Behavior (The Essential Cat)

"The Cat be walked by himself, and all places were alike to him." (Rudyard Kipling)

The cat is a less sociable animal than the dog, and only the lion among wild cats shows much gregarious activity. However, cats are not totally self-sufficient or indeed anti-social creatures. Proud and aloof they may be, but they possess the ability to form close friendships with man. This is true not only of the domestic cat but also of some of its wild relatives such as the African wild cat. Tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas that are reared in circuses often dote on their trainers and handlers with as much apparent affection as any pedigree Siamese. Between cats there is very often much affection and what must pass for love.

Cats do a wide variety of things in their daily lives, but, as befits specialist hunters that must conserve their energy for brief, high-performance bursts of activity, they delight in rest and relaxation. Taking "cat-naps" of a few minutes at a time, they total about sixteen hours of sleep out of twenty-four, and are the greatest sleepers among mammals. They out-drowse even the rather dozy Giant Panda which is active for about fourteen hours per day. Why the cat requires so much sleep, we just don't know (read more..)

The cat is a natural carnivorous predator, but it is not a completely instinctive hunter. The urge to hunt successfully is induced and honed by competition and demonstration; the skills are learned by observation, and trial and error. Cats are not born good bird-catchers, for example - in fact until they have thoroughly practised the art over and over again. They are downright bad at it (read more..)

Play is a most notable feline activity, and wild cats play with as much eager enthusiasm as their domestic relatives. Because play is generally most pronounced in animal species where the young pass trough a relatively prolonged period of "childhood", carnivores, including cats, are among the most playful of mammals. Naturally, the young play more than the adults (read more..)