Here at Mishy Moo Pets we only have the blessing of one cat in our home, but many of our friends and family are living with two, three and even four cats! But how do they manage the day to day with multiple kitties, how did they introduce the "new cats" into the home and how do they keep the peace?
As I mentioned, we know loads of people with multiple cats in their home and from what we can see they live in blissful, personal grooming harmony. One thing that has been fairly common with each of these households is that they started out with one cat and then "grew" their collection by adding another and another there after. The introduction of a new cat or kitten to your existing one sometimes can be as easy as introducing them and letting them sort it out (albeit very rare!) However most multiple cat homes we know have found the best way to introduce the new feline is with a gentle and simple separation activity. There are a few key things you need to work out which all involve allowing the cats to have their own space or environment within your home.
In order to slowly introduce your existing cat to another, it is advisable to separate your cats for the first week or two and allow them to sniff each other through the crack of a doorway so they can adjust without the immediate threat of seeing the other cat. It is important to remember cats can be highly territorial animals so bringing the cute little fur ball in may not be as fun or friendly to your current moggy as it is for you. If your cats become highly stressed by hissing or arching their backs and puffing their tail, you may need to separate them and start the process again tomorrow. Gradually the interactions will become less aggravated and you should slowly be able to open the door for visual contact and then physical.
This brings us to the next point. Although there are a number of coupled cats that love to curl up and groom each other or sleep together, it is important that each of your cats have a safe place they can call their own. You may like to leave a bedroom door open during the day while you are at work so one of your cats can curl up for it's midday nap on the bed while the other curls up on a blanket on the couch. The ideal situation is to have a few different and most importantly cosy spots for each of your cats so they can choose their own spot to take solace.
This theory also goes for the kitty litter tray. If you only have two cats you may find over time they will start to use the same tray, and that's great for you when it comes to emptying! However in those first few months you should have at least one tray per cat to ensure you don't face any messy episodes based around territory toileting.
Again, we use this principle of separating and providing separate areas for feeding. Give each of your cats their own food bowl and their own water bowl. Feeding time can be very territorial and may bring out some of the raw animal instincts around food guarding so be careful and ensure your cats are comfortable through dinner time. If you find your cats are unable to eat in the same room place one set of bowls in the kitchen and one in the laundry. Try not to separate them too far from each other as eventually you may want to try and bring the bowls closer so they are feeding in the same room.
Lastly, like any multiple pet households, it is important to keep vaccinations, worming and flea treatments up to date. Letting something as simple as a flea treatment go by the wayside could see you in the midst of a mean infestation. Any kennel owner can tell you that once one pet has fleas, it won't be long before the other will too. If you don't like giving your pets chemicals you can try some more alternate remedies such as lavender, rosemary or even apple cider vinegar which have been known to keep the nasties away!
P.S. Don't forget the scratching posts!