~KEEPING THE PEACE~
We know that cats have their own personalities and can be very finicky. So, what do you do in a multiple cat household where personalities clash? Here we have provided some tips and tricks to help keep the peace and prevent altercations.
- The litter box rule: Veterinarians and some cat owners know of the “litter box rule”. The rule is have 1 litter box per cat, PLUS one extra. Have 3 cats? Have 4 litter boxes throughout the home to prevent interaction during this private time. If you're worried about looks, there are litter boxes that look like potted plants, end tables, and more!
- Give them space: Some cats prefer a den of sorts- an area to call their own. Dark little huts and cat hidey-holes to snuggle peacefully alone. A lack of enough “safe zones” might cause tension
with multiple cat households. Give them options throughout the house. A cat tree (or multiple) could also release some social tension by increasing vertical space and therefore increasing territory boundaries. Cat trees, window ledge platforms, shelves and more can assist in feline attitude. Try a sprinkle of catnip around their stuff, and your carpet if you so dare, to potentially
assist in making their mood a bit more fun and positive, though not all cats react to catnip.
- Make meals less chaotic: Try feeding them separately but simultaneously. Feed one cat in one room and the other cat in another room. This will calm down instances of food aggression (and food stealing!) You can even feed them in their favorite hidey-holes! Feeding them smaller meals throughout the day will also help to alleviate tension. No one likes a hangry kitty!** **hungry+angry= hangry!
- Make it FUN! Enrichment is the term typically used to describe the action of improving or enhancing the quality of environment for animals. We have gone over some enrichment techniques so far- cat trees, hidey-holes, shelving...but what about games? Play is a useful distraction tool. Get out their favorite toys and supply them with treats, but hide the treats around the house in places accessible to kitty- and make her hunt down those Greenies! Try to hide their meals in different spots. You may also purchase a treat dispensing toy. They make a myriad of toys that when manipulated right by the cat it will drop a treat out. Be careful about giving too many treats though, as weight gain is never fun. Try using their normal kibble as the treat inside the toy- so now it’s just a creative way to give them snacks!
- Keep calm! Believe it or not kitties can sense your stress and tension! Try to approach every situation calmly and without aggressive behavior. Yelling, loud noises, or any sudden movement might startle your kitty and induce a fear or aggressive response. If your kitty does become aggressive, yelling or punishing is not the best approach. Distressed cats will sometimes redirect their anger on to the other cat. Redirected aggression is when a kitty gets frustrated, stressed, angry and has no outlet so it reverts that stress onto other household cats. This can be in the form of vocal interactions or physical altercations. Another tactic to keep your kitties calm is by using Feliway, which may induce a calm feeling by using pheromones similar to that of a mother cat. Feliway also comes in both a spray and plug-in diffusers. Having a plug-in diffuser (or 2+ for larger rooms) in the main room the cats stay in, and spraying their beds (never spray the cat!) may aid in calming and diffusing tension between cats, though some cats may not be affected by the pheromone. Don’t forget to interact with your cats equally and serenely, making sure all cats get the same amount of affection, lest it cause jealous outbursts.
- Be patient! Relationships aren't formed instantly. They need a chance to learn about each other and form a bond. It might take days, weeks, or even months. Just like people, they have complicated personalities and idiosyncrasies. With enough time and patience you can see their friendship blossom!