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!

Cats are amazing. Did you know…

 

iStock_000000406179ManWithCatXSmall

  • A cat’s heart beats twice as fast as a human heart, at 110-140 beats per minute.
  • A cat’s normal body temperature is 101.5 degrees.  This is slightly warmer than a humans.
  • Cats have 290 bones in their body, and 517 muscles.
  • A cat has five more vertebrae in her spinal column than her human does.
  • A cat will almost never “meow” at another cat.  This sound is reserved for humans.
  • During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. (Spay and/or neuter your cat!)
  • Kittens begin dreaming at just one week old.
  • If your cat is 3, your cat is 21 in human years.  If your cat is 8, your cat is 40 in human years.  If your cat is 14, your cat is 70 in human years.
  • The more cats are spoken to, the more they will speak to you.
  • Cats are partially color blind.   They have the equivalency of human red/green color blindness.  (Reds appear green and greens appear red;  or shades thereof.)
  • Cats need 1/6th the amount of light that humans do to see.  Their night vision is amazing!
  • Cats can see up to 120 feet away.   Their peripheral vision is about 285 degrees.
  • A cat’s ear pivots 180 degrees.   They have 30 muscles in each ear, and use twelve or more muscles to control their ear movement.

 

 

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