Are you considering adding a second or third cat to your household? Tranquility in a multi-cat household is essential, and it’s easier to achieve than you think. Let's sink our claws into three juicy tips for creating a harmonious multi-cat household.
1. Understand cats’ behavior and needs.
Is your cat refusing to use the litter box or sparring with your other kitties? There's an underlying reason why she's acting out. Cats are designed to live in matrilineal groups.
Put simply, once a female has a kitten, other related females will pitch in to take care of it. Over time, the group stabilizes. Separated from her group, a cat loses her cat-to-cat connection.
It’s enough to give her pretty intense anxiety. How does anxiety manifest itself in the kitty world? Acting out, of course! Your cat may spray, refuse to potty where she's told, and even become combative.
We recommend these strategies for helping an anxious cat:
Allow plenty of personal space. If communal play time isn't going as planned, your cat may be telling you it needs space to call its own. Dedicate a separate area for each cat to relax, play, and be comforted in. This might be a favorite reading chair or even a warm spot on the floor where the sunbeams come in through the windows. Stock it with her favorite toys at a height she can reach.
Learn when to stay out of the way.
After you've established those personal spaces, make sure your household knows to respect them. Humans lurking around spots cats have learned to call home can make the animals afraid or nervous.
Don't forget to separate the essentials.
Make each cat feel secure and special by allocating a specific food bowl for each of them. A rule of thumb: Whatever your number of cats, have at least one more water bowl and one more litter box than that number. So if you have four cats, you'll need five water bowls and five litter boxes. That way, no cat feels like it's scrambling for that last open spot.
2. Keep litter boxes handy and accessible.
Even with peaceful space for each cat, you might still end up with urine on your carpet or favorite piece of furniture. So what gives? If you've ruled out a medical problem such as feline urinary incontinence, you may have a behavioral issue.
The easiest remedy? Invest in more litter boxes and make them readily accessible. If they're all in a row in the basement, even the bravest cat may not venture down there. Rather, space litter boxes out around your house until you find the spots your cats prefer. If they still refuse to use the litter box, consider switching up the material, changing the box type, or even adding some litter box accessories.
3. All worth it: building your multi-cat household.
While making your home pet-friendly for more than one cat can be time consuming, most pet owners agree it's more than worth it. By taking the time to understand your cats' needs, then responding to them with patience and flexibility, you'll be well on your way toward the blissful cuddle time you want.