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Are cats solitary?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My e-pal (a vet tech student) and I both love animals, though she tolerates cats instead of liking them. I told her about how my cats were licking each other and it's weird how people think they are so independent. My friend replied that they are solitary, it's just that because we plenty of food and resources so they had no need to be competitive for food, hence liking each other. She also said that the cat had only been domesticated for around 8,000 so the cat's true solitary nature was still there since the African Wildcat is solitary. I said that if food was that limited, I'd probably stop sharing and get territorial, too. So what is your take?
post #2 of 8
Feral cats choose to live in colonies, and their social interaction is really interesting to observe. So, no, I don't think they're solitary by nature.
post #3 of 8
I think this is one of those many myths about cats... They are not solitary, they attach to their people, they love their friends... In my house my three (counting my foster) are always together - they could be separate, but they like to be in each others' company. Your friend has lots to learn if she wants to be a good vet tech... Maybe she should have a cat of her own
post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by fattykitty View Post
My e-pal (a vet tech student) and I both love animals, though she tolerates cats instead of liking them.
I think hers opinion is rather typical for her situation. Many older books say cats are solitary etc.
Thus, what she is saying is what she learned from the freshly read books, her lacking own experience or time to think over and ripe the information.

I agree this must be a myth. Cats are very good at interaging with each other. they are very good at pleasing themselves in into cat company but also into other animals company...
No, they arent solitary by nature, although they do manage to live solitary if need be. (ahum, some of them that is... )
post #5 of 8
I think people confuse being independent with being solitary. I once watched a Japanese documentary on stray cats in Tokyo. One interesting tomcat spent his days by himself, except when by chance sense a queen in heat or being challenged by another tom who crossed his path. One could conclude he was a solitary creature but it was more like a free spirit.
post #6 of 8

no, cats aren't solitary- they only become solitary when food resources are too scarse to maintain a colony. There's plenty of scientific literature on this topic so I'm a bit suprised that an ongoing vet tech doesn't know this.

Personally I think its cruel to keep a single kitten indoors where it hasn't got any interaction with other cats. People should either go for two kittens or get a grown up cat that doesn't get along with other cats (Or let the cat out to find its own social contacts).

Here's an interesting article:

Social organization in the cat: a modern understandinG; Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (S.L. Crowell-Davis et al. 2004; 6, 19-28


post #7 of 8
Your friend is looking at the wrong cat species. Studies have shown that domestic cats are closer in behavior to lions than any other wild cat. Lions live in prides (females) or coalitions (males). There are advantages for them to do this, as there are advantages for domestic cats living together in feral colonies.
post #8 of 8
I lived for 18 years with a female stray who adopted me, and because of the kind of comments posted here about cats needing companions, I always tried to find one for her, but she was miserable, and the vets advised me to leave her alone. She thrived as a 'singleton.' When she was about 7, I had an opportunity to adopt a beautiful cat, and I asked my vet (I'd moved, and he was a new vet), telling him about the past. He's a very, very intelligent and experienced vet, and he told me that cats are basically solitary animals. They can learn to live with others, but prefer being alone. My girl was a very shy cat who didn't like much human contact, so being alone with me seemed to be what she preferred.

Now I have a 5-year-old male who is extremely social and loving (adopted last year from a shelter), and I thought he might need a companion, but I really don't want a second cat. But I also don't want to deprive him if that's what would be best for him. I asked my vet about this at our last wellness visit, and the vet said that although my boy is social, he's very human bonded--i.e., he will be fine as long as he has sufficient human contact. Since I'm retired and home most of the time, this works for him (i.e., he's not alone while I'm at work as my other cat was).
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