Showing posts with label antagonism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label antagonism. Show all posts

Monday 25 December 2023

The skin of a cat is not tightly attached to the muscle below

This is about how small cats - the wild cats and the domestic cat - are able to better protect themselves in the event of a fight with another cat over territory thanks to their anatomy.

Small wild cats and the domestic cat are able to protect themselves thanks to their anatomy. Image: MikeB

Small cats try and avoid physical fights to avoid harm which, in turn, ensures that they remain as fit as possible to be the excellent predator that they are. Injuries can blunt their predation and even lead to starvation. 

They avoid other cats by marking territory with scratch marks, urine and faeces. Also they can sometimes scream loudly at their neighbours to tell them not to encroach on their home range.

In short a range of methods are employed to achieve a result without actually fighting.

When there is physical confrontation between small cats over their home range, they will try to avoid fighting by sumo-style standoff signalling using sounds and body language postures. If effective the weaker cat slinks off very slowly. Job done.

The last resort is an actual fight and under these extreme circumstances the small cat has an anatomy which helps to protect them.

Here are some aspects of the small cat anatomy adaptations to inter-species fighting.
  1. The skin of the small cat is not tightly attached to the muscle below.
  2. The cat's body is very loosely enclosed within their skin.
  3. The muscles move and slip within the skin.
  4. Small cats seem to be able to rotate their body with their skin allowing the cat to often squirm free.
  5. The cat's fur protects them.
  6. The cat's fur seems to slide when grasped.
  7. A combatant's teeth and claws might penetrate fur and skin but they a less likely to penetrate muscle.
These aspects of the small cat anatomy helps to thwart the grip of a combatant. The odds are that a couple of small cats fighting over territory will come out of a fight without serious injury. You see ears mangled sometimes for example but that won't hinder survival.

They often return to their home ranges and continue to patrol it diligently as before.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Video example of antagonism between cats in multi-cat household

This lady bought some new cat shelves which attach to the glass in a window frame through suckers. It's quite a clever idea as cats love to look outside and high vantage points. She is pleased that they work. She is not going to be pleased that her cats are fighting. It looks like a minor contretemps between two family cats in a nice home. 

Video example of antagonism between cats in multi-cat household
Video example of antagonism between cats in multi-cat household. Screenshot.

They, are no doubt, well looked after and loved. But my guess is that there is a background of quiet, simmering animosity between these two cats. They probably get along pretty well nearly all of the time. But they both jumped onto these new cat shelves to try them out which put them close together and a slapping competition commenced.


This is an embedded tweet. They often go caput because they are pulled from Twitter. Sorry if that's happened. You have a still image instead which is nowhere near as good.

The experts say that if there is a cat behaviour problem described as "bad cat behaviour" in a home it's often caused by friction between cats in a multi-cat household. If that isn't the cause it is going to be the behaviour of the human caregiver which has rubbed up against feline emotions.

Adopting a second or third cat into a home is a problematic process which should be carried out with great care. Rescue centres should allow people to "suck and see" when adopting a second cat. They should allow them to bring the cat back after a week if it doesn't work out. Perhaps they do this in some shelters but it should be the default policy.

You get chemistry between cats. We don't know why some cats get along and some don't but I'm going to propose that the reason is a common sense one: they just get along like people get along because it's the right chemistry. But the big issue with multi-cat homes is that you are putting cats quite close together; unnaturally so. 

Domestic cats need several acres at least of home territory and they have to adapt to a much smaller space especially if they are confined to the home. They do this but it is easier for some cats compared to others. This is likely to cause stress if the cats are not friendly with each other. This is what has happened in this instance in my opinion.

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