Taking into account the needs and preferences of each cat living in a multicat household will improve their individual wellbeing and promote feline harmony in the home.
Litter boxes and location
When it comes to litter boxes, the general rule is one box per cat in the household plus an extra one. This gives cats options, as some cats prefer more privacy than others and may have a preference for a particular location. Lining up all the litter boxes in a row is often perceived as one giant box and this can cause one or more of the felines in the household to do their business outside the box.
Cats also like to be able to see who else is coming or going from the box. Therefore, open boxes are best. Stay away from placing boxes in enclosed cupboards or under staircase recesses—this will prevent a very territorial cat from trying to trap a feline housemate in this space or attempting to ambush her as she exits.
It’s OK to scratch
Scratching is an innate feline characteristic. Cats scratch to relieve stress, sharpen their claws, stretch, and exercise. Some like to scratch vertically; others, horizontally. In a multicat household, it’s a good idea to offer a variety of scratchers that serve both needs. Further, because it is standard feline modus operandi to stretch and scratch after a long snooze, consider placing scratchers close to your cats’ favorite sleeping areas throughout the home. The more, the better—there is no shortage of fabulous designs and shapes.
It is also important to introduce different textures for scratching. There are many options, from real tree bark to hardwearing sisal and sea grass. Cats also love recycled corrugated cardboard. When it comes to vertical scratchers, taller is better as it allows a good stretch.
Similarly, cats like to snooze in different locations throughout the home and often rotate to keep things interesting for themselves.
If you live in a relatively small home, a tall cat tree is a great option. It has a small footprint, but offers multiple cats a selection of places to sleep, scratch, and play. Cats also love vertical spaces that allow them to look down on the household.
Feeding cats in a multicat household can be quite a challenge, especially if one greedy feline likes to eat out of all the bowls. Investing in microchip-operated food bowls that can be set to only feed a designated cat will solve the problem by locking other cats (and dogs) out.
When it comes to water bowls, cats that like to drink running water will appreciate a pet fountain. Be sure to consider different bowls placed around the home. For the cat that always likes to drink out of your glass, try a tall glass flute. Over-sized martini glasses often used as vases make a great drinking bowls and are decorative, too.
Sandy Robins is an award-winning multimedia pet lifestyle writer and author. She’s mom to two cats named Ziggy and Tory and auntie to every dog in the neighborhood.
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