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Social Behaviour of Cats  

Are cats loners? Interesting facts every cat holder should know

29.10.2021

Some animal species can only survive in groups, others only as lone individuals. Cats tend to prefer not to associate with other cats, with no need for a group to ensure their survival. However, they are also flexible enough to be able, under certain conditions, to coexist in close quarters with other creatures.

Social behaviour in specific situations

Overpopulation

In remote areas, male cats living in the wild lay claim to patches of considerable size; females generally claim smaller areas. Since urban areas, and indeed rural localities and villages, are mostly overpopulated with cats, these animals have to come to terms with the situation in such regions, laying claim to significantly smaller territories.

The key factor determining a harmonious coexistence is the food supply. If this is limited, then major hunting expeditions become necessary – even into the neighbouring patch, if possible – and this in turn leads to confrontation. If the cat is fed regularly, the size of its territory generally decreases.

Neutral ground

This may mean a place that has not been claimed as any cat’s patch, giving them the opportunity to meet. Likewise, at feeding places established by humans, cats are able to come closer to each other without conflict than would ever be possible on one cat’s patch.

Rearing their young

Contrary to their usual behaviour, female cats sometimes assist each other when rearing their young. In addition to help provided in giving birth and caring for kittens, it is common within such groups for adult animals to groom each other. In individual instances, tomcats can also be seen exhibiting paternal behaviour, for example washing the kittens.

Group living

Among stray cats: sometimes feral cats band together to form a group without any clear hierarchies. Within such groups, it is rare for any sharing of tasks to be observable (the sole exception being the rearing of the young by females).

Two Cats

Confrontations Among Cats: Cats seldom fight in the wild, simply because they avoid this if at all possible. In densely populated areas, conflicts of varying gravity do occur between rival male cats.

What you should know

When a human and a cat live together, the human should always avoid sending the cat signals indicating an aggressive confrontation (e.g. when playing together). A cat’s body language must be taken seriously, and a cat should never be put under pressure, for example it should never be stared at.

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