Do you choose your cat or do they choose you?

 Do you choose your cat or do they choose you?

A recent Burgess survey found that 1 in 5 pet lovers have become cat owners ‘by accident’ because a stray cat adopted them or they took in an abandoned cat. So do we choose our cats, or do cats have more say in the matter than we think?
Cats can come and go as they please and retain many of their ‘wild’ instincts. Being solitary animals they rely on their own resourcefulness rather than needing a pack for help – and can quite easily fend for themselves for long episodes without contact with humans.

But despite being solitary they are also sociable animals and when contented will form close bonds with human companions if they are treated well.
If their home is too noisy, crowded or there are irregular feeding times, they may look elsewhere. Cats can have huge territories and if they find things are lacking at home they will roam further to find what they want. On average, a male cat’s ‘home range’ – the one he defends – extends no further than the garden or neighbouring garden, but their territory, which they explore, can be up to 200 acres.

According to another study domestic cats have never evolved to depend on human voice interaction, unlike dogs, which have been dependent on voice commands throughout their domestication.
However further studies have found that there were correlations between the owner’s personality and cat behaviour. Some cats were considered ‘extroverted’ or ‘conscientious’ like their owners and exhibited complex patterns of behaviour that resembled the long-term and complex relationships between humans.

In particular, the study found that women tend to interact with cats more frequently so cats are more likely to approach and bond with females than males.
And, according to John Bradshaw, cat-behaviour expert at the University of Bristol and the author of the book Cat Sense suggests cats might consider us as being ‘big cats’ by displaying behaviours, such as putting their tails up in the air and rubbing around our legs, that they would display with other cats.

What to do if a cat adopts you?
• Before a cat adopts you, or the other way around, they should be given a thorough health check, which covers neutering, vaccinations and flea/worm treatments. If you have a repeat visitor, always ensure you take the cat to your local vet to check if they are microchipped and let local charities and vets know.
• Consider putting up a notice locally in case the cat is missing. Cats are regarded in law as the ‘property’ of their owner and the theft of a cat is treated as an offence, in the same way as theft of any other property is. A cat that is lost or has strayed is generally regarded as the property of the original owner, so it’s necessary to make all reasonable endeavors to locate the original owner whenever possible.
• If you already have a cat, remember that cats are territorial so a new addition may not be welcomed.
• If you do introduce a new cat make sure that you have food, water and a litter tray for each cat plus a spare litter tray.
• If you’d rather not be adopted, ensure that the cat is taken to a local charity for re homing