Is your cat lonely and need a companion? Probably not.

Cats, unlike humans and dogs, are sole survivors. That means they don’t need social relationships to be happy. They definitely can choose to form bonds with other cats and other species, but not all cats will. The ability to do this is already established in a kitten before the age of 7 weeks, so it’s hard for older cats to learn to make friends.

Physical contact between cats and the lucky ones they deem to bond with, usually consists of rubbing their head, and licking and grooming. However most cats are not big on long cuddles. They are more than happy to stroll past you, meowing a quick “hello”. In fact, studies have shown that cats are more likely to sit and stay on your lap for longer if it was their idea, rather than being picked up and cuddled.

The reason cats don’t like being restrained for too long, is that they are absolute control freaks. Being sole survivors, they constantly feel the need to be in control of all their resources, including their food, water, toilet areas, resting places, and entry points and escape routes. We as humans, satisfying our need to nurture others, sometimes unwittingly create stressful situations for our felines. We take away their control by deciding when they eat, when they exit the house, and who they share their territory with.

If you have more than one cat at your house, it is ideal for each cat to have their own food bowl, water bowl, and litter tray. It’s also really important for all cats to have places to hide and get some privacy. Somewhere to regroup after a stressful encounter, where the cat feels safe is essential.