If you’ve ever lived with a cat, you probably laugh when you hear the old myth repeated that cats are “solitary” creatures who neither seek nor enjoy human companionship or the company of other cats.
The myth persists despite story after story of cats following their humans to the bathroom, pushing their way onto their people’s computers or laps, spooning under the covers at night, snuggling with each other, or grooming their friends.
So what’s the deal? Why does the solitary cat myth persist, and is it deserved? Here are a few things we should all understand about our feline friends before accepting or dismissing the myth of the solitary cat.
Cats Don’t Show All Their Cards
Often it seems that people who’ve never lived with a cat buy into the solitary cat myth–and not without reasonable cause.
Some cats certainly take cover when visitors arrive at their door, so if a person has only met those hidey-cats in the past, that individual may well believe the myth. But that person is not seeing the cat or cats the rest of the time.
Many cats will come right back out the nanosecond that the door closes behind the visitor or the cat sitter packs up and heads home. Then they go back to being their naturally social selves.
Cats Are Not Dogs
Cats are different than dogs–often more subtle and efficient in their movements.
There’s a real difference between a ten-pound cat rubbing against your leg, giving you a blink to say hello, and a 70-pound Labrador jumping up, wagging their whole body.
Both may mean “Hello! I am so glad to see you again!” but the dog’s actions are bigger and a cat’s smaller. It’s similar to the difference between one person’s nod of approval and another jumping up and down screaming, “Yahoo!”
If someone expects an obvious and outward affectionate greeting–like they get from a dog–when they greet a cat, they may think that cat is aloof or not very excited. This can contribute to the myth.
Cats Can Be In Your Face, Too
On the other hand, a cat jumping up and down from your lap a dozen times in ten minutes and then walking across your computer another dozen hoping for a cuddle is really not any less subtle than the exuberant Lab’s greeting.
Nor is the cat who sleeps on the pillow, wrapped around their person’s head.
And, anyone who, in a desperate attempt to gain a little more space in bed in the wee hours, has had to push back against the ten-pound cat who turned into a block of stone anchored to the mother ship during the night knows that a cat’s presence and demand for proximity can be awesome.
Those who aren’t familiar with cats may never see that side of them and assume they don’t ever display joyful affection. However, many cat owners know that an adoring feline is just as capable of showing love–even overwhelmingly so.
What About Cats And Other Animals?
Let’s face it–some people are extroverts, and some are introverts. Some people like other people and are well liked, themselves, while others would rather be alone. The same goes for dogs and cats, too.
Some cats are life-long loners, or they may take twelve years to warm up to another cat, or they may be cuddling with the dog and grooming their sister cat from the get-go.
Everyone has seen a host of adorable pictures on the internet of cats cozy-ing up to other cats, playing with birds, mothering mice, and so on. It all comes down to the individual personality.
If you’ve been a believer in the myth of the solitary cat, it might be fun to expose yourself to more cats in different situations and households to see just how sociable they can be. You may be surprised to find this myth busted!
Do you believe the myth of the solitary cat? Have you ever met an outgoing and affectionate feline who challenged this myth? Let us know in the comments below!