Social dynamics, nursing conditions and infanticide among farm cats, felis catus

  • Colonies of up to 30 cats, Felis catus, which were partially dependent upon man for direct provisioning with food, were recorded on 82% of 775 English farms. They lived at a mean density of 6.3 per km2. Members of one such colony were observed intermittently from 1978-81. These cats' ranging, foraging and scent marking behaviours are described briefly as a background to observations of their social interactions. The adult male's home range was 83 ha, whereas those of three adult females averaged 13.1 (SD 7.2) ha. The cats visited the observation barn independently of each other. When in the barn each cat differed in how it positioned itself with respect to the others. Furthermore, the cats' social relationships were structured by differences in the numbers, rates and types of interactions with one another. Some individuals were classed as net initiators of interactions, whereas others were net recipients. The tendency to rub the perioral and cheek regions of the face on another cat was the clearest single indicator of initiator status. Kittens were initiators to adults, females to the adult male, and some adult females were initiators to others. On average, each adult female in the colony rubbed on another once every 25.3 h. Behaviour within the colony was generally amicable, whereas towards outsiders it was aggressive. All adult females in the colony gave birth to kittens each year, and used communal nests. Females tended, groomed and nursed kittens other than their own, and cooperated with each other during parturition. Although a female might nurse certain kittens preferentially, these preferences were not necessarily for her own kitten. The frequency with which a female nursed a kitten and the frequency with which it rubbed on her were positively correlated. A case of infanticide, when an unrelated adult male killed kittens, is described, together with circumstantial reports indicating that this incident was not unique. Farm cat society appears to be structured centripetally, with interactions flowing predominantly from socially (and, sometimes, spatially) peripheral individuals to socially central ones.

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Author:David W. Macdonald, Peter J. Apps, Geoff M. Carr, Gillian Kerby
Parent Title (English):Advances in ethology ; 28
Publisher:Paul Parey scientific publishers
Place of publication:Berlin und Hamburg
Document Type:Book
Date of Publication (online):2010/05/04
Year of first Publication:1987
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2010/05/04
GND Keyword:Landwirtschaftlicher Betrieb; Katze; Sozialverhalten
Page Number:63
Last Page:66
Signatur: 8 Q 318.4991/16, Suppl. 28
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Weitere biologische Literatur (eingeschränkter Zugriff)
Licence (German):License LogoArchivex. zur Lesesaalplatznutzung § 52b UrhG