Cat Sleeping Patterns Are Never Just Black and White
We have three cats and three cat beds. As each cat was added to the home, we gave each his own cushy, comfy cat bed along with assorted catnip toys and scratching posts. The beds have been replaced when needed, and each time, I carefully choose the selections based on the size of cat, his personality and where the individual cat spends much of his day napping.
But my choices do not ever seem to be so black and white. Black and gray is more like it when it comes to how the cat beds are utilized each day. While the couch and beds are by far the most-used cat-napping spaces, the beds are rarely seen without two cats curled inside the space made for one. The two older cats are almost always seen napping together, squished inside one little round bed.
I noticed from his very first days with us that Orange Tabby, Nico -- who was a feral and injured infant kitten when we brought him home -- and our eldest, almost 15-year-old black cat, Shadow, buddied up quickly when it came to napping on furniture or people beds. This left my gray-flannel-pajamas Russian Blue, Oliver, on his own. Shadow took on a father/mother role with kitten Nico, grooming him and sleeping with the tiny tot tucked to his belly. But this happened only up high on furniture, or actually on the floor -- never in the cat beds.
When it comes to the kitty beds, it’s all flip-flopped. Shadow and Oliver always share a bed. Baby Nico gets left to curl up on his own. I have read about feline hierarchy, and this bed-sharing situation seems a slight on mother nature. Is this truly survival of the fittest, the strongest share the bed, leaving the little, puny kitten to find warmth on his own?
Oliver never made the father/mother connection with Nico and my sweet, gray beauty became Demon Kitty overnight toward the new orange Tabby infant. For two years, I NEVER saw Oliver and Nico napping together. Now, the gray beauty and the kitty who reminds me of an orange-colored tater tot barely tolerate each other. They nap close to each other; but never do they cuddle. The baby Nico always tries to nudge against his older gray brother, as if asking for permission to get closer.
As Shadow is nearing 15, I know one day these two young cats will be alone together. I am curious how they will act once they are more dependent on each other for warmth and comfort.
Only a few times last winter did I see all three kitties snuggled up together for warmth. I caught this photo and shared it with my family because they did not believe all three kitties were ever in the same spot! Shadow and Nico were napping, then along came Oliver and I was witness to a beautiful moment of three-cat-cuddling.
Cat behavior keeps me puzzled. No matter what the experts say, there will always be another question about how cat “group dynamics” really work.
I would enjoy hearing about your own cats and how you view their world. Do your cats buddy up in a different way based on the location -- furniture vs. cat beds? Have you ever had an adult male cat take on a true “mothering” role with a new kitten?