5 Tips to Reduce Stress in Multi-Cat Households
- by Erika Buenaflor
Every cat lover dreams of having a home filled with friendly and playful cats. But managing a multi-cat household can be both challenging and stressful at the same time. In today’s article, we explore five ways of reducing the stress associated with multiple cats sharing their living space – whether you’re looking to adopt a new cat or you’re already living with two and trying to make peace between them, the information will surely help!
How to Manage Having Multiple Cats at Home
Gradually Introduce a New Cat Into the Environment
When introducing a new cat to your household, it's essential to do it step by step. Depending on your cats' personalities, this process can take several weeks or even months.
Start by keeping the new cat in a separate room and gradually allow them to explore other areas of your home. This will give your cats time to adjust to each other's presence and avoid territorial disputes.
Also, remember that quarantining the cat is a good idea to ensure that she is disease and parasite-free. You’ve probably already taken them to the vet, but if their vaccination plan isn’t finished, it’s safer to keep your two pets separated for now. Just make sure that there are play and entertainment opportunities in both cats’ living quarters.
Cats are very sensitive creatures, and they can easily become stressed. To minimise stress in multi-cat households, try to maintain a calm and stable environment.
Avoid sudden changes to your cats' routines, such as feeding, litter box location, or furniture placement. Additionally, provide your cats with plenty of hiding spaces, such as cat trees, boxes, or tunnels, where they can retreat when they feel overwhelmed.
If everything fails and your cats still seem to be at each other’s throats, you might want to ask your vet for a few suggestions in terms of cat-calming products. Most pets react well when you give them catnip, which comes in multiple forms, such as sprays or the actual weed itself. There are also pheromone diffusers that can help a cat wind down.
Avoid Playing Favourites With Any of Your Cats
Preferring to spend more time or play with one cat over another or others can cause tension and jealousy inside the cat community. Ensure you give all your cats equal attention, love, and care.
This includes spending individual time with each cat, giving them equal access to resources, and avoiding showing any favouritism. Needless to say, they should all receive equal amounts of food and snacks, including Reel Fish Crunchers, which they’re likely to fall in love with.
Do consider that it is much easier for cats to accept new partners in play and friendships if they are younger than the age of 2. Once they’re past this limit, they have marked their territory and actually prefer their living space to be shared only by themselves and you, if that’s how it’s always been. So, if you’re considering getting two cats, do it when they’re both young.
Make Sure You Have Enough Resources for Everyone
Resources are essential in multi-cat households, whether they mean litter boxes, scratching posts, toys, or feeding and watering areas. You should have a minimum of one litter tray per cat plus an extra one.
We recommend using our Wee Kitty Bio Elasticised Litter Tray Liners to make clean-up a breeze. These liners are eco-friendly, being made with 25% cornstarch to reduce the use of plastic, and given how easy they are to use, you’ll find that replacing your cats’ litter from the different litter boxes will be simple and fuss-free.
While we’re on the topic of litter, it might be a good idea to switch to a biodegradable alternative, such as the Wee Kitty Bamboo Odour Control Litter, made with bamboo fibres and charcoal infused pellets, or the Zero Odour Natural Litter, also produced with all-natural ingredients, making the perfect choice if you want your multi-cat household less cat-smelling.
Add at least one scratching post per room for every one of your pets. Having plenty of accessories and toys ensures that you keep your cat entertained and happy while also stress-free, even when you are away from home.
Create Feline Hideouts or Build an Indoor or Outdoor Enclosure
Having cat trees or multiple boxes throughout your home to create elevated hiding spots will give your cats more room to play, relax, and explore the world around them without creating opportunities for conflict with one another.
An indoor or outdoor catio can make it possible for your pets to remain safe yet get a taste of the outside environment. Even cat window perches can let a cat take a nice look at the birds outside without you worrying about them getting into trouble.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your house or apartment, maximise it by increasing your vertical space by installing multiple shelves. You can even make an exciting DIY project out of it by using reclaimed wood and attaching all sorts of toys and accessories to the shelves, whether balls on a string or even feathers you might have found at the park.
Managing a multi-cat household can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can reduce stress and ensure that all your cats live harmoniously together.By gradually introducing a new cat, minimising stress, avoiding playing favourites, providing enough resources, and creating feline hideouts or building an indoor or outdoor enclosure, you can create a happy and healthy environment for all your cats. Happy cats have better chances of being healthy cats!