Are cats solitary animals? And is it dangerous to presume cats as social animals?

A solitary cat... ??
© Matthew Cole – Fotolia.com

For quite a long time cats were considered as antisocial creatures, the ones who do not crave company, the ones who walk by themselves, and as the ones, who, even if live together, are actually living “apart together”. But what is the reality? Are cats solitary animals, or do they need other animals and humans by their side?

First of, there are two extremes of this discussion. One says that cats are solitary creatures, and the other says they are social ones, and need company. The truth is, both of those extremes are inaccurate and dangerous.

In nature, cats can live both ways. As solitary individuals who hunt and live alone, as well as large colonies (consisting mostly of females, though) who not only live together, but perform tasks together, as well.

Are cats solitary? Then why do we have natural cat colonies?

Cat colonies have been described to do communal rising of kids, grooming each other, sharing food, and in rare occasions, even using cooperative hunting strategies.

Cats love company, and, in many cases need one. We think it’s a long time since people viewed cats as a part of interior, as a pillow, or as a cushion. Cats, of course, are more self dependent than dogs; however, are cast solitary animals then? No, they still benefit from the company of humans and other pets.

Those stories, on the other hand, are great only when we want to promote creating multi cat households. They say, if your cat is bored, get another one… and magically you won’t need to play with him anymore. And even without the last part, this sentence is terribly dangerous.

But is it dangerous to consider cats as extremely social animals?

While we do agree, cats are social animals, and crave company, you should not forget that cats are still territorial.

Natural cat colonies rarely accept newcomers, and if they do, it’s a slow and a gradual process. Failing to recognize this may lead to a situation when you bring a new kitten home, and they both do not get along, up to a level when they both want to kill each other.

That’s all because cats are not only social, but territorial, as well.

So, if you have a cat and you think he would benefit from a company, it’s a good decision, but must be handled with care.

Before you introduce a new kitten to your home, make sure your house is cat appropriate, that is, it has a considerable amount of vertical territory in a form of shelves, cat trees, widow perches or even furniture tops, as well as plenty opportunities to self playing, and low amount of possible sources of stress.

In order to achieve this, you might benefit from reading such articles: “How to enrich your cat’s environment” and “Most common sources of stress in cats and how to relief it“.

But above all, when someone asks are cats solitary animals or social ones, our reply is, they’re neither of them. Cats are animals who love company, but are very territorial and suspicious about persons they do not know.