Doris Lessing and Stevie Smith say cats are shaped by their immediate environment, not only the treatment of their human friends, but the world around them. Cats mirror us. But there are all sorts of pictures and texts which testify ot the universality of cat behavior. Both our cats regard the Admiral and my bed as their territory and by the time a night becomes dawn and I awaken I find myself with one cat on either side of me.
Yet they have individual characters, especially seen in play. Clary becomes attached to toys. She guards them, can growl at Ian for coming too near; she mouths them -- till they are shapeless and falling apart. I've noticed a favorite game with a ball of fur that used ot look like a mouse. Clary throws it with her mouth or pushes it with her paws as far as she can. Then she runs after it, chasing it down. She'll do this again and again, with sudden rapid movements and runs back and forth. After a while, she sometimes takes it in her mouth and walks about making little murmuring sounds. Triumph I suppose.
You can see both of them here: Clary on the bed, Ian on a table by the window:
Ian likes to play with a string. He throws and wrestles with it, biting at it, tumbling, giving the string a hard time. He does not throw it far nor does he carry it far He also tends to forget it, suddenly say, in the midst of a game. He is what's called a scaredy cat. He flees people unless he knows them very well, and that means no one he's never seen before or is apparently stranger. He can gradually get used to a new person if that person comes over here often enough. He jumps on Clary and surrounds her with his paws and tries to wrestle. Sometimes she's agreeable, but most of the time she hides under a library stool, emitting a shriek-protest sound if he bothers here.
At the same time, their furniture is a function of where we are in life and what we have. Before that, my cats wear name tags, with their phone numbers engraved on them; Clary has a soft bell around her neck which tells me where she is. Americans put their cats on diets, and while they seem less susceptible than dogs, they can be hurt by indifference (a form of abuse), harshness, and learn trust from kindness. Both our cats vocalize a lot -- I think that's something they've acquired from being around us.
My friend who lives in Iran sent me a photo of her cat and we can see how cats mirror us in her cat's costume, weight, surroundings:
That's a small crown she has on her head where Ian and Clary have large nametags with their phone numbers around their necks.