Just how social is your cat? Are cats truly the independent, aloof creatures they are sometimes depicted as? What does it mean when the rural cat brings home a mouse, is it a gift? Where is the best place to pet a cat that has petting issues?
An article in The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery raised interesting conclusions about cat society. While it may still be popular to view cats as solitary, the authors point out that over the last twenty years studies have shown just the opposite. The solitary cat exists only when the food supply is severely limited. Given enough resources free living cats live in groups or colonies. So when the rural cat brings the humans he lives with a mouse he is simply sharing the bounty.
Within the groups of cats living in cat society alliances are formed which can shift over time. Cat affiliations or “friendships” are fluid, something to think about when you see your own cats change patterns of behavior with each other.
Cats demonstrate affection with each other in the same way they may demonstrate it with humans, they rub along their flanks and touch nose to nose--nice to think just how affectionate your feline friend really is. Friendly cats will also exhibit distinctive behaviors: a tail held high and vertical to the ground or a tail that curls around another cat’s tail or around your legs are all signals of amicability.
A cat solicits a caress in the same manner it asks for grooming by another cat-by approaching and offering the side and underside of its neck. It appears safe to assume that concentrating your petting efforts on this same part of any cat would be successful, good to know especially for those cats that are more "sensitive" to long body strokes.
Enjoy your relationship with your own social cat; it’s great to be part of the family…
For more information: Davis, S.L., T.M. Curtis, R.J. Knowles, (2004) Social organization in the cat: a modern understanding. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 6, 19-28
Copyright Frania Shelley-Grielen
While it may still be popular to view cats as solitary, the authors point out that over the last twenty years studies have shown just the opposite.
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