Cats are born with certain instincts which are common across the species. They are by nature nocturnal, predatory, territorial, cautious, and in the wild they are solitary (though they often prefer company when domesticated). Of all the cats, only lions live in family groups.
A cats instincts may be dulled by domestication, but even diminished they are survivors and generally do well when individuals escape back to the wild. Often better than dogs do as dogs tend to have to re-establish near normal pack behaviour modified by their pack leader being human
However pampered and protected a pet cat may be, it retains its strong survival instinct based on its keen senses, rapid reactions, and good hunting skills.
A Young Cat’s Instincts
The first instinct of a newborn kitten is to suck. It must take food from its mother within a few hours of birth or it will die. Apart from nutrition, in the first milk the queen passes on antibodies that give her kittens protection from disease. The mother guides her kittens by lying on her side and nuzzling them towards her nipples but what they do when they get there is a matter of instinctive behaviour. Occasionally a queen may reject a particular kitten, sometimes and indication something is wrong with the kitten, though best to get a second opinion from a vet.
The months of kittenhood between two and six are a period of intense learning when the mother imparts to her young the techniques needed for survival. She starts by weaning them off her milk so they are encouraged to eat other food. Owners who see this process for the first time may be surprised by the determination and even harshness that a queen can show to her kittens. She teaches them to test their food using their smell and whiskers before they eat it. As they become stronger and more viable, she teaches them to hunt tempting them at first with morsels of her own hunting trophies.
The Instinct to Clean
The mother cat teaches her kittens to take over the cleaning duties that at first she does for them, and will usually teach them to use a litter tray and cover their faeces. Cat’s cover the faeces to hide their location from predators.
If the kittens get lost they will utter plaintive and repeated cries until she finds and retrieves them by carrying them home by the scruff of the neck. There is conclusive evidence that kittens which miss out on all this early education grow up to be dysfunctional and often aggressive. Such a cat might misinterpret an attempt to stroke it as an attack and unsheathe all its claws, be resistant to grooming, or be unable to happily socially interact either with other pets or people.
The Queen and her kittens
The exceptionally attentive mothering of the first weeks of a kittens life creates a strong bond between the Queen and her babies. If the mother and kittens are kept together this bond continues and intensifies. Even when the kittens have become adults the Queen will continue to bring them scraps of food, indulge in mock hunts to help train them and continue to repeat her early mothering behaviour.
Even so when the kittens are separated from their mother at around the 10 to 12 week point he generally causes the Queen little distress. If the Queen and kittens are reintroduced to each other sometime later when the kittens have become adults it’s unlikely that they will recognise each other – they may even see each other as adversaries and fight. The original bond only stays strong if it continues to be confirmed on an ongoing basis through smell and touch. Kittens that are separated from their mother soon acquire a different smell as a result of the new surroundings thus breaking the bond if they were ever later reintroduced.
The territorial Instinct
ALL members of the Family are by nature territorial in the wild the territory size will depend greatly on the breed, the availability of food and the lifestyle of the cat. Even wild, formally domestic cats will seek out a territory which is largely dictated by the availability of food they can scrounge or homes they can visit for tidbits. In the case of a neutered Tom’s their territory will tend to be far wider as they go looking for available queens.
Accounts natural territory is made up of two parts. The area directly surrounding its base generally warrants sleeps and relaxes and the surrounding home territory or range. This range will be vigorously defended from strange cats especially by females who will seek to ensure a safe zone for any future kittens.
Outside of this home range is the hunting range which will only be entered into in most cases by a domestic cat when our hunting. Male cats desexed or not tend to have far greater home ranges than female cats as it is males that typically go looking for mates or opponents to dominate whilst females let the action come to them.
These ranges referred to domestic cats that are given free rein outside which is usually not the case in modern times. Many cats rarely venture outside and council rules in much of Australia prevent cats from being outside at night. The home range for many domestic cats and that the border of their property.
Home ranges will be sent marked from glands on the base of the tail and the face and in the case of Tom cats also sprayed with urine. Expect your cat to patrol the home range to see what is happening within it and to defend it from invasion.
The indoor territory
by keeping a cat permanently indoors it’s natural territorial instincts will be further modified though they will still remain expect your cat to have numerous sleeping places with no rhyme or reason seemingly applied as to which ones are used when other than to search out warmth at certain times of the day.
Expect your cat to doze at times in places where they have a good vantage point to survey their surroundings such as windowsills or lounge tops. Imagine they are placing themselves they’re both for safety from other predators but also because of an instinct to survey their surroundings for potential prey.
Expect even the smallest changes in your indoor furniture placement to result in lots of inspection and sniffing as your cat seeks to remap their home territory. New best vantage points will be tested, escape routes will be surveyed et cetera,
creatures of habit cats are not beyond change they really do like things to stay the same. They don’t like surprises. They prefer a strict routine and when they are fed, when they are being social and when they can sleep which a lot of the time. If you move home expect your cat to quickly set a new routine factoring in the times when people are available to feed them and the activities of your home’s inhabitants. Your cat will remember your routine so I feel routinely take the rubbish out late at night expect your cat to be aware of this opportunity for a late-night escape.
Your cat will likely have a very good sense of time and know when the sun is on their favourite chair during the day and went to move to a better spot. Expect them to vary this seasons change in the sunsets earlier or later.
If your cat is very social and likes attention expect them to be ready to receive it when your children arrive home from school. Your cat well knows that much of the day should be used for resting to conserve energy and food so they know that not much is happening at certain times of the day this time will be reserved for sleeping.
Cats are remarkably adaptable. In the wild they are nocturnal hunters but domesticated cats realise they are unlikely to find food inside at night, and they can eat without danger during the day so they change their eating and hunting habits to be more daytime based.
Expect your cat to sleep 6 to 18 hours a day with kittens and older cats sleeping longer.
the term cat napping comes from the restless body motion cats not in deep sleep often exhibit including twitching whiskers shaking legs and swishing tail. Your cat is still asleep but is a far lighter sleep than when you see them completely motionless. A lot of their sleep is spent in this catnap state, a state of semi-alertness ready to spring into action if prey or danger arises.
cats per to demonstrate that they are content or happy. It is an instinctive act and most often the first sound a kitten here’s when it is born with the Queen purring loudly throughout the birthing process. It’s not well understood why cats purr. It doesn’t seem to be a means of communicating with each other as purring is as inadvertent to a cat is laughing is to us.
Even biologists are not in agreement as to how the power is produced some claim is residences in the skull caused by disturbances in the bloodstream, but the most accepted explanation is that it is produced by two so-called false vocal cords, two membranes behind the real vocal cords. The fact that the perfect can be felt at its strongest with a finger laid across the throat if the second theory much credibility.