Contrary to popular belief, cats are not solitary creatures. They do have social lives, but they are different than dogs (as they are in most things!). It’s no secret that if you have more than one cat, your likely hood for behavioral problems increases. Most of these problems are due to poor management. So, if you have found yourself in a multi-cat house, or plant to have one, please read on for tips from a Lincoln, NE animal clinic on how to help your cats navigate their relationships and help you keep your sanity!
- Space, Space, Space!! Cats are territorial. Again, this does not mean solitary, but it does mean that they all do need some space to call their own. Smaller spaces/apartments/houses may not lend themselves well to housing multiple cats. You can always create more vertical space for them to use via cat trees or installing shelves higher up for them. Every cat is different in how much space they prefer as well.
- Introductions: Be sure to start your cats off on the right paw by introducing them properly. Don’t just let them “fight it out”! Using feline pheromones can help!
- Litter boxes: So many problems start here! There should be at least one litter box per cat (ideally plus one more). If your house has multiple levels, they should be spread out between the levels. Do not put all the litter boxes in one room! This defeats the point. If one cat is stalking/staring down the other cat while they are trying to use the box, guess what? They will stop using the box. Hence, the space. (If/when any issues start with not using litter boxes, be sure to see your Lincoln, NE animal clinic to rule out medical problems first!)
- Feeding: Cats also need their own space to feed in. Have at least one bowl per cat, if you choose to use feeding bowls. They can feed in the same room, but have enough space between bowls that there won’t be any issues with intimidation or competition for eating. If you use puzzle feeders for your cats, be sure to have enough around for every cat to use. Water bowls/sources should also be available throughout the house.
- Play: Don’t expect cats to play nicely together with one toy. Have multiple toys available. When you play with the cats, be sure to give them each individual attention or this could also lead to fights. Have multiple scratching posts available as well. Remember every cat will have their own preferences for scratching. This is a valuable way to let them mark their own territory as well!
- Sleeping space: Make sure multiple comfortable spots are also available for your cats. Don’t let them all fight over one bed/chair. Provide options for them and be aware of any of their personal preferences so you can set them up for the best success!
These tips should have you on your way to being an excellent cat keeper in no time! Be sure to contact your Lincoln, NE animal clinic with any behavioral issues as they start, or with any questions about your cats’ relationships!