Monday 6 April 2009

Cats and Horses

Cats and horses can get on really well or they might not. It looks surprising to see a cat and a horse getting on well. But if they have been around each other since birth then there is no reason why they can't get on in the same way a lot of humans get on with cats.

I think that this is "evidence" if you will that we are all animals and humans are the human animal. Some people like cats and some don't. Some cats don't like humans and so do. The minimum standard requirement is that the cat should be around horses during the first 6 months of life. That is what they say is the best time for a cat to be socialized to another animal.

Once that hurdle is out of the way the next is whether the cat actually likes a horse or a certain horse. From the videos it would seem that a major turn on, as usual (for both sides) is each others smell - their body odor. The horse sniffs like mad and the cat will then rub against the horse to transfer odor from the cat to the horse. In the next video they get on really well again and the horse sniffs and nibbles the cat or tries to. Why is this? When cats are being friendly they sometimes nip us as an act of friendship (and perhaps a precursor for play) so I think this is a similar thing for the horse. It would seem to be a stage beyond sniffing and (for the horse) what looks like feeling the cat with his or her lips (a kind of kissing?). Apparently a horse nip is also a sign they want to play which is a symptom of friendship.

A clear obstacle is the difference in size. This is a major practical obstacle to a successful relationship! This might be intimidating to a cat. In the video above they manage to make things work, however. In the video below the horse wants to be friendly and is interested but the cat definitely does not. I sense that this cat has lived around horses all her life and is not frightened of them despite the size difference but is just not interested in interacting.

All the cats in these videos are moggies (not purebred). Some purebred cats would probably cope better than others when interacting with a horse. The calmer cats such as the Ragdoll, Norwegian Forest and Siberian (as examples only) might do better than the Modern Siamese for instance.

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