Does your cat follow you around? Do you think that cats should be independent and following out of character? Personally, when a cat follows me around I never complain – I take it as a complement. It does take some explaining though.
Once, the world was full of farm cats. Most cats – even ones of a non-working variety – lived outdoors and mostly spent their lives hunting and exploring. At bedtime wives would ask husbands, “Have you put the cat out for the night?” Curling up in front of a roaring fire in winter would be a luxury for a cat, like winning a feline lottery. These cats would never have time to pussy-foot around following you. My cat follows me around? It never happened.
Nowadays cats live increasingly indoors. Cat breeds have changed too. The most common adjective for many of the new pedigree breeds is doglike. Breeds described this way include Siamese, Savannah, Chartreux, Siberians, Turkish Angora and American Bobtails. Many people go out of their way to find cats that will talk and interact with them. For these cats ‘following’ is perfectly normal behaviour. Looking at some pages from the Cat Fanciers Association I found the following descriptions:
Exotic: They will, however, quietly follow you from room to room just to be nearby.
Ragdoll: They run to greet you at the door, follow you from room to room, flop on you, sleep with you, and generally choose to be where you are.
Sphynx: They have an abundance of energy and mischief and are always with you, on you or showing off for you.
Siamese: They are the quintessential “people” cat, for they love to be in your lap, on your bed, at your table–and in your heart!
One of my Korats did even better than follow me around. She would jump on my shoulder and stay there for hours wherever I went. I would walk outside. Total strangers would shout “what kind of parrot is that”. That’s how Hattie first became a neighborhood celebrity. My cat follows me around? She did much better than that.
My cat follows me around: sometimes it’s not even my cat.
Sometimes some perfectly strange cat just takes a liking to a person and starts following them around. The more the person ignores them the more the cat follows. That is, mostly likely, a natural feline response to being ignored –
But why is it my cat follows me?
There is no obvious reason to think it’s natural instinct. The commonly held view is that in the wild they hunt alone. Their social life is restricted to sexual encounters and sniffing territorial boundaries. It’s often observed too that feral cats are very cautious of each other when coming together to be fed as a group.
Another argument is that domesticated cats remain kittens and kittens follow their mothers around. This might be a good argument if it was true but, though often claimed, many experts now think this notion quite wrong.
More likely cats are far more social than many of us actually think. Compared with dogs of course cats are very different and do not live in packs. On-the-other-hand, the more researchers discover about cats the more they uncover examples of strongly social behavior.
Very often in colonies of cats, for instance, the females will team-up when they give birth. Kittens can drink the milk of any female in the team.
There are also examples of domestic cats working together to hunt: one cat flushing out the mice, for instance, while the other does the catching. Then there is the fact that cats rub-up against one another and share their scent as well as choosing to sit close to favored buddies. This all shows sophisticated social interaction and the need for companionship, rather than a solitary lifestyle. Some cats may be more sociable than others of course, and we may have increased the general level of sociability through selective breeding.
My cat follows me around everywhere. Does this apply to you? Please use the comments to tell me what breed your cat is and whether it follows you around.