For each cat the development of behaviour clearly depends both on inherited factors (primarily genes) and non-inherited factors (primarily environmental influences). However, to look at a cat's behaviour and ask: 'Is it genetic or is it learned?' is to ask the wrong question. All behaviour patterns require both genes and an environment in order to develop. They emerge as a result of a regulated interplay between the developing cat and the conditions in which she lives. Also, different genes may be expressed in the same way in different environmental conditions. For that reason the cat's behaviour can be divided into two types - those patterns caused by internal factors and those caused by external factors ('the acquired' behaviour). Nonetheless, even behaviours, which are considered as "unlearned" are often modified by learning and by other forms of experience later in development.
The developmental processes generate a behaviour in the individual cat which sometimes remains unchanged once formed and sometimes changes a great deal. Quite often cats are behaving in similar ways despite remarkably different histories. Also cats are known for their versatility which makes them capable to thrive in different environments and seem to explain the similarities as well as the differences that are found in cats living in different conditions.
Although their behaviour in some cases might seem strange and unexplainable to us we need not to forget that it makes purrfect sense to them as they are different species than us! Although they can't express their thoughts and feelings through language like we do they still have their unique ways to communicate and even in some cases are known to be able to “talk” to their humans with their different “meows” and even to be able to help humans to recover from many physical and psychological conditions. There are occasions nevertheless that their behaviour is perceived as strange and often is being misunderstood by us! In these cases human carers need to make the effort to try and see the world through their cats' eyes if they are to understand and appreciate the nature of these some times 'strange' behaviours.