Categories: affection

Do cats fancy each other?

The question is, do cats take a fancy to each other just like people? I think the short answer is that they don’t although we would like to believe that they do. But the answer is not that simple.

Love and lust

I think you have to separate out what humans would call “lust” and “love”. In a roundabout way you might be able to argue that domestic cats experience feline lust but not love. I am probably stretching the meaning of the word “lust” but female cats can have a preference for a certain type of tomcat when mating.

Preference for confident cats and certain colors

Apparently, some breeding females can take a fancy to a more confident male cat which is the sort of characteristic which appeals to some women. They also might have a preference for a cat of a certain breed or even a specific coat colour. I find that very interesting. It implies that female domestic cats who have not been spayed can have a preference based upon the appearance and character of the tomcat. This sounds as if we are discussing humans.

But this preference relates to whether the female cat will have sex with the tomcat or not. It’s about feline ‘lust’ to use a human term rather than love.

Suspicion

As for love in the cat world, it is said that cats do not automatically love other cats. The default position is to be suspicious and perhaps even fearful of every cat that they meet. Consequently many cats live their lives avoiding contact with other cats. I think we can see this all the time with outdoor cats. They are not drawn to each other but tend to be mutually antagonistic. That said, you do get the occasional relationships forming so we cannot say that domestic cats universally avoid each other. There are many friendships.

Love in the cat world

However, I believe that you will find that you won’t see cats falling in love with each other. Cats do form friendships but even the word “friendship” may be inappropriate. The experts describe cats who like each other as “associates”. It’s a more neutral term and one almost devoid of affection. I think that’s wrong because domestic cats can be affectionate towards each other. Whether this begins with one cat ‘fancying’ another is another question.

Friendship

Attraction between domestic cat is more about compatibility and friendship based upon character rather than one fancying another as a prelude to love. That’s my current assessment but once again I am open to the ideas and thoughts of others.

The domestic cat’s relationship with their human guardian also confirms that cats are able to feel affection for other cats. They relate to us as cats and as they show affection towards us which confirms that they show affection to other cats.

Multi-cat household issues

This is not to say that there are many households where the cat’s owner might be surprised to know that their cats are stressed because they silently put up with each other but don’t really get along. The default position as mentioned is one of suspicion between cats. However around 10,000 years of domestication has made them quite sociable which has certainly modified their innate wildcat ancestor behaviour.



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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • The process of fancying someone is only part of mating ritual/behaviour. Even for humans, we are just mammals who complicate, suppress and mostly control whom they mate with.

    I see no reason why cats may not fancy each other. In unmanaged feral colony gang rape scenarios, I see no reason that "fancying" should not happen.

    Fancy is the initial event in mating sequences, be that fancy caused by appearance, smell or personal characteristics of behaviour (personality)

    Same as humans, fancy is part of the biological.

    Cats can often be seen forming social groups. When I had free roaming cats, they would be part of a circle of chums who hung out together in the churchyard. Most of these cats were neutered and cared for by humans and had a home. Entire Toms would turn up now again, some owned, some not. Neutering skews our understanding of mating behaviour to our ad vantage, and the cats. Very few unneutered females would turn up.

    Humans are just mammals, they should be satisfied with that, no need to be constantly scrabbling to show superiority.

    • Yes, I suppose it depends on how you define 'fancy someone'. In general I agree with you in my article I think.

    • Wish there was an edit function. Paragraph 2 should read...

      .....OUTSIDE of unmanaged feral colony gang rape scenarious....

      Little fancying there, poor cats.

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