By: Amanda Caron ( Cat Behavior Counselor, Owner of Frisky Feline Behavior Counseling)
Multi-cat homes are usually filled with more love, more head "boops" and more of the cuddles that we love so much from our feline friends. Having a multi-cat home also means that food, playtime, litter boxes and other valuable resources must be shared amongst them. Although having multiple beds and handfuls of toys is a great start, there is much more to consider when creating balance in your home. Contrary to popular belief, cats ARE social animals. What "social" looks like in our eyes may differ from what our cats actually do and that is often because we see their relationships as we would expect companionship. We must understand that cats are a species all their own which means we must see their perspective of being "social". While some cats will spend countless days cuddling with their fellow cat friends, there are some cats that will just thrive on life enjoying their own space.
Building the foundation for your multi-cat home
Ensure your cats are free from illness and disease by maintaining regular vet visits. Many times illness or pain can be an underlying cause of aggressive behaviors.
Spay & Neuter - your cat will thank you for it!
Make sure to provide adequate resources for the number of cats in your home. This includes food, water, resting & hiding spaces, toys, scratchers, and litter boxes.
Engage in regular one on one time with your cats. This can be playtime, brushing, petting or cuddling. Learn each cat's preferences of places, people, toys, food so that if your cat's behavior changes you can take action.
Take time to observe your cat's behaviors between one another. Make sure if you see tension between relationships that you try to determine that cause & seek the help of a professional.
Keep a routine so that your cats can know when to expect interactions, playtimes, meal times etc.
Create safe spaces where your cats can be alone without interactions from other pets and humans. Hisses instead of Kisses... Here are some of the most common reasons your cats might not be seeing eye to eye:
Not enough space for them to co exist
Lack of resources
Fear / Stress
Underlying pain or illness
Boredom / Lack of Stimulation
Incorrect Introduction Methods
Difference in Age/ Playstyle/ Mobility
Physical Limitations ( limited vision/ hearing/ arthritis)
Poor environment set up
If you need help understanding the reason your cats aren't getting along, contact a professional behavior specialist to help you.