Understanding Feral Cat Behavior
by Linda Hall, Cat Behavior Expert
Understanding Feral Cat Behavior is the beginning of unlocking the mystery of ALL cat behavior. Let me explain.
How many cats do I have in my home? Eleven. However, only five of my eleven are “my” cats. Four of my kitties are my daughter’s kitty kids. One of our cats is a “one person cat”. She has claimed my husband, Brian. Then there’s Karma. Karma has no bond to the humans in our house. She is my cat’s cat.
When I set out to adopt my first kitty, the rescue owner advised I get two cats. Was this just an attempt to get another of her kitties in a good home? I was skeptical, but I listened and went back a week later for kitty #2. It turns out she was right!
Cats are often misunderstood because they appear to be independent. Despite appearances, cats are social souls! Take a look at cats in nature. They live in groups together, called Clowders. They need their village! Cats who live in homes without other animals often show signs of depression and may exhibit some “naughty” behaviors. It is just against their nature to live without their kitty family.
Last year we lost my kitty, Warren, to a stroke. I came in my room to find two of my babies snuggling together. They don’t normally do that but they were clearly grieving and turned to each other for comfort.
When I adopted my cat, Kizmet, he was from another state. Seven months after adopting Kizzy I found out he had a girlfriend back in North Carolina. They were so clearly bonded to each other that the rescue owner named them “Boyfriend” and “Girlfriend”. Of course I flew to North Carolina, and brought Kizmet’s girlfriend home; I named her Karma.
Karma is still a bit on the feral side, and my understanding of feral cat behavior was limited at the time. She lives happily in my home and gets along with all of the other kitties. Karma tolerates the humans but we are not allowed to pet her and you won’t find her on our laps. She just isn’t “our” cat. Every day I find Karma snuggled up with her boyfriend, Kizmet, though. They love each other!
I have been asked why I feed and care for a cat I can’t even pet.
Why? I love cats! Karma was considered “unadoptable”. No one wants a cat they can’t even pet. Unless you have an understanding of feral cat behavior, then you can appreciate what they have to offer. Instead of living in a rescue, she is in a home where she is happy and well cared for. That alone brings me great joy!
More importantly to me, she makes Kizmet happy. She is loving and sweet. She wants affection. She just gets it from Kizmet, instead of getting it from humans. She’s happy. Kizmet is happier with her here. What is the downside? I can’t find one.
If you have a single cat household, you might want to consider getting your cat … a cat! You will have the blessing of knowing you rescued a cat in need and the joy of giving your kitty a special gift!
What is better than the gift of love, companionship and friendship? Nothing I can think of!
This story makes my heart smile. 💕
Rita Reimers says
Thank you Sara!