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Do you think cats are "social" animals.

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I had a vet tell me when my cats were having issues it was because, "cats are not pack animals and do not enjoy being together." While I agree it is true they are not "pack" animals I believe they are social animals. What do other's think?
post #2 of 23
They are social on the whole.
When they are forced together, whether in the home or not, they form social groups for surivival, and they have a definite matriarchy much like lion prides in those situations.

A cat that has never been a solitary does suffer depression when a solitary lifestyle is suddenly faced, such as when one of their social circle dies.

Feral cats form colonies, usually related females with one dominant male as a protector, it's a safety in numbers issue. But within a colony, individual cats often have their own territories.

I do disagree with your vet that your cats were having issues due to living together.
With the exception of extremes, most cats will adapt to living together even if they really never get along.
post #3 of 23
Yes! We have social time in my house all the time. I always laugh when I see it because it reminds me of real people. Of course they are not pack orientated and my babies need a lot of time alone, BUT they LOVE to hang out.

If its play time, all my cats are hanging together, sometimes they don’t play they just sort of investigate things together, I don’t know how to explain it but its almost like one is them says “Hey, wanna hang out and do stuffs?†and the other two agree happily. I truly believe all my cats love each other and love to hang out with each other.

My Vet recently told me the same thing. My Bugsy has serious mental issues and she blamed too many cats. She told me he vomits because hes afraid one of them will steal his food BUT Bugsy will not eat unless its beside Capone, she told me he needs to sleep in his own space BUT I have never seen him sleeping alone, ETC. It may be true for some cats, but not mine.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
Feral cats form colonies, usually related females with one dominant male as a protector, it's a safety in numbers issue. But within a colony, individual cats often have their own territories.
Exactly. I have yet to see a cat that doesn't at least try to be near humans or other cats. Cats simply do not like being completely alone. Even cats that don't get along with each other will feel more comfortable in an uncertain situation where there's another cat nearby.

This has to be something we've bred into them during domestication.

IMO, cats as loners and extremely independent (as in they don't need us) is nothing more than a stereotype.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post

Feral cats form colonies, usually related females with one dominant male as a protector, it's a safety in numbers issue. But within a colony, individual cats often have their own territories.
The National Geographic documentary on cats discussed this extensively. Of the felines, only lions and domestic cats are social.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane's Pal View Post
The National Geographic documentary on cats discussed this extensively. Of the felines, only lions and domestic cats are social.
I've seen a few documentaries about cheetahs, and some of them will mention that there has been a slight increase in cheetahs staying in pairs longer. Usually some adolescent big cats will do this but when they mature they split up. Apparently male cheetahs will stay together in a coalition, for life, and are very social.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zane's Pal View Post
The National Geographic documentary on cats discussed this extensively. Of the felines, only lions and domestic cats are social.
They're also the only cats that purr. Connection?
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
You know I wonder if vets (and others) seeing cats as not social is because either their social hierarchy is constantly in flux and difficult to understand, or if it is because most cat food & veterinary care started out based on dogs? I don't know, but I've always thought it was better that they had each other, then when he made this comment I felt bad like I shouldn't force them to live together. I know that Levi prefers not to cuddle with the other cats, but I do wonder if he would be lonely without them? Not wanting to cuddle with the others is differnt than not wanting to live with the others.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
They're also the only cats that purr. Connection?
Where did you read this? Other cats can purr! All of the felidae family can, but the pantherinae subfamily can't -which includes lions. They can only make a purr like noise when exhaling.

I'm sure our member John (iirc, that's his name?) could tell you that his bobcats, lynx, and cougar can all purr.
post #10 of 23
I didn't read it, I saw it on a nature program. I'm sure I'm not an expert on the subject! Lol! I will yield to your knowledge!
post #11 of 23
Angie, my old girl has not bonded with, or cuddled a cat since my male was PTS in 2000.
But I do know that when there are no other cats around, she cries and looks for them, is restless and doesn't sleep much.

Now that I have two other girls, she acts her normal self and ignores them almost completely.
She will groom a head or two when she's of a mood, but stays to herself otherwise.
post #12 of 23
My group has closely bonded. Even my standoffish girl cares more than she lets on. Don't get me wrong they have their days when I have to defuse some upset cats but honestly at the end of the day when I have kitties purring and cuddling and grooming each other I know without a doubt that they love each other.

I really don't think they would be happier by themselves.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
I didn't read it, I saw it on a nature program. I'm sure I'm not an expert on the subject! Lol! I will yield to your knowledge!
The show might have been a bit behind on information, or just glossed over that part a bit. It always seems to me that cat info gets the short end of the stick. (hence why a vet would even consider domestic cats to be unsocial in the first place) I do remember watching several documentaries years ago and the mother cats always purred or made purr-like noises with cubs, and cheetahs doing so between siblings (even when older).

Also, I was double checking cheetah info earlier (trying to remember what their groups were called) and it even mentioned cheetahs being able to purr. I remember in another post a while back where it was mentioned that Carmelo purred.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
Angie, my old girl has not bonded with, or cuddled a cat since my male was PTS in 2000.
But I do know that when there are no other cats around, she cries and looks for them, is restless and doesn't sleep much.

Now that I have two other girls, she acts her normal self and ignores them almost completely.
She will groom a head or two when she's of a mood, but stays to herself otherwise.
I used to feel bad for Levi because the other 3 would be curled up in a pile on my bed & he would be by himself in the other room. I have since figured out that he is happy that way. I do think he would miss Jordan for sure. He & Jordan have been together since they were little.
post #15 of 23
Lucky and Bugsy are very very bonded - they won't do anything alone anymore... Bugsy is very social with other cats as well... even cats he has never seen! Whenever we are outside and he sees my neighbor's cats, he walks right over to play with them... He did this from the first time he saw the neighbor's cat. Gracie (my neighbor's), is very territorial, and hisses at him... poor Bugsy looks at me as if he was saying "meowmy, why is she being mean"???
Poor kiddo!
I think it's a matter of personality - they are social, but take a while to trust and accept one another.
post #16 of 23
Most cats enjoy being in groups, I think, but take time to accept a newcomer. But some are loners and never get to like others. My Cinders is like that, no matter what I do she hates other cats and I have to keep her in her own room and spend some time with her there. If she comes into contact with any of my others by accident, she throws herself into a fullscale fight and then spends days peeing everywhere. I have been through all the possible introduction techniques several times without success. Although the others fight sometimes and Dushka growls if anyone disturbs her, they are definitely a family. Dushka is the matriarch and Alpha, but Wellington is the protector and tells any visiting cats he may see through the window to get lost in no uncertain terms.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
The show might have been a bit behind on information, or just glossed over that part a bit. It always seems to me that cat info gets the short end of the stick. (hence why a vet would even consider domestic cats to be unsocial in the first place) I do remember watching several documentaries years ago and the mother cats always purred or made purr-like noises with cubs, and cheetahs doing so between siblings (even when older).
I think you're right. I was trying to remember where I heard that. I watch a LOT of nature programs and tend to retain a lot of the information. It could be very old. It might be time for me to brush up on things!

That aside, I don't think I'd go to a vet who wrote my cats off as unsocial when I know them to be social. I've often wondered if teaching more animal behavior might be a good idea for vet school. I have a professional pet sitting business and find I'm often answering questions for clients about behavior specifically when they weren't satisfied with the answers they received from their vets. I guess the moral of the story is that not all vets are cat people!
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
I think you're right. I was trying to remember where I heard that. I watch a LOT of nature programs and tend to retain a lot of the information. It could be very old. It might be time for me to brush up on things!

That aside, I don't think I'd go to a vet who wrote my cats off as unsocial when I know them to be social. I've often wondered if teaching more animal behavior might be a good idea for vet school. I have a professional pet sitting business and find I'm often answering questions for clients about behavior specifically when they weren't satisfied with the answers they received from their vets. I guess the moral of the story is that not all vets are cat people!
Actually he was Jordan's main vet for a couple years, but this incident cemented my thought to change vets. In addition, when they were fighting he mentioned that in order to get things better Jordan might have to go on medication. He just assumed that Jordan was the problem because Jordan is a dominant cat. I'm going to the same practice, but I found a vet I like better.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rang_27 View Post
I know that Levi prefers not to cuddle with the other cats, but I do wonder if he would be lonely without them? Not wanting to cuddle with the others is differnt than not wanting to live with the others.
You hit the nail on the head there! My Waco is a 10 year old siamese and is the undisputed RULER of the house. I had 4 cats at one time and he was always okay but never was really warm and fuzzy with them. Two of the original 4 have recently passed on and last September I rescued a beautiful little siamese girl about 2 years old from the local kill shelter. I did the whole gradual introduction thing with little Chasca living in my bathroom for a few weeks while from time-to-time I would bring her out in my arms for some sniffing "getting to know you" sessions. Waco, being extreme ruler of the universe did not take this well. He had little Chasca SO scared she let her water go while I was holding her! All over me, the carpet, Waco, the tile...well you get the picture. Anyway, there is a purpose to this story. While Waco is still rather independant, little Chasca & he are inseparable. Where he goes, she goes. They have bonded to a astonishing degree. Talk about a May-December romance!!! I just look at them and shake my head and now I get to worry about how Chasca will take it when Waco inevidendably passes on.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWMeowMix View Post
You hit the nail on the head there! My Waco is a 10 year old siamese and is the undisputed RULER of the house. I had 4 cats at one time and he was always okay but never was really warm and fuzzy with them. Two of the original 4 have recently passed on and last September I rescued a beautiful little siamese girl about 2 years old from the local kill shelter. I did the whole gradual introduction thing with little Chasca living in my bathroom for a few weeks while from time-to-time I would bring her out in my arms for some sniffing "getting to know you" sessions. Waco, being extreme ruler of the universe did not take this well. He had little Chasca SO scared she let her water go while I was holding her! All over me, the carpet, Waco, the tile...well you get the picture. Anyway, there is a purpose to this story. While Waco is still rather independant, little Chasca & he are inseparable. Where he goes, she goes. They have bonded to a astonishing degree. Talk about a May-December romance!!! I just look at them and shake my head and now I get to worry about how Chasca will take it when Waco inevidendably passes on.

That is interesting to me because Levi is actually the bottom kitty in my house. He sometimes gets picked on by Isaac (he's #2 in the house), then about once a month I bust them snuggling together at night.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
Most cats enjoy being in groups, I think, but take time to accept a newcomer. But some are loners and never get to like others. My Cinders is like that, no matter what I do she hates other cats and I have to keep her in her own room and spend some time with her there.
But see, you're fulfilling her social need. Not all cats have to like other cats, some are perfectly happy with human companions or some even prefer dogs.

The basic underlying thing is that cats have been domesticated. The urge to completely be solitary aside from breeding and raising kittens isn't there in domestic cats.

I also agree, vets and techs should be required to learn more about actual animal behavior. Instead of that being part of any particular the course, maybe it should be required that they have so many hours of extra courses taught by behaviorist that actually works more like a lab - make them interact and apply what is learned.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
But see, you're fulfilling her social need. Not all cats have to like other cats, some are perfectly happy with human companions or some even prefer dogs.
True. My Zane hates other cats; he doesn't care for dogs, either.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
My Smokey was an only cat from the time she was 8 weeks old. She was not super friendly when she was young, but as she got older she really wanted attention. I know that Jordan loves the company of the other cats because when I have travled with him, he stays in a room by himself. He gets very lonley & I generally don't get much sleep because he is so busy crawling all over me. He is a cuddle bug, always has been.
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