Are all cats solitary animals?

Most wild cats lead solitary lives. Except for cheetahs and lions, adult wild cats live and hunt separately. By contrast, we know that the purpose of domestic cats is not to be solitary but to engage with humans and other animals including animals of the same species. We must therefore distinguish between wild and domestic cat. We should also remember that the domestic cat is one species of cat within the family of cats. It could be said therefore that three species of cat are not solitary: lion, cheetah and domestic cat.

Both lion and domestic cat are not solitary

Both lion and domestic cat are not solitary. Neither is the cheetah. Photo in public domain.


Despite criticism from the anti-cat brigade, that domestic cats are aloof and overly-independent, the domestic cat is a social animal often successfully living with other cats and dogs.

The inherent solitary nature of the domestic cat ancestor, the Far Eastern wildcat has been eroded by 10,000 years of adaptation through domestication.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

To return to the wild cats, for those species that are solitary, the females are not always alone. Many spend a lot of time with their cubs in raising them.

Studies have shown that females of a wild cat species spend more than 80 percent of their lives either pregnant or accompanied by dependent offspring. Although this is probably only true where prey is sufficiently abundant to support a family (according to Mel and Fiona Sunquist, but it makes sense in terms of survival).

Where food is scarce females can go for a year or more without having a litter of cubs. Of course, males and females meet to procreate.

There are also occasional encounters between solitary felids and they do communicate through scrape markings on the ground, scent marks and sounds. Are they still solitary under these circumstances?

Their home ranges often overlap and they probably know roughly where each other is at any one time. For instance, the male ocelot’s home range will include the home ranges of three females. The same for the tiger where the male is strong and dominant. For lesser males they may be lucky to monopolize a single female.

Where there are lots of females in a high density a male can monopolize several females.

cat on leash. These are set up images.

Fundamental reason why domestic cats don’t walk with their owners like dogs

Although, sometimes, domestic cats do walk behind their owners for a relatively short distance (a behaviour characteristic that I explain ...
Read More
Two unrelated female pumas share the carcass of a prey animal killed by one of them

Pumas live alone with important exceptions

A 2002 book on the wild cats tells me that "like most felids, pumas live alone, and apart from associations ...
Read More
Beautiful stray cat

Cats Are Not Racists

The title might seem absurd. But I don't think it is absurd to consider racism in other species, or the ...
Read More
Cat in the study

Give cats time to respond to your call

Part of the following news headline is wrong: "Cats recognise owners' voices, they just choose to ignore them". The headline ...
Read More
Aloof self-centered cat?

Cats are aloof, self-centred and treacherous. Discuss.

The basic conclusion, fair or otherwise, of a recent study is that unlike dogs cats will not side with their ...
Read More
Sumatran tiger

Should tigers be housed together?

People are using Google's search engine to find out if tigers should be housed together when in captivity. And the ...
Read More
Cat home alone

What do domestic cats do when humans aren’t around?

What do domestic cats do when humans aren't around? Humans are companions of domestic cats by definition. And domestic cats ...
Read More
Domestic cat contentedly alone

Are cats solitary?

Are cats solitary? The answer depends on what species of cat you are referring to. The general answer is that ...
Read More
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *