Video: Meeting Two Cats In Familiar Territory
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
If only one of the two cats knows the territory in which they meet each other, then it, at least at first, has an advantage: the cat, which is unfamiliar with the territory, behaves uncertainly and fearfully and tries first of all to avoid the meeting in order to first scout out the surroundings.
The initiative, therefore, belongs entirely to the local cat, which, depending on its temperament and degree of self-confidence, more or less leisurely and, falling to the ground, approaches the stranger and tries to sniff her. But, since she in most cases refers to this negatively and turns away, takes to flight or just as calmly continues to explore the territory, the ceremony of greeting with noses does not take place: the cat, which has an advantage, seeks directly to anal control. However, such a thing is tolerated patiently only in rare cases, a strange cat, rather, half turns around, hisses and begins to defend itself. Then the rejected cat most often interrupts its efforts, sits down and watches closely any movement of the other cat.
After a while, she moves closer again, depending on the circumstances., with some stops, she takes a couple of steps, sits down again and repeats this one or two more times before trying to sniff the stranger again. The more often this happens, the sooner the stranger will stop her exploration and will settle down or sit down, if possible, in a place where she will be protected from the rear, or on a dais. There she demonstrates a special demeanor, which I called "looking around": with an attentively satisfied expression on her face (with which, for example, a well-fed cat, sitting on the window, watching the traffic), slowly turning her head, she looks in all directions, but not in the direction of the cat that has settled down here earlier, as if it wants to emphasize its harmlessness. At the same time, she, of course, still monitors any movement of the other cat. As soon as she tries to take control againshe will change position or hiss and meet the curious one with a blow.
This can go on without any tangible progress for hours, even days, while all the previously described processes unfold at the pace of high-speed shooting. In this case, the presence of elevations in the territory is very important. If a stranger cat manages to take refuge immediately at the beginning of the meeting, for example, on a chair, then due to this, the advantage of the cat that has settled here will be almost entirely compensated. A latecomer will now risk approaching - if at all - with exceptional caution, and a strange cat meets her approach much more calmly and often looks straight in the eyes, however, nevertheless, again alternating such glances with "looking around."
The gaze of the "prey" instantly slows down even the action being taken. This is shown by the following game, which can be played with almost any not yet completely dull tiger from the zoo: stand directly in front of the cage with a single-lens reflex camera and, looking down, look through the frosted glass at the animal in the far corner of the cage. If he is determined to "hunt", which is almost always the case with very stagnant inhabitants of the zoo, he will soon take a wait-and-see attitude and suddenly lay flat in a lightning throw. If you now quickly raise your eyes and look intently at the animal, it will immediately slow down with all four paws and, "looking around", will turn to the side. If you look down again, through the eyepiece of the device's viewfinder, then the beast will make the next attack. This can be repeated as often as you like. In any case, in all my experiments, the tiger had more patience,than me.
In meetings on neutral or friendly ground, as well as in the prelude to mating, one side will immediately break off their rapprochement if the other gazes at it intently (with one exception: nose salutes). A socially weaker animal cannot dare and restrain the movement of a stronger one by looking at it point-blank. Likewise, during the prelude to mating, the corresponding passive side "looks around", because otherwise the partner's initiative would be paralyzed and any rapprochement would be impossible or too difficult. Such a polar difference between gazing and "looking around" is, moreover, the background to the sensitivity of cats, so well known to all their owners: if, for example, a cat is caught stealing and punished by an angry, but still welcoming and loving mistress, then the animal more often than not, he does not run away, but moves away to the nearest habitual resting place, for example, under the kitchen stove, there he sits down with his back to the hostess and looks around. This behavior is an expression of social weakness, convincingly felt through punishment, however,an element of a certain social weakness also lies in the person's genuine touchiness; “Offended” is or acts as “offended” only the one whose social position, strength or power is insufficient to bring the offender to justice and successfully point him to his place and accordingly punish him.
The described circumstances also explain the constraining effect of a gaze at big cats, such a gaze is often even used in the process of training predatory animals and, exaggerating it mimically, demonstrate to the amazed public as a unique ability of a tamer.
He, however, only needs to be brave and well versed in animals in order to calmly withstand a face-to-face meeting with a lion or a tiger. And besides, the trick only works as long as the predatory animal considers the tamer either as a stronger relative or as a possible victim. In a duel of rivals, this means is powerless to help, hence the conviction of the famous trainer Tgar: an open attack of a lion cannot be stopped by almost any means. Indeed, in a duel of equal rivals or in a battle for a place in the hierarchy, the opponents stare at each other for a long time.
Gestures indicating a break in contact, like looking around, have a dual purpose.: they, on the one hand, remove the irritant that provokes aggression or flight, the animal, which turned away its gaze, acted with this irritant on the relative that it encountered, but, on the other hand, the above actions remove the same irritation experienced by the turned away animal from the other … An animal that breaks off contact actively avoids the degree of irritation that leads to aggression or flight, which would, on the contrary, be inevitable with the further approach of another animal. Thus, there is no need to yield, and there is, however, no need to fight, unless the other animal is inevitably in the mood for aggression. In any case, meetings of two cats, one of which "looks around", only very rarely end in the use of force.
Only in very rare cases (very young or very timid) animals, being in their own house, do not dominate and give up the initiative to someone else's cat. Then both animals can switch roles, and an uninitiated observer would consider someone else's cat for a local old-timer and vice versa.
If the meeting takes place in the house of one of the cats, then the intruder is usually attacked instantly. Most often, after the first sharp attack of the owner of the territory, the other side, for which this territory is alien, takes flight, and the owner pursues the enemy a little more. In a closed room, a weaker animal, in the end, having prepared for defense, is driven into a corner, after which the winner at first retreats, but after a more or less long time, most often repeats his attacks.
Paul Leuhausen, translated from German by Alexander Volkov
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