Keeping Peace in a Multi-Cat Household

Every cat has his or her own personality. So when you have multiple cats in one household things can sometimes get heated. Cats react quickly when their feelings or safety are threatened — some become aggressive, others may become withdrawn, even sick. Of course some conflict between cats is normal, but our goal is to reduce unhealthy conflict.

Signs of open conflict are the easiest to recognize. Cats may stalk each other, hiss, or “poof” their hair to look bigger. If neither cat backs down, these displays may escalate to swatting, fighting and biting.

But conflict between cats isn’t always exhibited in fighting. A more assertive cat might chase another cat away from resources such as food or the litter box, or silently and subtly block access. A less assertive cat may routinely move away from the food dish when the dominant cat approaches. Less assertive cats may also spend excessive amounts of time hiding. In cases of extreme conflict the stress of a threatening housemate might cause a cat to vomit, avoid the litter box, or start missing meals.

Please understand we don’t mean to discourage multi-cat households. We just want to be sure that you are informed and have the resources that you need to handle your kitties’ issues.

Here are some suggestions:

Adopt 2 kittens at the same time, preferably from the same litter. But, sometimes once they hit adulthood, even litter-mates will have issues.

  • Give each cat a separate set of resources (water, food, litterbox, perch) in safe quiet locations not in view of the other cats.
  • Add three-dimensional structures to increase the cats’ sense of space such as kitty condos, or even cardboard boxes.
  • Be sure to spread your time and affection generously among your cats to avoid competition.
  • Use kitty pheromone sprays or plug-ins to create a calmer atmosphere in the house.