There has always been debate about multi-cat households; some feel they are good (‘after all, cats need company’) and some bad (‘cats walk alone!’) So what is the truth behind keeping cats in groups? Top cat behaviourist Vicky Halls explains.
Let’s begin by learning from the wild. Cats have historically been described as asocial (antisocial) creatures, but more recent studies of feral free-living groups h
They are indeed social creatures that can develop close bonds with each other, despite having no biological need to develop social relationships to survive. Feral colonies, formed predominantly of related females and their offspring, congregate in areas where humans have created plentiful opportunities to eat. The amount of food available and the quantity and quality of other significant resources in the area will greatly influence the size of the group that forms.
It is important to remember that the capacity to be social is a relatively recent development in evolutionary terms so it is not inevitable that all cats will love each other. In order to achieve harmony, the environment and social circumstances have to be just right. Even established groups actively resist intrusions from outsiders, using feline communication (scent, vocal and postural) largely aimed at avoiding strangers and maintaining a safe distance.