Do you share your heart and home with a clowder of kitties? Does your feline community get along well most of the time, or do you have a few feisty furry family members who are constantly picking fights with their feline roomies and upsetting the peace and harmony in your home?
While many cats can coexist peacefully in a multi-cat community, some cats just don’t get along. Instead of ignoring each other these cats can potentially cause general group mayhem. Although these cats have their legitimate reasons for their disturbing behavior, the good news is that there are several interventions we can help to reduce the noisy squabbling and create a more peaceful feline environment.
Scratching is a normal feline behavior so it’s crucial to provide your kitties with plenty of scratching surfaces; both horizontal and vertical. A good rule of thumb is to have one scratching post or cat tree for every cat in the home. Cats are drawn to several different textured surfaces, so offer them a variety from which to choose. Cats scratch to mark their territories, and use them to sharpen and clean their nails, and to fully stretch out their bodies.
Place litter boxes in strategic locations that are convenient for cats. There are kitties who absolutely refuse to share litter boxes. Therefore it’s best to have one litter box per cat, plus one more. Since humans are not the only ones who abhor a dirty toilet, cats also require that their “toilets” are clean. Scoop the litter boxes at least once a day, (or more if it’s necessary). Since litter boxes are also an area that cats use to mark their territory; since the aroma of scented litter is not feline-friendly, avoid using it.
According to Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy, some cats are mostly tree dwellers while others prefer to hang out in caves. Tree-dwellers are instinctively drawn to heights as this keeps them safe from predators and also allows them to survey their environment; keeping current on all household action.
Provide your tree dwellers with multiple perches around the home. Consider giving the cats access to high closet shelves, and place cat trees and perches near the windows. Watching birds and other wild life is both fascinating and entertaining for cats, so what could better keep them interested and occupied?
To keep your cave dwellers happy, take a few large cardboard boxes and tape the top and bottom closed. Cut a hole in one side and stash a pillow or a fluffy towel inside the box. Then place the boxes in several locations around the house. Cave dwellers are also attracted to low bookshelves and closet bottoms. Be sure to make a special separate place in which they can hide or to escape for some quiet, peaceful time.
Keep plenty of “safe” toys around the house. Spend some time each day in interactive play with your cats. Interactive play mimics hunting behavior and gives kitties an opportunity to catch their “prey”. Interactive play also helps us to bond more strongly with our cats.
Since some cats who live in multi-cat homes become extremely protective of their food and water supply. To help prevent fighting and food “hogging”, give the cats separate food and water bowls placed in different locations around the house.
Using products such as Feliway diffusers, Bach flower remedies and Spirit Essences can sooth “scardey cats” and also calm aggressive kitties. Since feline aggression may also be caused from pain due to an underlying medical condition, such as kidney stones, bladder infections, or arthritis (to mention a few), to rule out any physical cause, a veterinary checkup is in order.
Naturally there are some cats who will never become best friends. Using patience and compassion, and by making the feline environment more “user friendly”, we can help cats to learn to live with each other peacefully in a multi-cat home.
If you presently live in, or in the past have had a multi-cat home, tell us what has worked for you to help peace and harmony reign.
Photo Credit: Gita Rau