Cats have something of a reputation for being solitary, aloof animals who are perfectly happy enjoying their own company, and who prefer to eschew the affections and attention of others.
But is this really true, or do cats enjoy the company of other cats, and of humans? We took a closer look into the psyche of cats to help us understand more about them.
Are Cats Solitary Animals?
Cats are generally regarded as solitary creatures, but there’s no denying that they like to be around people, and even other cats.
They may not seek out human companionship on a regular basis, but they will accept it when offered. In fact, many cat owners report that their pets seem happier with other cats than with their owners!
The reason for this apparent contradiction in behavior is simple: while cats prefer to hunt and eat alone, they are, for the most part, social animals.
They need the company of other cats to feel safe and secure, and they also enjoy interacting with other species.
This means that they can get lonely without other cats, just as we can get lonely without our friends and family.
How Do Cats Feel About Human Companionship?
Despite the reputation for preferring solitude, cats don’t always want to be alone. Many cats enjoy spending time with their owners, and some even enjoy playing games with them.
If you play fetch with your cat, for example, she might actually enjoy having her favorite toy thrown for her, rather than simply chasing after it herself.
Even if she doesn’t actively participate in these activities, she still enjoys watching them from the sidelines and will be happy just to be in your company and sharing your space.
Why Are Some Cats More Social Than Others?
There are several factors that influence how sociable a particular cat is, and these include:
Personality plays a major role in how sociable your furry friend is. A shy cat may find interaction with another cat intimidating, whereas an outgoing cat may welcome the chance to interact with other cats.
Personality traits such as boldness, curiosity, and independence all contribute to whether a cat is likely to approach new situations and make new friends.
As cats age, they can often become less active and playful, so younger cats tend to be more sociable than older ones.
However, this isn’t always the case and is not a hard and fast rule - as you are likely to have experienced yourself, older cats can be just as friendly as young kittens, and vice versa.
As a rule, however, you can expect kittens to be the most sociable, curious age group.
Some breeds of cats are naturally more sociable than others, and this includes domestic short hairs, Maine Coons, Persian cats, Siamese cats, and Abyssinian cats.
These breeds tend to be very affectionate and friendly, even towards strangers, and they often enjoy playing with other cats.
Your lifestyle and environment can also play a key role in how sociable your cat is, though again, this is not a hard and fast rule.
As an example, if you live in a busy household, where there are lots of people coming and going, your cat may be less inclined to spend time with you or other members of the household, preferring to find peace and solitude where they can to escape the everyday chaos.
Conversely, if you live in a quiet home, with little traffic outside, then your cat may be more likely to enjoy being around other cats.
If you think your cat needs a bit more attention, try giving him a treat every day, or play with him regularly. You could also consider getting him a kitten buddy to keep him company.
What Can I Do To Make My Cat More Sociable?
The best way to encourage your cat to get along better with other animals is to provide plenty of opportunities for socialization.
This means exposing your cat to different types of people and places and encouraging her to explore new environments.
It is also important to ensure that you socialize new cats properly, and there are a number of steps you can take to achieve this, including:
Introduce Your New Friends Carefully
When introducing two cats together, it is essential that both cats are introduced at the same time, and in the same place.
It is also helpful to introduce them slowly, by leaving one cat in a room while the other comes into view.
Once your cat has had a good look at the newcomer, he should be allowed to come closer, before finally approaching each other.
Keep Them Separated Until They Trust Each Other
You should never allow your cats to be alone together until they trust, or at least tolerate, each other.
If you do this, you will avoid any potential problems later on down the line, and reduce the risk of one cat becoming injured through a fight.
Give Them Time Together
It is important to allow your cats to spend some quality time together, rather than rushing things. Give them time to get used to each other, and don’t force them to interact too soon.
Playtime is vital for bonding between cats, and it is important to give them regular opportunities to engage in games and activities together.
Try Not To Force Socialization
Socializing your cat doesn’t mean she has to become friends with everyone who crosses her path.
In fact, it is usually best to avoid forcing your cat to interact with unfamiliar people, as this can lead to aggression or panic.
Instead, focus on providing her with positive experiences, such as spending time with family members, and allowing her to meet new people gradually.
Despite their reputation for solitude, many cats do in fact experience loneliness if they do not have other cats around.
Managing these relationships can be tricky, but making sure that you have the basics in place in the early days will help ensure that your kitties live in harmony for years to come.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.