Many humans, although probably not you kind humans, think that we felines do not like each other and would prefer to live by ourselves. This is not the case even in the wild. Think about feral colonies and how there are many cats living together. It definitely is not the case for felines like me, who live with humans. I have always lived with another cat.
And now a study shows that felines like me who live with other cats may be better off than cats who live by themselves. This reduced stress level is important for a diabetic cat like me, because if my stress level goes up, my blood sugar level will likely increase as well.
Humans at three universities, the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and the University of Veterinary Medicine in Austria, set out to get a better understanding of how felines live with other cats and with humans. Their research, which was published in Physiology & Behavior, found that cats can live very happily in groups.
In the study, cats living alone, in pairs, and in groups of three or four were examined for stress hormone levels. Cats under two who lived by themselves had higher stress levels than cats who lived in pairs or in groups of three or four.
Professor Daniel Mills, who was on the team at the University of Lincoln that conducted the research, said “we have known for some time that cats come together when resources like food are concentrated in a single area, for example when people feed strays. However, it might be that they do this out of need and it is still stressful for them, because they are not a naturally social species.”
“Many people keep groups of cats in their home and although they might seem happy together, some people have argued that because this is an unnatural set up, it is not good for their welfare. Our research shows this is not necessarily the case. It seems even if they are not best friends, cats may be able to organise themselves to avoid each other without getting stressed.”
This is very similar to what is happening now in my home. I, as a diabetic cat, am dependent on the human to give me my insulin shots so I spend a lot of time showing him I love him. Jacey does not require as much attention, but she likes human interaction, so she gets it too. And Marley wants even less, so she finds a way to avoid us all until she wants company.
But we are all happy felines, and that is what is important. I think we make the human happy, too!