The cat is a solitary animal: true or false?

The Cat Is A Solitary Animal: True Or False?

The cat would be a solitary, independent and autonomous animal. This received idea, you have already necessarily read or heard it. However, nothing is less true, the cat is above all a domestic and sociable animal.

Let’s look at the feline behaviors at the origin of this popular belief, and analyze its way of life to demonstrate that the cat is not a solitary animal.

Why Do Cats Have The Reputation Of Being A Solitary Animal?

In France and Europe, the cat is the most adopted animal in our homes. Would we like the feline race so much because they are solitary? Of course we, if that were the case, we would not create a bond with our cat and we would not be attached to it.

On the other hand, what distinguishes the cat from the dog is its way of living within a group of its species. In nature, dogs form organized hierarchies. Rules are established between each and there is a pack leader. Conversely, the cat can live in a group, but the individual takes precedence and no hierarchy is established.

However, the cat is far from being a solitary animal. He can have positive or negative interactions with another individual, he can greatly appreciate one of his congeners and show him his affection, he can rescue a kitten that is not his, etc.

Note, however, that an entire male is more territorial than a female. He more often lives alone on a space of a few square kilometers that he has granted himself. But he is far from being lonely, since he spends his time looking for a female!

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Ultimately, if the cat has the reputation of being solitary, it is above all because it hunts alone, each individual finding its means of subsistence without a consensus being established within the group.

Cats group together, without forming a social group. This is why it is easier to use the term “colony” to qualify groups of cats. However, cats willingly share their prey if food is plentiful.

The Degree Of Autonomy Of The Cat According To Its Proximity To Humans

The cat is an animal that has been domesticated by man. He was especially appreciated for his hunting skills where he rid humans of rats and other pests. But we were far from offering him a cozy home as is the case today.

Over the centuries things have changed a lot and our indoor cats are highly dependent on their favorite human. Nevertheless, we can distinguish 3 categories of cats:

    • The feral cat: it has returned to the wild state, it lives alone or with a few congeners, and survives by the fruit of the hunt, it is nevertheless opportunistic and can take advantage of the food left by humans,
    • The stray cat: it is accustomed to humans, but has no fixed address, it subsists essentially thanks to the food that one or more households gives it and navigates from house to house,
    • The pet cat: it is attached to a well-defined home, it needs humans to survive and would have a hard time surviving if it were abandoned and did not find an owner.

Thus, a cat that lives with humans and is well socialized knows how to show you that loneliness is a source of boredom, which is why:

    • He comes to rub against your legs,
    • He meows to interact with you,
    • He climbs on your lap to have a hug,
    • He enjoys play sessions,
    • He is waiting for a bowl full of kibble and another full of water,
    • He waits for a clean crate,
    • He shows affection towards your other cat or your dog, etc.
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The domestic cat therefore needs humans, for its food, its comfort, but also to ensure its health and safety. If you leave your cat alone, if you don’t interact with it, it will very quickly become bored and develop stress, anxiety, behavioral problems, and even depression.

The Loneliness Of The Cat: Above All A Matter Of Individuals

Each feline individual has its own character. It is linked to its history, its development, the different ways of life it has known, etc. Just like there are lonely humans, there are lonely cats, but that’s far from a generality.

The cat is a more autonomous animal than the dog, but it is not an animal that appreciates solitude. Depending on his temperament, he may need moments when he isolates himself, without systematically refusing interactions.

It is therefore important to appreciate your cat as an individual and to respect its needs. So don’t be surprised if your feline:

    • Doesn’t want to hug at the same time as you,
    • Appreciates going out only to return a few hours later,
    • Lie down in a quiet corner away from the hustle and bustle,
    • Sulks if you leave for several days, etc.

He will eventually come back to you to eat, but not only. He will appreciate knowing that he can count on you, that you are available to give him love, cuddles, a new toy, etc.

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