8 thoughts on “The Sunday Cat cherishes courtship and its consequences

  1. On watching this after it is up, I’m struck by the female cat’s lack of enthusiasm in the first video, along with the male’s persistent attempts to engage her. O dear. Perhaps she’s just distracted, though I think his final action may have been quite ill-advised.

  2. I have a rescue kitty who I now think is a Turkish Van–long white hair with an orange tail and water loving. Thanks jj for giving me some clues about darling kitty’s heritage.

  3. Oh, JJ, I thought she was quite enjoying all the foreplay! ;-)
    Those kittens are wonderful–I never knew Turkish vans could have orange on them like that. I’ve only seen the all-white ones (often with two differently colored eyes).

  4. Hippocampa: indeed.

    Calypso: You may well be right; one only has cats one has know to draw upon, I suppose. I was concerned that she looked at the camera in a way that seemed disengaged from him. And, somewhat tricky, there was no reciprocal licking. My cats have tended to go in for great inter-licking. But perhaps she was allowing him to pay her tribute in some way.

  5. Alphafeminist: I just noticed your remark! People who have them are very enthusiastic about Turkish Vans, as far as I can see.

  6. jj, do you know of any work on social referencing in kittens? I was struck by how they kept looking up as if for some social guidance that it’s ok to keep playing. Charming videos, in any case, thanks.

  7. JT, Interesting question! I do not really know much about this area, except for informal observation. It’s pretty clear that there are lots of ways in which socially directed vision in cats works differently than in us. Getting a cat to look where one is oneself looking isn’t easy without some prop, for example.
    Looking at another cat is connected to social dominance; when directed at humans it can be to do with food and maybe a sense that humans rearrange one’s world. I’m not sure at all about kittens being interested in permission.

    I thought I’d look on Academc Search for articles and didn’t find much, but I thought the complexity of ‘tail up’ was interesting:

    Cafazzo, S.1 simona.cafazzo@inwind.it
    Natoli, E.2 enatoli@tiscali.it
    Behavioural Processes; Jan2009, Vol. 80 Issue 1, p60-66, 7p

    :Abstract: We investigated the social function of tail up in order to verify its possible relationship with the hierarchical organization of a social group. Domestic cats live at higher densities than their ancestor which is a solitary species. Since the signals needed by solitary animals have different properties than those needed by group-living individuals, signalling pattern utilised by the domestic cat has inevitably changed. Kittens displayed the tail up when greeting their mother; this behaviour can also be observed in wild species. But, in domestic cat the tail up can be also observed when an adult individual meets another one and it signals the intention to interact amicably. Rank order affected the display of tail up posture: it was more frequently displayed by low-ranking cats, and high-ranking individuals received it more often than other members of the social group. Then, tail up seems to be a signal by means of which a cat shows the recognition of the higher social status of the individual to whom is directed. We confirmed the association between tail up and other affiliative behavioural patterns and the individual variability in displaying them. Considerations on the evolution of the tail up as a visual signal will be discussed.

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