Signs that cats in a home do or don’t get along with one another

Cats' personal space - it is a requirement
Cats demand personal space like people
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Households in which there are two or more cats are not uncommon. The cats don’t always get along in an ideal manner. It’s nice to know the signs which tell you whether your cats see themselves as part of the same social group or cats that have set up separate territories within the house (and are therefore in conflict).

These cats variously:

  • Greet each other with the tail up. This is the classic tail up greeting which is known to be a friendly or nonthreatening greeting
  • Rub one another when alongside each other or when walking past each other
  • Sleep in contact with each other on a regular basis
  • Play with each other gently. This is play-fighting
  • Share cat toys.

The social function of tail up in domestic cats

Cats that have set up their own territories within the household

These cats might:

  • Run away or chase each other
  • When they meet they hiss or spit at each other
  • Generally avoid contact with each other, so for example when one cat enters a room another leaves
  • Sleep in separate places quite far apart. Often one will sleep at a high vantage point perhaps on the top shelf of a cat condo to avoid other cats
  • When sleeping, through their posture indicate tenseness and the ears may twitch. This is sleeping defensively even though the cat’s eyes are closed and she looks as if she is asleep.
  • Deliberately restrict one another’s movements. This may be one cat stopping another cat using the cat flap by sitting by it for hours or positioning themselves at the top of the stairs
  • Watch each other intently.
  • When in the same room look unusually tense
  • Interact separately when with their human companion/guardian. For example two cats might sit either side of their “owner” in order to avoid contact with each other.

I’d like to hear from the humans living in multi-cat homes about their experiences, please.

My thanks to Dr Bradshaw of Cat Sense.

Living in a Multicat Household: How to Maintain Peace and Harmony

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