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How to Have a Harmonious Multi-Cat Household
You’re a cat addict who can’t help falling for a needy stray or cute kitten. However, your existing cats are less thrilled with each new addition as it increases tension between them.
The problem is cats are solitary animals who prefer to socialize on their own terms. Living in a multi-cat household puts each cat under pressure, which can easily boil over into a catfight.
The good news is with a little feline cunning and by providing each cat with her own space and resources, it’s possible to have a peaceful multi-cat home.
Signs a Cat is Stressed
Is yours a multi-cat household under pressure? Be alert for the following cat behaviors which are clues to stress:
- Urinating or defecating in the wrong places
- Scratching furniture
- Hiding away
Causes of Stress Between Cats
Troubleshoot the reasons why one cat doesn’t get along with another, then you can correct it.
Common causes include:
- Lack of space, meaning the cats can’t avoid one another
- Shared resources such as food bowls, causing friction
- Sharing litter boxes, which goes against basic cat behavior
- A threat to territory, such as competition for a favorite sleeping spot
Now look for a solution, for example, provide an extra litter tray or a cat tower for extra space vertically.
Creating a Harmonious Multicat Household
These simple tips tap into cat psychology to help them rub along together.
A 3-D World
Cats love to climb and live in a 3-D space. Provide cat trees, shelving, and walkways so the cats can cross the room without touching the floor. This allows them to stay away from each other which reduces conflict.
An insecure cat likes to rest on a high platform. This allows her to watch for a rival’s approach and feel safe. Again, this reduces flashpoints and promotes peace.
Individual Feeding Stations
Don’t make the cats share. Instead, give each cat her own food and water bowls, and site them around the home to prevent bullying.
Individual Time and Attention
Reduce jealousy by taking time to pet and play with each cat.
Consider strategies such as using puzzle feeders, so the cats get plenty of mental stimulation since boredom can trigger catfights
Lots of Litter Trays
Provide each cat with her own toilet facilities, plus one spare tray for emergencies.
A plug-in diffuser containing a synthetic feel-good feline pheromone helps alleviate anxiety
Cats are sensitive to mood, and agitation is infectious so avoid loud music and shouting.
And finally, there is a tipping point where stress increases dramatically, and at least one cat will develop bad behavior as a result. This threshold is crossed when you own five or more cats. So, much as you love cats and want to offer them all a good home, be kind to the felines in your care. Recognize that having four (or fewer) cats in the house is key to harmony and contentment.