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!

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Why hire a cat sitter for a short week end absence?

 

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Companion cats rely on their humans for food, water and the occasional treat. Other than needing food and water, cats seem to prefer an independent life. So why not just set out a three-day supply of it when you leave the house for a long weekend?

Two keys reasons.   First, your cats need companionship, whether it’s yours or whether it’s someone with whom you entrust their care.  Keep their stress levels down by providing them with the attentiveness of a caregiver.  A qualified cat sitter will ensure that your cats have adequate food, water and supervision.  Second, your cat sitter will contact the veterinarian if your cats become ill or injured.

If your cats need special attention or medication, it’s all the more important to make sure your cat sitter visits your home at least once or twice a day.   Administering meds should be as consistent a routine as possible, for the cat’s well being.  A cat’s health can deteriorate quickly (you may have experienced firsthand with your cat) and the right care may save your cat’s life.

According to professional sources, it takes about 30 minutes for a professional cat sitter to care for one cat per visit. During the visit, the sitter will feed and water your cats and change the litter box. A cat sitter also will play with your cats, so be sure to leave plenty of toys — including a few new ones to keep your cats entertained.

If you hire a less experienced person, such as a neighbor or friend, make sure you choose someone reliable who will be able to come by at least once a day for at least 30 minutes.   For cats who don’t need special medical attention, a capable friend is a satisfactory option.

Be sure to ask any cat sitter about their previous cat care experiences.   Keep in mind professionals are typically insured, which provides additional peace of mind.  Professionals should provide you with at least two references and you should follow up with them.  You should also ask them what would they would do if your cat becomes ill or if there is an emergency.

Leave out a full set of care instructions for your cat sitter, including the location and frequency of feeding, litter box cleaning,  locations of toys, treats, and grooming tools.   A complete set of instructions should be provided for medications and where those are kept.  Provide your phone numbers for emergencies and the number of your vet’s office and emergency vet’s office (if different).  Professional sitters should come out to your home ahead of time to meet your cat(s), become familiar with where their things are located and ask questions.

Hire a qualified cat sitter and give yourself and your cats the gift of peace of mind when you need to go away.

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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.

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Undercover Mouse is the Cat’s Meow

Dogtime.com has issued another review of one of MyThreeCats.com’s cat  toys, the Undercover Mouse!  Undercover Mouse has become one of our most popular toy offerings because it plays right into your cat’s hunting instincts. 

Read about this 5 star review right here:

http://dogtime.com/undercover-mouse-from-my-three-cats-co-dot-.html

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