Thursday, February 2, 2012

Kung-Fu Cat Picture

A genuine kung-fu cat photographed by Barry Primrose published on Flickr. Of course we are only kidding because cats don't do kung-fu but this is a nice picture of what I presume to be cats at play. Cat play is a form fighting or attacking prey which is why the ginger tabby bicolor cat (Bob) has his mouth open about to bite the upper back or neck of the cowering brown tabby. I don't think the brown tabby is submissive to Bob, just playing the attacked cat at that moment.

Kung-Fu cat - Photo copyright Barry Primrose - published here with his permission

I think Barry did a really nice job of capturing the action both in terms of timing and freezing the action. This requires a fast shutter speed and a good eye. I have a feeling, though, that these two cats like some rough and tumble routinely (social play) which makes it easier for Barry to get his shot.

A bit about cat play

The picture might have captured the pounce following the face-off. These are two postures/actions in the social play of cats.

In the development of kittens social play is physical interaction between kittens. The series of behavior patterns that describe social play are modified and restricted versions of the sort of behavior we see in aggressive encounters between adult cats or when preying on other animals.

I was informed that kittens learn how hard to bite during play. Facial expressions apparently give a signal that this is play and not for real. Play between kittens takes place most often at age 9 - 14 weeks. Social play stops at about 14 weeks of age. Cats then play with objects like balls etc.

The two cats in the picture seem to be adults. Why are they play fighting? If they are indeed play fighting it is because as is the case for all domestic cats, they have been kept in a state kittenhood by their human caretaker.

See an F2 Savannah cat at play in a cat play tunnel. And some more detail on cat play.

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