#BestForPets Magazine Edition #3 (Spring 2022)

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Food resources Cats within an established social circle may be willing to share some resources, but many cats will simply adapt to accept the resources they are offered. This doesn’t, however, mean they aren’t stressed by a lack of resources or the location of them, and they could be just trying to avoid hostility with their feline housemates. Ideally, you should aim to: • provide each cat with their own food bowl (this may mean completely separate rooms to prevent cats stealing one another’s food) • position food bowls in a corner, or an area where the cat is able to watch their surroundings as they eat • provide routine with feeding times (cats are creatures of habit!)

Water resources Our feline companions are generally not devoted consumers of water, but it’s important to encourage water intake and ensure that there is no physical barrier to stop them accessing it. For example, an aggressive cat may subtly block a more docile cat from accessing water if there are minimal options for hydration. Some ideas for ensuring water access in multi-cat households are: • enough water bowls for each cat within the household • place water bowls, or water fountains, in low-traffic areas • position water bowls in an area that a cat can watch their surroundings, such as high up on a shelf or in a corner • keep water bowls separate from food bowls,

Feline friends or foes? Keeping the Peace in Multi-Cat Households Bronte Stephenson gives us the low-down on the best approach to keeping things calm…

as cats may easily feel that the water is ‘contaminated’ if they have been eating next to it

Social groups Multiple cats within the same house can form sub-groups or social circles. For example, in a household of three cats, you may have one cat that desires not to interact with the other two, but the other two will play and groom one another. Identifying sub-groups helps to determine who may be willing to share territory and/or resources. A simple way to do this is to record the actions each cat carries out towards the other cats. Does Cat A sleep in close proximity to Cat B? Does Cat C hiss and swipe at Cat A whenever they are near one another? Determining a majority of positive interactions suggest a social circle, whereas mostly aggressive or disregarding actions indicate that there is no ‘friendship’ between two cats.

Cats are naturally solitary predators and, though they sometimes will form small colonies in the wild, many choose to live a more self- contained life. Domesticated cats will often choose to positively interact with other members of their species within the same household, and may carry out activities such as reciprocated grooming or sleeping next to one another. However, many prefer to ‘tolerate’ rather than intermingle with other cats within the household. Which often leads to stress and tension if there aren’t enough resources, or if a cat feels they don’t have enough of their own territory. Here are some tips for maintaining a stress-free environment within a multi-cat household.

Sprays and diffusers Many calming sprays and diffusers are available to purchase to aid in reducing stress and tension in multi-cat households. Some examples of the options available are: •  Feliway Friends plug-in diffuser (contains a synthetic version of Cat Appeasing Pheromone, which mothers would naturally produce when nursing their kittens to help them feel safe and secure) •  Pet Remedy spray (contains a calming essential oil blend)

You should always follow the instructions

provided for each specific product.



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