For a lot of us, we have more than one cat. This is because you get your first cat, fall in love and want another companion. Some of us even got another cat to keep the other one company when we are not around. What most people do not realize is that cats are very territorial and will not typically be too keen on having another cat invade their space.
In a home that is made up of multiple cats, each cat will have their domain. The more cats you have, the smaller the space each cat claims will be. If you relate this to the way humans act, you will know that this never works out too well.
Introducing a New Cat Into an Already Existing Multi-Cat Home
One of the most challenging situations is introducing a cat into a multi-cat home that already exists. Not only does this cat have to know its boundaries; it has two cats it will be introduced to.
Before you take the step of introduction, or even bringing your new cat into the space, you will need to first distinguish what areas your cats call their own. In other words, if you have a cat that occupies your room for most of the day, you will know that your room is their domain. If the other one lays in the window in the living room, you will know the living room is their area.
You will also need to evaluate the area. How do your current cats live? Do they share a food and water bowl, or do they each have their separate dishes?
When it comes to the litter box, it is advised that each cat has their own box. This is said for many reasons. First, one litter box is not big enough for two cats. Second, cats like their litter boxes clean. If they are not clean, they tend to relive themselves in other areas of the home.
Another big reason that each cat needs their own litter box is the fact that, as stated before, they are extremely territorial. If you have one litter box for three cats, you are just asking for trouble. You are basically asking them to vie for the box.
Your First In Home Step
Your first step when you have more than one cat and introducing a new one is to make sure you bring the cat into a room where the other cats have not already claimed. This is very important as the cat will more than likely take well to the place they first are acquainted with. In other words, you do not want them being comfortable with a place that is already taken. If so, you will have two cats that do not get along.
After you have determined a spot, you will need to bring the cat in the home. Make sure your other cats are not around at first. Allow your new cat to get acclimated to the new environment. After a couple of days, you will be able to make your first introduction.
When the Cats Finally Meet Up
When your new cat looks as though it is comfortable in the surroundings, slowly introduce them to one cat at a time. Make sure that only one is there for introduction so you do not overwhelm the newcomer.
Think of this as training. You are training your cats, both of them, to meet and accept one another. In this case, you should praise your cats for any positive behavior they show. This type of behavior consists as being friendly, getting close to one another or any curiosity that shows.
You need to make sure you are patient with this process because it is extremely important. You must not ever force the cats to associate with one another. This will come in time. Just as anytime you force something, it never comes out right. If you force interaction, you will scare both cats and possibly ruin any chance of them interacting in the future.
Instead, let them ease back off each other and go back to their comfort zones. Keep allowing them to meet up in a controlled environment for as long as it takes for them to get acquainted.
They Just Might Not Get Along
When you decide to create a multi-cat household, you have to understand that some cats just simply will not get along. This is because of personalities. Just like some people have a clash in personality, so do cats. Although they might have a personality conflict, they can still reside in the same area and be civil. If this is the case; just be happy they can coexist and not create an all out war.
Never force two cats to interact with each other no matter how long they have known each other. By doing so, you will be creating more problems than necessary.
Common Problems That Might Occur When You Have More Than One Cat
- One or more of your cats will urinate or defecate on items other than in the litter box. If a cat urinates on things, they are generally marking their territory.
- They might feel stressed out being that another cat is being brought into the home.
- You may notice that one or more of the cats are becoming aggressive. They will either become directly aggressive to the newcomer, or, they will be more aggressive to the owner or other cats in the house.
- One or more cats might get territorial another way such as “taking over” everything. These types of items would be the food and water dishes, as well as the litter box.
In all, cats react in many different ways when they feel threatened. It is unlikely that you will bring in a new cat and it will go off without a hitch. Some introductions might only have a few road blocks while others will have many. The best piece of advice would be to always supervise and monitor your cats; especially at the beginning.