Cat Behaviour – Sociability

baby and cat

Cats are very sociable animals. In other words, they like company whether it is that of another cat or a human being and, given the choice, they will generally prefer to be in an occupied room rather than sit in splendid isolation in an empty room. This may mean sharing the room with other cats with which they are familiar and with which they feel comfortable, or with people. Or, perhaps best of all, with both.

baby and cat

Cats will usually seek out your company, often while you are absorbed in some other activity in another room, rather than sit elsewhere alone.

It may surprise some people to realise that cats have a social life. They actually enjoy one another’s company and may develop quite a close relationship with other cats in their social group. This may be in their house, if there are several cats living in the same house, or perhaps in a wider social circle in the street or the neighbourhood.

SOCIAL COMMUNICATION IN CATS

Cats communicate in various ways. Fights and mating apart, they may lie or sleep in contact with one another. They may groom each other, they may rub against each other, and they may transmit information – perhaps by sniffing each other, which is a way of finding out where the cat has been or what it has eaten.

Social communication is something that cats learn from an early age. It’s clear that cats also enjoy the company of their owners. There are many cats, in fact, that follow their owners around all day long, insisting on being in the same room as them at every opportunity. People who don’t understand cats will say, ‘Oh yes, but that’s just cupboard love. It’s because they want feeding.’ But this sociable behaviour may continue after feeding and when the cat’s not asking for more. To them, humans are more than a source of food: they’re also an intimate and important part of their social structure.

  • If they are socialised together early in life, a cat may become firm friends with a dog.
  • In a single cat household, the cat can only interact with people, not with other cats.
  • Cats groom each other not merely for the sake of cleanliness, but rather as a way for friendly, sociable cats to cement their relationship.

Q. We regard cats as our companions. But how do they think of us?

Providers of food and shelter apart, they probably also see us as companions. Cats are both intimate and independent, which seems to indicate what they want from us.

Q. Will all cats get on well together, given time to get acquainted?

No, because like us, they have their likes and dislikes. Generally, females interact most with males and kittens, and less with each other. Young cats between one and two years old interact with each other quite easily, but less often with adult females and rarely with adult males.

Q. If cats sleep together, is it a sign that they are friends?

Yes, it is the ultimate in social acceptance.