Flamecloud takes a look at the Sisters from Squirrelflight’s Hope and real world feral cat colonies. Spoilers for Squirrelflight’s Hope!
Hello, I’m Flamecloud, and with this article I will be looking at the similarities between the Sisters and actual cat colonies in real life.
So, we all probably know that the clans are not super realistic. There are many aspects of the cat’s lives that make the book interesting and wonderful, but do not generally occur in real life. Sadly, there are no giant group of organized civilizations of felines gathering in the forest. (Or, if there are, the cats keep it a secret 🙂 )
However, I personally was intrigued by the similarities between the newly introduced group called “The Sisters”who appear for the first time in Squirrelflight’s Hope, and real life feral cats.
There are some mild spoilers for those who have not read the above book, so tread carefully!
One first feature that is similar between feral colonies and the Sisters is the matriarchal society. In feral cats, colonies form nearby large food sources that can support many cats. Often, Mother cats will allow their female kittens to continue living with them once the kittens have reached maturity, but the oldest female is in charge. So, Moonlight behaves like a normal feral cat, although ferals are far less organized.
Another thing that remains similar between the two groups is the habit of raising all of the kits together. In feral cats, related she cats will often feed each other’s kittens, and overall treat them as one giant litter. This leads to a higher rate of kitten survival, a rate which is unfortunately rather low in ferals.
A third shared characteristic is how the Sisters treat male cats. Of course, feral cats (as far as we know 🙂 ) probably don’t have the Sister’s mystical view of the land, but they do disperse their male offspring when they reach a certain age, allowing only their daughters (or nieces, granddaughters, etc) to stay with them. Also, in real life cats do not mate for life, mirroring the Sisters and their brief relationships. In addition, toms generally do not assist in the raising of the kits (although I have read about exceptions), and that job falls upon the queens.
Another thing to note is the Sister’s less aggressive nature. Within feral colonies, aggression is surprisingly rare. Males will sometimes scuffle, but the family groups remain peaceful. Even at large food sights, which may host multiple family groups, there is usually little fighting, because when cats fight they inflict serious damage. All the felines would prefer to co-exist rather than waste energy and risk injury.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this article. This information comes from my memories of reading “Cat Sense” by John Bradshaw, which is a fascinating book (in my opinion) on the evolution of the cat, cat behavior, and other fun cat related stuff.