Having more than one cat can sometimes lead to stressed felines and territory disputes – leaving the owners, who are doing a good thing by giving multiple cats a loving home, questioning their decision. Is it right to keep lots of animals if a pet seems nervous or frequently lashes out?
It’s rare for things to get so bad that animals have to be rehomed, but there is an art to maintaining a peaceful and healthy multi-cat household. They aren’t pack or pride animals like their relative lions; but solitary predators who are naturally territorial.
Most multi-cat owners experience no problems whatsoever, and have felines who are the best of friends. But if you are struggling, know you aren’t alone, and there are ways to restore calm to your home and help cats to get along.
Remember to get your new pets thoroughly checked by a vet before bringing them home to meet your existing ones, like at the friendly Parkside Animal Health Center or your nearest local pet hospital.
Follow our simple steps to making your home a loving multi-cat environment!
- Separate Territories
If you are having issues with warring cats, it’s a great help to separate their food sources. Cats normally establish their own ‘hunting grounds’, but when they share a small area with a larger number of cats than usual, there can be problems.
Make sure your cats know their food source is not in rivalry with others. If you can, set up multiple food stations in different areas of the house. This way, they can decide between themselves about where their own ‘territory’ lies, and fights are likely to decrease if your pets don’t feel the need to defend their dinner.
- Scratch Posts
Provide ample scratching surfaces around your home: at least one per cat, but ideally more. Vertical posts are great for your cats to stretch and scratch, but some prefer horizontal surfaces.
This not only reduces the risk of your cats damaging your furniture, but cats love to mark their territory through scratching displays, too. They need to do this to sharpen their claws, so ensure you provide adequate scratch stations before your upholstery is ruined!
- Neuter and Spay
Castrating your cats prevents adding to the overpopulation of domestic animals (there are millions of animals all over the world in shelters, on the streets and without homes), and significantly calms them down as well.
You will find that volatile and runaway cats are much more placid once castrated – unneutered cats quite often disappear for days at a time to find a mate. Neutered animals also live longer, happier lives, with higher protection against some cancers.
Castrated cats are less territorial, and therefore less likely to have disagreements with other pets. They are also less likely to ‘mark their territory’ with pee around your home. There are so many benefits – there’s no excuse!
- Use Pheromone Diffusers
Diffusers like Feliway are a great help for placating your feline friends, especially within a household of many cats. You simply plug it in, and it begins emitting pheromones that aren’t detected by humans (so don’t worry about a smell), but makes cats feel comforted and relaxed.
- Create Different Level Territories
Cats love to climb and survey their territory from high vantage points to feel safe. Encourage your cats to sit on top of high furniture, where they can get some space from other pets and feel secure in their sleep. Consider placing blankets on unused shelves, on top of wardrobes, or any tall surface in your house.
- Provide Plenty of Exercise
Cats will naturally prowl, jump and climb all day when they feel secure in their homes; but nervous pets who are stressed in their household will sometimes hide and become frustrated and aggressive.
Coax out any cats who frequently hide with food and toys. Play sessions will encourage bonding for your cat with humans and other felines. Most of all, ensure your house is equipped with cat flaps so they have access to the outdoors whenever they please.