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Readers Respond: What makes you believe that cats are (are not) solitary animals & why?

Responses: 116


One expert claims that cats are solitary animals and only seek human companionship to fill their physical needs. While I have my own thoughts and opinions about this claim, I'm more interested in seeing what my readers believe. You may post your opinions and experiences in the provided form.

NOTE: Questions or responses to others cannot be published. Think of this as your own mini-article.

cats adapt

Cats get a reputation as being aloof partly because of the reputation itself. Cats are incredibly adaptable and if treated as such, they will be the stereotypical cat. Simply put: If cats are denied love, they want it less. If cats are smothered in love, they demand it more. Dogs differ because they feel most comfortable around their people while cats feel most comfortable around their home. People are more mobile than homes, therefore dogs are happier in more situations--especially where strangers are concerned. Unfortunately, people are content with this knowledge (or lack thereof) that cats are 'just cats' and many people don't have the time to get to know their unique personalities. My cats change their personalities depending upon my mood; not my day-to-day moods, but mood trends. If they sense that I have been in a prolonged cuddle mood, even the more independent one will be my shadow all day. Conversely, my usual shadow will sleep during the day if I am not in the mood.
—Guest Mandy

cats are independent, not solitary

There is a big difference between not having the pack mentality and being aloof/solitary. Having had cats and dogs live together in my home I know that both are equally playful, loving and fun. And they enjoy each other's company as much as (if not more than) they enjoy being with humans! :)
—Guest maria

Better than people!

I have had cats all my life. While some have been "solitary" animals, I have had several who were better at responding to my moods than my husband was! My 19 year old cat, Buster, was my "blankie" through some very rough times. I also have a Persian, Hugger, who follows me to bed every night, gets some petting and then settles down and sleeps with me. I wouldn't trade any of my cats for anything.

I guess my two haven't heard that...

Both of my cats are very sociable with me and crave attention. They want their lap times, they want me to play with them, they want to be in the same room with me, they greet me at the door, they cuddle with me in bed. They also come out to visit my guests who come over, although they are much more reserved with them than with me. They knead on me, Coco licks my face - they are very loving with me. They also form relationships with each other, that sometimes remind me of my own relationships with my human siblings. They may not be pack animals, but they form strong bonds.

It depends on their personality

I believe that it depends on the cats personality. The very first cat that I had was picky about her food, and liter. She did not like children in the house and would stay out of sight unless she wanted to be bothered. I had other cats in between that one and the one that I have now. I must, the first one and the one that I have now are the total opposite. The cat that I have now loves attention, she is laying up under my arm as I share, she follows me around the house like a puppy, and when I come home she runs through the house because she is so happy. She is not picky about what she eats or uses (liter), she has never hissed, or scratched us no matter what was done to her. She is the sweetest cat I ever had.
—Guest Carla

Cats Just Know!

Shortly after my husband passed away, I was sitting and just quietly reflecting on this turn of events. Suddenly my cat did something he rarely, if ever, did. He jumped on my lap, laid his head on my chest and began tapping his paw on my cheek a few times. He just knew I was hurting and needed some TLC.
—Guest TootyFlutey

Cats do feel!

My Dad's prostate cancer came back. Dad was in my house and my cat, who was a very shy cat, jumped up on the couch and put her head on my Dad's hand. She knew he was hurting emotionally!
—Guest Vicki

A tale of two cats...

I used to work strange hours, and every day my cat Nutmeg would be waiting at the end of our road so we could walk home together, regardless of what time it was - day or night, as if he'd been sitting there all day. For ten years he was my best friend; he responded to my voice commands and was always by my side. We brought in a homeless cat 4 years ago, and one night both cats were sleeping on my bed. The "new" cat bit my hand when I sleepily stroked him, and Nutmeg launched himself at the other - I'd never seen him move so fast - and dragged him outside! But Nutmeg later taught the other (now known as Kevin) how to use the magnetic cat flap and how to hunt. A year later Nutmeg died from cancer, and his last moments were spent lying under his favourite tree, while Kevin stood sentry by his side. No one can convince me cats don't get lonely - Kevin HATES other neighbourhood cats, but when he hears Nutmeg's name spoken he searches the house. I think he misses him as much as I do.
—Guest Annie

No, they're not.

Cats have lots of mirror neurons. The function of mirror neurons is to help the brain learn and navigate psychosocial environments. The percentage of brain area devoted to mirror neurons in cats is comparable to the percentage in humans. That's why cats are such useful test subjects in neuroscientific research. Their brains are very much like ours in composition and layout. Humans aren't solitary animals, and given that the feline brain is put together almost the same way, I would imagine it's more likely than not that cats aren't solitary animals either. You'll get your occasional loner or nutcase that breaks the rule, but nothing I've experienced with cats would lead me to believe that they're solitary animals, and the science appears to support that.
—Guest zEropoint68

Solitary cats

My cat will come downstairs to the door waitting for me to greet her and give her affection. She only does this with me. When my son arrives home he does not see her. Cats are not dumb. They know who they have a bond with. If I don't give her attention on getting home she can sometimes claw me ha :) love her to bits :)
—Guest Gouryella101

Even My Most Solitary Cat Loves Company!

I have four cats--Philly, Kit, Molly and Piper. They are all different. But even my most solitary cat, Philly, likes to be in the same room with the other cats though she will not snuggle with them. And she definitely wants to be with me at times...she'll get on my lap when I'm relaxing. Two of my girls, Kit and Piper, can often be found together actually snuggling or sleeping close, and they both spend the nights in bed with me. My fourth girl, Molly, definitely has her favorite times to be with me or my husband! I can't take a bath or shower without her waiting on the sink for me. My husband rarely can go through the mail without the help of Kit, who will settle down on his lap happily after she helps him with the mail! There are many times when all four of my girls are within close proximity to each other in the same room rather than seeking out solitary spaces.

Not Solitary

I grew up on a farm, with plenty of cats. I have seen cats hunt like a pride of lions for rabbit. I have seen cats sleep in a pile for warmth. I have seen mother cats share duties in raising litters. And I have loved and been loved by cats more than 50 years of my life. Cats are not solitary, only an unobservant person that allows others, like "experts", do the thinking for them would believe so (In my opinion). So cats are not (generally) subservient to humans, does that necessarily make them solitary? I think not. Individualists, maybe, but certainly not solitary!
—Guest Mother McCridhe

Kitty affection

I have two beautiful cats and they just love me and my fiance Rebecca . They have both pawed at us and given head bumps. My one kitty midnight just loves following me in to the washroom. She also tries I believe to stop me from going out when I have to. She'll sit on my legs, my arm clothes ect. My other Buttons just loves cuddling with me where and when she can she also likes giving me kisses. Cats to me are not solitary but do need their space like humans do. My finace Rebecca and I consider them our kids. We lolve them both equally.
—Guest Sean Travis

Family groups/ Birthing behavior

Not only are cats sociable, but I myself have observed cat midwifery and litter shared care for kittens. Also a free roaming female cat I call Dirty Nose (due to her markings) was not friendly until she had a litter. The family group she is from was beginning to shun her but I insisted on feeding her. We became friends and she is now more of a matriarch and still friendly. One website " Catster " is the first one to mention the midwife behavior I have yet to see others. I had originally thought that a female cat would go it alone regarding birthing but have witnessed the contrary.
—Guest Bert


Lindsey chose me. She jumped into my arms at the shelter.I adopted her. Good thing I did. My husband, a victim of alzhiemers wondered outside heading to the trolley. Lindsey awoke me just in time to run after him. She really knew he had to be watched.
—Guest Patricia Cunnane

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