Social behavior of cats


•Here you will find photo, video, and text descriptions of various cat social behaviors.  Affiliative behaviors are those used during positive interactions with preferred associates- including other cats and humans! Agonistic behaviors include aggressive or submissive behaviors displayed during conflicts or conflict resolution. 

Cat Social Behaviors

rub  Allorub: Cat rubs their body or head on another individual.

pasqvelcro  Allogroom: Cat grooms another individual.

bellypester  Body touch: Cat is in physical contact with another individual.

bellyfeather  Social play: Two cats engage in play behavior with another. Behaviors seen include, wrestling/play fights, playing with an object (I’ve seen cats socially play with feathers, rocks and insects).

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 5.05.42 PM  Social roll: One cat rolls onto it’s back and exposes it’s belly to another individual.

TailWrap  Tail wrap: Two cats wrap their tails around each other.

sniff  Sniff: Cat comes in close proximity to another individual and smells their body (Nose touches are common- as seen in the photo!)

Purr vocalization: Used when cat is content and may inform another individual of their positive mood. (May also be used when the cat is frightened or sick- but this would not be an affiliative use of the behavior.)

Trill vocalization: Used when cat is in a positive mood or greets another individual. A sharp, fast purr-meow [purrrrrr-eeeow].

  Cuff: Cat smacks another individual with it’s paw

Chase  Chase: Cat sees another individual and visibly changes their course to run after them and chase them away from an area. (Not to be confused with play chase which occurs during social play).

Posturing: Cat’s back is arched, fur is pilo-erected (stands on ends), and tail is fast/twitchy. Used by cat when it is in close proximity to another individual with which it is engaged in an aggressive situation. (Video see 2 min in). 

Hiss: A fast hiss sound. Used by cat in threatening situations as a warning to another individual to keep their distance. 

Growl vocalization:  Deep, guttural noise used in threatening and potentially aggressive situations.

Caterwaul vocalization:  A shrill, high pitched meow held for short period of time. Typically used when two cats are in close proximity engaged in an aggressive situation. 


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