Although cats are often thought of as solitary creatures, they are actually very social and often enjoy the company of other cats. It’s great to see your cats cuddling up together, grooming each other and playing together, but it can take work to make sure your multi-cat household is harmonious.
Introducing a new cat
The ideal situation for a multi-cat household is to adopt cats from the same litter so that both your cats have always known each other, but sometimes that’s just not possible. If you’ve already got one cat and you want to introduce another one, here’s a few tips to help them settle in:
- You care for both of your cats, but don’t assume they’ll get along with each other – at least not straight away. Just like humans, cats need time to get to know one another before they can become friends.
- If your resident cat has been on their own for some time, they might not know how to behave around other cats. This can make them stressed or anxious so give them lots ofcare and attention to help them adjust.
- Cats use space very differently from humans. Have you ever wondered why your cat favours the top of the wardrobe as their hiding spot? It’s because cats need lots of vertical space where they can climb and hide, but still have a good view of their surroundings. Soon, each cat will have their preferred spots for climbing, sleeping and hiding.
- Introduce your new cat slowly – perhaps restricting them to just one room that’s not favoured by your resident cat in the beginning. This way your cat can slowly come to terms with the fact that there’s someone new in the house while keeping them at a safe distance. After a few days, try a meeting between the two cats, and depending on how well that goes, slowly expand the new cat’s territory.
- Provide plenty of resources in different places. Cats will naturally compete for things like food, water and litter trays so be sure to provide these things in different places around the house so that your cats don’t compete for the same ones.
- Be patient. Your cats may form a close friendship in no time, or they may never be best buddies but merely tolerate each other. Either way, make sure you give each cat lots of attention and care, and they’ll repay it back to you.
How many cats is too many?
If your heart is bigger than your home and you just can’t help adopting cats, it might be worth setting yourself some ground rules before visiting the rescue centre.
While there isn’t a hard and fast rule over how many cats you should have, here are some tips that might work for you:
- Cats to humans ratio: Some people decide not to have more cats or animals than the number of humans in the household. This can work well if you have a growing family or young children as too many pets can become a lot of work.
- Half the rooms: Another rule that works for some families is to have no more cats than half the number of rooms in your home. This is more for the cats’ comfort, giving them the space they need to steer clear of one another if they need to.
- Figure out your finances: Owning a cat can be expensive. Not only are they another mouth to feed but vet bills and treatments add up over the years. It’s a good idea to sit down and work out the full cost before committing.
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