In general, cat owners tend to assume that cats will get along in multi-cat households. There is an assumption that, at the end of the day, all will be well and sometimes not a lot of consideration is given to the possibility of a disharmonious group of cats. This can happen despite the domestic having evolved into quite a sociable animal compared to his/her wild ancestor.
Also, it has to be said that it is not always obvious that cats in a multi-cat household are not getting along very well because cats will carve out their own space within a home if they are full-time indoor cats. The space will be too small and far from ideal but in creating separate mini-territories domestic cats can keep the peace between themselves if needs be.
In a forthcoming BBC television series on domestic cats we are promised some interesting insights, one of which is how cats in multi-cat homes who are not getting along (even though their owners think they are) fight over such things as who gets the best spot on the bed. I am sure there are some subtle cat psychological games being played out without the knowledge of the cats’ owner.
There is common sense in the idea of separating eating areas and litter trays for these reasons.
Dr John Bradshaw, a well-known cat behaviourist and author of Cat Senses, suggests the following clever tip to ease the way for a speedier introduction of a new cat to the household.
He says the owner of the existing cat should take two old handkerchiefs and rub one on the head of the existing cat and put it in the cage of the new cat at the rescue centre where he/she currently resides.
With the other handkerchief she should rub the head of the new cat with it and then place it in her home. Both cats then get to smell the other cat before meeting. Dr Bradshaw neatly describes this as being like an exchange of photos for humans before they go on a blind date.
I think it is a neat idea which is why I have written this short article. What do you think? Do you have any clever cat introduction techniques or does your household totally disprove what I have written on this page.
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