It is popular these days to have Multi-cat households but do cats truly like each other?
So do cats truly like each other? Cats require certain space in their territory, depending on their gender, age and neutering status they may require more space or be more territorial than others. Cats have their ‘core’ territory which is essential space where they carry out what’s required for living i.e. eating and drinking and sleeping. And then they have a wider territory surrounding the core territory in which they spend time and are generally more content to share with another cat if needed. It is worth remembering that Cats mature socially somewhere between 18 months and 4 years of age and some get very sensitive about territory when this happens.
Cats will do whatever necessary to avoid each other rather than engage in conflict. One way to avoid each other is by ‘spraying’ urine up a vertical surface by lifting their tail. This acts as a reassuring gesture for the sprayer and a signal to others to enable a number of cats to utilize the same territory without bumping into each other all the time.Cats can tell a great deal about the sprayer from urine, including how recently that cat was in the area.
Urinating (not ‘spraying’) around the house can be a sign of stress, for example maybe due to having to be too close to other cats. It is important to provide enough safe places for your cats to go to the toilet which are not next to feeding areas or entrances and exits to the house.
Imagine how stressful it would be for you to go to the toilet in the same room as your family eating their dinner or next to the front door where anyone could come in at any moment! The general rule in a multi-cat house is to provide one litter tray per cat plus an extra one. Ensure you use a generous amount of litter in each tray and do not use polythene liners or deodorizing products as they can put your cat off using the tray.
Cats do not like to share Feeding stations; if they are forced to eat in the same place and do not like each other it can cause elevated stress levels and problems such as, house soiling or urine spraying. It is a good idea to provide several places where food is available. Raised surfaces are best as cats feel safest when up high with a view below.
Cats are known to be solitary individuals but actually they do form social groups too. It is important to look for the signs of social groups being formed so you can truly learn the relationships your cats have with one another.
One of the biggest clues which will show you if your cats really do like each other is if they share a sleeping surface and if they groom one another! This is known as Aloe-grooming. If you do not spot the signs of a social group then it is important to follow the rules regarding feeding stations and littler trays above.
If you are experiencing any problems with aggression or house soiling from your cats ask your vet to check to rule out any medical problems and then arrange a referral to a pet behaviour counselor.
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