Living in a multicat household has many advantages. Cats learn from each other, play together, form bonds that can become incredibly close and they fill our hearts with so much love and joy. Living in a multicat household is not without challenges though. Introducing a new cat requires patience and lots of finesse. Some cats take a long time to accept each other and some cats never seem to be able to create peaceful co-existence. There are things you can do to help your cats work out their differences or even prevent squabbles from occurring in the first place. Note: behavior changes in a cat such as aggression, hiding, change in appetite, etc., can have an underlying medical cause so be sure cats have been checked by the veterinarian before assuming a problem is strictly behavioral.
1. Learn the Social Groups Within Your Multicat Home
Depending upon how many cats live in your home, there could be more than one social set. Take time to really look at who hangs out with whom most of the time or whether specific cats tend to stay in one area of your home. When altercations happen, are they with the same cats each time? It may be a cat is not happy that another cat who really isn’t part of his group is trying to access the litter box or get to the feeding station.
2. Create Easy Access to Resources
Two common mistakes I see many cat parents make is that they create a single feeding station for their multiple cats and they also don’t provide the right litter box set-up to ensure safety. When it comes to the feeding station, cat parents may assume that because the cats are willing to eat close together they must be getting along. The problem is, the cats may actually be very stressed about having to eat alongside each other but because that’s the only location for the food, they’re forced to be in close proximity. In this situation you may also see one cat consistently bully one or more cats away from the food bowl as well. The lower-ranking cats may soon learn to not approach the bowl until the coast is clear. What a cat parent may view as the cats being social may actually be a situation creating ongoing stress.