Living with a kitten: dominating or collaborating

Living with a kitten: dominating or collaborating

Domestication of the cat species

The Felis sylvestris, the ancestor of the current cat, has been domesticated throughout history in different parts of the world. The first records of the little feline date back to 10,000 BC and have been found in archaeological sites in Turkey. The oldest evidence of the relationship between man and cat, however, dates back to 6000 BC. A burial was discovered in Cyprus where a human being is in the company of a cat and both are covered with plants, precious stones and shells. This detail highlights the presence of a relationship, so much so that the cat could have been a house pet from the very beginning and not raised for the purpose of protecting food from rodents.

The sociability of the cat

The cat is considered an "optional" social animal, meaning that it is able to live alone or form social groups with its own kind composed of several females (matriarchy), some young males (groups), a stable couple, solitary individuals or groups that come together to share food or shelter (colonies). Studies show that the cat does not create a relationship based on dominance regarding access to food which means whoever arrives first will be better served. Furthermore, a posture similar to that of "surrender" shown by the dog (belly up), capable of stopping the aggressor during a fight. was not observed.

The relationship with your cat: the focus of coexistence

The cat is also able to create a bond with humans. The relationship with family members is to be considered similar to a child's attachment to his mother. The sensitivity of our species towards the juvenile signals emitted by the younger ones provokes an adoption behavior that induces a sense of protection and care towards them. Between the two species, a real relationship is born and made up of several "parts". The main ones are affective (giving and receiving affection), playful (playing and getting involved in the game), affiliation (feeling part of a group and involving the partner) and social (carrying out activities with the cat and letting the animal participate actively). One of the characteristics of the relationship is the affective dimension, where the "exchange" between human and cat is based on protection, reassurance,and contact. Being aware of how the the little feline's communicates allows us to understand the cat and vice-versa. The playful dimension consists in having fun together by playing, pretending and exchanging roles. Games can include throwing an object, fighting, solving a puzzle together. It is necessary to involve the cat in playful activities of different types and, above all, to accommodate the kitten’s needs when it comes to playing. The affiliation dimension leads to the birth of a bond of belonging based on the sharing of the same spaces and activities, which in turn form a group. The cat creates a preferential relationship with the members of the family with whom he feels closest. The cat greets them when they return home with a straight tail, rubs his cheeks on their legs and looks for contact. The social dimension takes into account the happiness of sharing and feeling in a "group" situation, with two individuals collaborating to achieve a common goal. It is necessary to engage the cat by involving it, for example, in housework, asking the cat to accompany us to the balcony to hang out the laundry or to assist us when we work on the computer and so on.