Although cats may appear to like the solitary life, cats are by nature social animals. The fact that fifty-two percent of all cat owners have more than one cat is proof that it is possible to enjoy having more than one cat in the household. However, cats are territorial and within a group will establish a hierarchy, so keeping multiple cats in the same house requires that you understand their nature and how to keep the peace between them.
Of course, the easiest way to make sure that two cats get along is to bring them home together as kittens. They will both be introduced to the house at the same time, so neither will have established a territorial stance. Each will have a playmate and there will be fewer instances where you have to help them settle their differences. However, there are a few things you can do to keep the atmosphere peaceful and cut down on disputes between your pets.
Even when they get along, your feline housemates will want to have some territory to call their own. Be sure that you have sufficient space for keeping multiple cats. A good way to give each cat a spot to call its own is to have a multi-level cat tree. This way, there is a shelf or a cubby for each cat. Having cat trees, scratching posts and other types of cat furniture in different rooms around the house will also provide safe areas for your cats to get away from the group without upsetting the social order.
Provide a separate litter box for each cat. A good rule is to have one more litter box than you have cats. Don’t keep all the litter boxes in one room.
♦Spay or Neuter
Having multiple cats in a house if they are not all spayed and neutered can lead to numerous problems. Male cats may spray, that is, mark territory with urine. They may also fight. Obviously, an unspayed female paired with an intact male is not recommended if you have no intention of breeding your cats.
There will be times when a new cat must be introduced into a house with one or more established feline residents. Since cats communicate, mark territory and establish social order through scent, they will immediately sniff out the newcomer and recognize it as an outsider. One way to deal with this is to rub talcum powder on every cat, both old and new. This will mask the competing scents and since they all smell the same, it will be the great equalizer. Another method is to isolate the new kitty in a separate room at first. Give the new addition to the family some towels or blankets to sleep on. Before bringing the new cat into the fold, let them sniff the bedding material and introduce them to the scent of their new housemate.
Territorial disputes can turn into real fights. Be ready to intervene when things get out of hand. A spray bottle full of cold water is a safe and effective deterrent as the aggressor will certainly not enjoy a spritz to the face. You may need to separate the two combatants for a period of time.
Remember that difficulties in multiple cat homes increase with every new cat added to the mix. While two cats can generally learn to tolerate each other, even if they don’t become best buddies, three cats could be one too many. In any case, make sure you have enough room and time to accommodate multiple cats in your home. By understanding their needs you can avoid the common pitfalls and problems.