats being physically closer more often than the equivalent female friendships.

So, I’ll have to do it myself….It may have something to do with the pack animal nature of the male and I am referring to humans! Men tend to lean towards pack animal behavior and this may result in slightly closer male bonding.

Now over to you. If there are five suggestions as to the reason behind this behavior in comments, I will send a £20 or currency equivalent Amazon gift, of the person’s choice, to the person who makes the best suggestion. Other people can decide the best suggestion and I’ll try and be the final judge. Here comes trouble….. 🙂

Original photo on Flickr

5 thoughts on “Tom Cat Buddies Closer than Female Friendships”

  1. Socially I think they are like people once neutered/spayed. Some get along and some don’t. When I brough 2 kittens home Lilly freaked out and Red did too, but internally. He tried to be calm and went near them and just sat and watched them and even slept in front of them. He was really trying his best, it was so sweet of him to make this effort. I think perhaps 2 boy cats might be close just because they have things in common. Perhaps they like to roam together while the lady cats stay home more. Just like old fashioned humans used to hang out in divided groups – boys on one side of the dancefloor and girls all giggling on the other side. Cats are not as socially agile and progressive as we humans, so maybe that would have something to do with boys being boys together and getting along better. But I have also seen a boy and a girl cat love eachother very much like boyfriend and girlfriend. Cats are like humans socially and I know I am anthropomor??sing it but I think it’s true. I have also seen a new cat arrive in a group of 3, who was the same breed as one of the 3 (abyssinian) and the 2 Abys got along and were closer than the original aby was ever with the other 2 cats. So to answer the question: I don’t think there can be one overriding factor necessarily (ie: ther could be but probably not in most cases) – because like with humans, perhaps a boy has something in common with another boy and they become friends, – but he could also have something in common with a girl so they become friends. There are many things they could have in common, perhaps behavioural things or just liking the same food. Liking to sleep in dark places, and so sleeping together and becoming closer. I have a kitten now who is becoming typically obsessed with water like lilly, my grown up, so her and lilly spend time together playing with the water. There is not doubt they are bonding. Also, that same kitten likes to play with balls more than string toys, also like illy, so they are again bonding there. There are many factors, mostly to do with similarities and sharing of activities, especially sleep and play. I would say that to divide between the sexes therefore would mean males are different to females cats in some small ways that make them closer. It’s so very individual. But I would say the best model would be a group of boy and girls in the 1950’s at a dance. You have some couples, then the boys, and the girls. Why? Whatever the answer to that question is going to relate to the answer for cats I would say.

    Gosh, I hope that made at least some sense 🙂 – what a difficult question you have posed there Michael

  2. This is a fascinating subject to me. Two of my four cats are paired up as pals. One is female, the other male. They are are together most of the time, sometimes at a distance.

    There used to be who I called a little Devil cat that lived near here. He terrorized the couple relentlessly. Probably to get at their food. I saw this cat terrorizing cats all over the neighborhood. One morning early, I was surprised to see my mostly indoor cat BigFoot sitting at the door with the little devil, their paws were touching through the glass, up on hind legs, like long lost friends meowing sweetly. I opened the door, and naturally the little devil ran off. I wanted them to see each other without a glass door between them. I never managed to get them together though. Little Devils family moved away and took him with them. BigFoot had never, and has never since wanted to befriend any cat.

    So, how do you explain that? I think there is something unseen to us that causes the cats to couple up. Quantum physical vibrations?

    I suppose cats will get used to each other by necessity, but those that instantly bond are so interesting.


  3. lol Michael, here comes trouble indeed, remember the Santa Compo? lol lol
    Well in the case of our 2 cats, both neutered males, both 11 years old this year, even though both rule our house and get equal attention, just like human males they can’t help being rivals!
    I think they stay close together so they can ensure one doesn’t get more love and fuss than the other. Like human teenage male friends really, they stick together so they each can impress the other with the attention they get from girls.
    It’s not that the cats or the boys want to be together so much as they need another male to see what popular chaps they are.
    lol lol
    Having said that though, our 2 female cats, now sadly gone, used to sit together for hours in sunny spots just outside our house. When we first had to take the second one in when her dad died we were quite worried about having 2 queens together, the resident one quite elderly at the time, so maybe it was unusual that it worked out well.
    Interesting article anyway!


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