Do you have a harmonious multiple cat household?

Black and white cats appear to be kissing.

Current statistics on U.S. cat-owning households (there are about 90 million today) show that nearly one half (49%) of these households own more than one cat. (source:  Armandhammer.com)  Those multiple cat households must have somehow figured out how to achieve feline harmony in their homes.

Basically, the way to a peaceful feline home is to make sure that there are enough resources and space for your cats.   If your cats know they have options on where they can eat, sleep, play, and use the litter box, all the better.    If all of your cats have only one option, that’s an ideal setting for territorial disputes and added stress among them.  We have a few pointers on how to create and maintain harmony in your cat household.

The initial introduction of cats to each other should be gradual and stress free.  If possible, keep the new cat in a separate living quarters in your home, with their food, litter box and toys.  Your “incumbent cats” will know about the new cat, but not have the stress of direct contact.  After a couple of days, gradually allow your “incumbent” cats to approach the new cat, keeping their contacts short and sweet.  After a few more days, you will have achieved a successful introduction.

Our strongest recommendation:  invest in vertical play spaces.   Cat trees, shelves and window perches are ideal solutions for giving your cats privacy in an off-the-ground location.  Cats like height, so it’s an ideal solution.

Your cats needs outlets for exercising and scratching.  Leave plenty of scratching devices around your home.  Whether they are horizontal, vertical or slanted pads, they will protect your furniture as well as your sanity!

Allow each of your cats a separate food bowl .  If you have common water bowls, have several in different areas.  A water fountain designed for multiple cats is a great way of managing this, just make sure to keep the fountain and the water it holds clean and fresh.

Keep as many litter boxes in your home as the number of cats.  One of the worst problems can arise when cats have the use the same box.    Territorial issues may arise, causing them to “spray” the litter box, which signals to the other cats to stay away.    No one needs to have cats depositing in undesignated areas of the house.  Once that “out of box” behavior starts, it’s hard to stop it.

Finally, monitor your cats’ interactions.  It’s better to observe body language and catch an early warning signal so that you can diffuse any tension and avoid an out-an-out battle.   One great technique for diffusing attention is to pull out a wand toy that immediately draws their attention away from one another and on the moving object (the toy on the wand).

Congratulations on your multiple cat household.  May you and they live harmoniously over all of their nine lives!

Outdoor cats – what they do that you don’t know

Didga the Cat (with his human, not pictured).
Didga the Cat (supervised by his human, not pictured).

OK, so your cat has had his dinner, and is now pleading to you to let him outside, using his most convincing, nagging meowwwwwww.    You oblige.

So….what’s your cat’s next move?  Any number of potential adventures awaits him.

Unless your cat is Didga (see the picture above), I would suspect he is completely on his own, at will to come and go as he pleases.   Here are just a few of the many options he has available to him, depending on his environment and the time he spends out there.

  • He finds and chases insects (name your preference); birds; rodents and other wildlife.  Keep in mind your cat is not wild, he is domesticated and not created to run wild.  However, once his hunting instincts kick in, he would tell you otherwise.
  • If he’s lucky enough (again, from his perspective), he will catch them, play with them, and then consume them, in part or in full.  He may even bring the remains, intact or not, to your front door, as his gift to you.
  • Your cat may end up very sick from eating these various vermin, which may cause him and you much distress and cost you a pretty penny at the animal hospital.  If he’s fortunate, he will recover.
  • Crossing the street is another routine, as your cat will undoubtedly want to get from Point A to Point B.  It may be a quiet street, rarely occupied by vehicles.  On the other hand, it may be a busy highway.  It doesn’t matter to your cat.  He will try to cross it. (Can you tell where this story is heading?)
  • Your cat likes to think that all humans are kind and really, really like him, just like you do.  He is trusting.  Unfortunately, the world has both kind people and those who are nasty to animals..   Will he lead a charmed life and never encounter any of the nasties out there, while outdoors?  We hope and pray so, but it’s not certain.
  • Finally, what happens if the sunny, mild weather suddenly changes into a dark, threatening thunderstorm.  Where will your cat go to seek shelter?  He may run right home to you if he’s close enough, but that’s not always possible.  As for me, knowing my cat might be out there cowering somewhere would really bother me to think about.

As you can see, it’s not all sun and butterflies out there.  And, as you can tell, we definitely have a bias in this matter, and believe that companion cats should, whenever possible, remain indoors.  However, we understand it’s entirely up to you as a responsible and cat loving human, to make that decision.

Fortunately, there are plenty of cat toys and safer diversions available for indoor cats.  We invite you to go to MyThreeCats.com and check them out!

 

Humane Society Pic

Here’s Jane Marcus, of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, pictured with a new shelter cat!  Can you tell Jane likes cats?

This little guy, whose name is Furlington, has beautiful black fur that was badly matted when he arrived.  The kind shelter folks shaved him so his fur would grow back and transform him into his natural, handsome self.  Furlington is available for adoption now!

FullSizeRenderJane1

Texas Former Shelter Cat Sheds 22 Lbs., Purr-sonality Blooming at 19 Lbs!

A former 41 pound cat dubbed Skinny has lost more than half of his weight to become the darling of a Dallas based veterinary clinic.

Skinny admits he's a much happier cat these days.
Skinny admits he’s a much happier cat these days.
It's all in a day's work.  Skinny sails through his exercise routine.
It’s all in a day’s work. Skinny sails through his exercise routine.

Dr. Brittney Barton says the orange tabby she adopted in 2013 has slimmed down to 19 pounds with exercise and a special diet.  Barton calls Skinny the “resident cat” at her practice, HEAL Veterinary Hospital.

Barton said last week that Skinny spends weekdays roaming the clinic.  The ex-fat cat’s weekends are spent at home with Barton and her family.

Skinny was founds abandoned near Dallas in 2012 and ended up at a shelter.  The vet says Skinny just had his annual checkup and is healthy.

Source:  Associated Press

 

 

Peek N Prize Toy Box at MyThreeCats.com

What types of environmental enhancements do you offer your cat?

Caring for cats properly involves much more than simply furnishing food, water and a litter box. Environmental enrichment, such as toys, food puzzles, perches, and even hiding places, can really change the quality of life for almost any cat.

The Winn Feline Foundation recently took a look at this issue in a group of shelter cats on their blog. Environmental enrichment in shelter cats is an excerpt from a study which provided a food puzzle to a stable group of shelter cats and examined their reaction to the puzzle and their interactions surrounding the object. The study concluded:

“a stimulating item that can be shared by all individuals in a stable group, such as a puzzle feeder of appropriate size, can play an important role in promoting positive social interactions among cats and improving their welfare.”

Certainly, in shelter cats, this is an important study. It underlines the need for more than just basic care in the lives of these animals and the fact that this enrichment is easily achievable. After all, the ultimate goal is to give these cats the best chance for adoption. Cats that are comfortable in their environment and confident will show it in their behavior. And confident behavior is much more “adoptable” than a cat that is hiding in his cage or, worse yet, acting in aggressive manner out of fear.

However, this study also can be extended to those of us who keep multi-cat households. I have three cats and frequently see two or more of my cats interacting with the toys and puzzles at once. In fact, it seems as though if one cat shows interest, it generates interest in the other cats as well.  

Many environmental enhancement toys, cat furniture and other items can be found at www.MyThreeCats.com, the experts in optimum care care and well being.