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The Feline Hierarchic System

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By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - When we think of a hierarchical system of animals, we think primarily of dogs in the social order and structure of the absolute hierarchy of the pack. Cats, on the other hand, have been previously known to be more independent and solitary animals.

But, since domestication, cats have adapted to group living and have become a much more social species. And although cats do not have as extensive a social order as their canine counterpart, there is a sense of status in a relative (as against absolute) hierarchy of a colony of multiple cats, depending on time, place, and situation in general.

Unlike dogs, cats do not hold a clearly defined hierarchy with various ranks of individuals and set order, instead, it’s more of a “top cat” who holds the highest privileges. In a feline colony, cats form bonds and relationships which include grooming, greeting, playing, etc.

Cats are territorial and most cats will fiercely defend their own territory. It is the top cat who gains access to these privileged areas and resources. The others have no significant order, as dogs would, but place below the top feline.