Problems in a multi-cat household

Keeping cats together: Multi-Cat Household

It has long been known that cats are not loners. Many cat owners therefore opt for a multi-cat household. Especially pure apartment cats are happier in pairs or in a larger group than in single keeping. But even after a successful socialization, there is sometimes friction in the cat family. We have compiled for you typical problems in the everyday life of a multi-cat household. Learn here how you can create more harmony in the group.

Hierarchies in cats – does it exist?

You have already done the first step. You have successfully socialized two or more cats or you have bought two cats at once. Very good! Unfortunately, this does not mean that your kitties are now happy and satisfied forever. Because the coexistence of cats is very complex. That’s why our velvet paws were considered loners until a few years ago. But even if it is not immediately apparent, cat packs have their own hierarchy and group dynamics. Unlike with dogs, this is constantly discussed anew. This happens, for example, by staring, pawing or fighting. You can tell which of your cats is currently in charge by the fact that it is the first to eat, occupies the best sleeping places and moves confidently around the apartment. The lower placed cats on the other hand, first look around cautiously, before they look for a place to live.

If there is suddenly stress

The cohabitation of your kitties is influenced by many factors. You move a few pieces of furniture and the division of the territory has to be fought out again. Cats are sensitive and react to the smallest changes in the apartment or in the behavior of their humans. If, for example, the air is thick between individual family members or partners, the cats often argue too. Often the stress in the cat pack is not lasting. If you provide your cats with enough retreats and give them enough attention, the situation usually calms down on its own. Also aids such as pheromone sprays contribute to the solution of the tense mood. But the most important thing is that you give each cat enough attention so that no jealousy arises.

Jealousy in cats

The new cat in the multi-cat household is usually first seen as a threat by the other cats. After all, they now have to share food, sleeping places and the affection of humans. If you provide enough bowls, litter boxes, baskets and especially climbing and retreat possibilities from the beginning, the cats will quickly learn that they have nothing to fear. As a rule of thumb, there should not be more cats in a household than there are rooms. You should also give each cat the same amount of petting and play time so that no one feels neglected. If there is still jealousy in the cat clan after the reunion, it is usually because one cat feels that it is not getting enough attention. As with all pets: Take time for your darlings!

Playing with several cats

Even if you keep several cats and they play among themselves, your cats want to be kept busy by you. Some cats play together with their humans. However, playing together is often difficult, because cats hunt alone in nature. It becomes especially problematic when one of the cats is rather reserved and leaves the field to the other cat. Or if the more dominant cat chases away the shy one. In this case you should stop the game completely, otherwise you would reward the jealousy of the cat.
Even if playing with several cats works, you should take time for each cat individually. In this way, each animal gets its money’s worth, no jealousy arises and the bond between man and pet is strengthened. For this you can calmly separate the cats from each other for the duration of the game. Leave the other cat a food maze with treats or a catnip pillow, so that it does not get bored.

Food envy in a multi-cat household

Even with a single cat feeding can be difficult. Our fur noses are known to be demanding eaters, who prefer to starve than to eat inferior food. If food envy and a different eating behavior come in addition, it becomes really complicated. After all, we don’t want one cat to go empty-handed while the other gets rounder and rounder. Even if cats are not loners, they prefer to eat alone. Eating under the eyes of conspecifics means stress for most velvet paws. The first step for harmonious meals is therefore to feed the cats spatially separated from each other, so that each kitty has its own bowl and feeding place.

Feeding cats together – this is how it works

Feeding multiple cats becomes problematic when one of the cats needs special diet food or when one cat gorges while the other only eats in bites. A first step to solve this problem is to get the cats used to fixed feeding times. The food should not be available for self-service throughout the day. So the glutton cannot fill his belly without limits and the gourmet cat learns that his food is not available at any time. This forces her to eat larger portions at once. You should cover the squeamish cat’s bowl with cling film when it leaves the bowl and put it in the refrigerator in summer. This way the second cat can’t eat it and the other animal understands that it can only use certain time periods for eating. In case of major disputes over food, you should supervise the feeding and intervene if necessary. If there is no other way, the cats must be fed individually in closed rooms.

Are there also difficulties in your multi-cat households? Write us your problems and questions in the comments!

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