Explore Multiple Cat Household Tips and Potential Problems


The Secrets To Navigating A Multi-Cat Household

What could be better than a house full of cats? While it sounds great in theory, it is a little more complicated to successfully bring different cats together under one roof and keep harmony. Bringing home cats that are bonded pairs makes it easy to acclimate to your home as they are already familiar with each other. Bonded pairs are usually cat siblings or cats who were raised together and get along due to similar or compatible personalities. However, when bringing home multiple cats from different litters and backgrounds it can be trickier to introduce them all to one another. Under these circumstances, certain steps must be taken to ensure success.

There are many multiple cat household problems that can pop up that you may not think of as a cat owner. By nature, cats are solitary creatures and tend to be fairly independent. A cat is a solitary hunter preferring to hunt alone. This can lead to territorial disputes with other cats when it comes to resources like food, water, litter, toys, litter, etc. That being said, cats also enjoy the company of other cats for companionship, grooming, and sometimes play. This makes for complex social structures in a multicat household. Keep reading for our tips for multiple cat households to set you up for success when bringing together cats in your home.

How to Prepare for a Multiple-Cat Household?

Provide Plenty Of Resources

In preparation for having a multiple-cat home, you need to prepare your house with the essentials ahead of time. In order to keep the peace in multicat households, you should make sure to have plenty of resources to go around to prevent any disputes over territory. Keep in mind the plus one extra rule of thumb, meaning you should have at least one food bowl/water dish/litter box per cat and then one extra to cover all bases. You should also make sure all litter boxes and feeding or water stations are spaced out so that your cats do not feel like they need to compete for the resources. When there isn’t enough food, water, or litter to go around this can lead to serious behavioral problems such as accidents outside of the litter box and fights. If your cat is guarding their food and water, then you should set up a separate feeding and watering station for each cat. Investing in a microchip cat feeder could help minimize these disputes as these resources can only be accessed by specific cats. This also helps is cat nutrition varies from cat to cat and they eat different foods. Avoid placing resources in areas that have a high volume of traffic or near doorways as these areas are potential stress areas.

A cat’s litter box can be another source of tension so make sure to have one litter box per cat plus one extra. Keep up a good routine with cleaning the litter boxes so that your cat does not develop an aversion to using the box. You may need to scoop several times a day and change out the litter completely as needed so your cats have fresh litter. You might also consider investing in an automatic litter box. Make sure to always have plenty of cat litter around for refreshing the boxes.

Make Playtime A Priority

Playtime should also be a source of stress relief, not a source of stress itself. Make sure to provide plenty of toys so your cats have options and do not compete for the same items. There are many different types of cat toys on the market so you can experiment with different toys to see what your cats like. If you have several cats who like the same type of toys then make sure to purchase at least one per cat to prevent fights. Exercise is also key to keeping your cat healthy and happy so try to also purchase toys that will keep your cats moving. Automated toys are a great way to entertain many cats at once.

A scratching post is always recommended for any cat household so make sure you have several places for your cat to stretch and scratch or else your furniture will fall victim to their shredding ways. Multiple scratching surface options are best as some cats have different preferences for how, where, and what they scratch. Some like horizontal scratchers, and some like vertical scratchers.

Maximize Vertical Space

You should also consider the home environment and if it is suitable to your cats and their needs. Cats need plenty of space to roam, relax or hide. It is also important to make sure there is enough space available to your cats so that they can leave a situation if they are feeling stressed or overstimulated. This can be achieved if you have outdoor space that your cats can safely explore. However, please keep in mind that having multiple outdoor cats comes with its own risks so practice cat spaying for female cats or cat neutering for male cats and keep up with vaccinations.

For indoor cats, you will need to consider whether your home is suitable for the number of cats you want to bring home. If you have a very small space then perhaps reconsider how many cats you keep in your home. However, just because you have a small space, it does not mean you cannot create an environment that will make your cats happy. If space is limited, then stop thinking horizontally and start to utilize your vertical space. Cats are climbers and love to explore. You can add cat stairs, perches, ladders, shelves and hammocks to your walls and windows to give your cats places to climb, explore, hide and nap. Access to windows is great so your cat can watch the world outside go by. A cat tree is a great way to achieve this as well if you don’t want to make permanent installations in your home. Having various spaces for hiding is great as well, like a cardboard box or a cat nest. Always provide plenty of space for your cats to roam.

If you are still finding that your cats are fighting or eliminating outside the box then make sure to check with your vet to ensure your pet health isn’t the culprit.

Introducing a New Cat to the Family

Now that your home is prepared, you are ready to start introducing your cats! It is best to take a slow and structured approach to introducing the cats, allowing the cats to move at their own pace. You should start by keeping the cats in separate rooms at first, ensuring the rooms are stocked with their essentials: litter trays, water bowls food bowls, toys, etc. You should also split your time between the cats so that they are not alone for too long and still get to have the pleasure of your company.

The next step is to let the cats smell the other cat. This can be achieved by swapping bedding and toys between cats or swapping rooms.

At first, you may notice the cats exploring the doors of the new cat and hissing or growling. Once this behavior subsides, it is safe to let the cat have visual contact with one another. Make sure to keep them physically separate though by keeping a cat in a crate, opening the door just a crack, etc. Increase the frequency of these contacts so the cats get more familiar and comfortable. From there, you can have supervised interactions with the cats in small time intervals that build with time. Soon your cats will be able to hand out unsupervised.

Creating a Harmonious Haven for Your Feline Family

We hope this cat advice and multiple cat household tips help you build a harmonious home for your cats!