For many cat owners, one just isn’t enough, and with multi cats comes multi challenges, or there can be, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Therefore, in this article today we will be discussing multi cat households and some multi cat household tips for you.
A multi cat household should be as pleasant and fun as a single cat household, so let’s look at some problems that may occur with multi cats and how to correct any issues that may arise.
Multi cat household problems
1.Problems with Space – Cats Need Their Own Space:
This is true for the majority of cats, although there are exceptions, but for the most part individual cats need some alone time away from people and other cats. Therefore, even if you don’t have lots of space, you do need to provide some individual seclusion areas for each cat, even if it’s so they can have their afternoon nap. This doesn’t have to be done on a grand scale, just some areas of the house where each cat can be alone if they need to be, like a cat tree with resting shelves, or a box here and there.
I have also received the following photo from one of this blog post’s readers ( Lynne Clay) who has kindly shown us how she utilizes space in a 42-foot travel trailer to accommodate her 3 cats ( see details in her comments below )
2. Problems with Cat Litter Boxes – Cat Litter Is Important:
It’s surprising how many multi cat households don’t have the correct amount of cat litter boxes, and believe it or not, each cat should have his or her own cat litter box or tray. The reason for this is; for many multi cat households, there is usually more dominant cats, or ones that are higher ranked in the social order, and one or two lesser ranked cats. Moreover, a lower ranked cat will often not use a cat litter box that is used by the more dominant cat, and instead prefer to use the carpet.
With that being said, keeping all cat litter boxes clean is extremely important, and not just because of the smell if left for a few days. Dirty cat litter boxes will often lead to cats not using them at all, and turning to the carpet. The rule of thumb for cat litter boxes is to clean them, or scoop them twice a day, maybe once in the morning and last thing at night. In addition, you should not put cat litter boxes in high traffic areas as cats are fairly private when it comes to using the bathroom, and this could lead to them avoiding them altogether.
3. Problems with Food and Water Containers – More Food And Water Bowls Needed:
Food and water bowls are just as important as cat litter trays, and with multi cats feeding time can be a problem if you aren’t careful. Food is survival and many cats like to protect and guard their own food until it’s eaten, so it’s a good idea to have a food and water bowl for each cat that you own. Cats aren’t generally protective of water bowls as much as food bowls, so you may be able to get away with one or two water bowls. Always be mindful of changes in behavior around food and water bowls, especially if you are introducing a new comer to the family.
Multi Cat Household Tips:
1. Placement of litter boxes
Litter boxes should be placed in out of the way areas, because cats can feel stressed if using a litter box where everyone can see them. For indoors, it’s better to have an open litter box than a closed one, as this can make some cats feel trapped and insecure and they will use the carpet when they feel this way. Moreover, it’s better to use a cat litter that clumps together for easy removal of waste, and this is better for them and easier for you.
2. Placement of food and water bowls
Place water bowls away from feeding areas to avoid any problems, and the best water bowls are usually made of ceramic or metal. Plastic food and water bowls are not recommended as plastic can have toxic substances and can also hold unhealthy bacteria more than ceramic or metal ones. Don’t forget to make sure each cat has at least one hiding spot in the home to have some alone time, or just somewhere to go to take a nap.
3. Play toys and equipment
Cats love activity and playing and hunting is part of their natural activity, so be sure there are plenty of toys around for all cats to keep their minds active and healthy. When playing with your cats, always be sure to give equal attention to all that are in your multi cat household, and the best time for play activity is shortly before your own bedtime. If there is a cat that is more dominant, you should provide a couple of perches higher up for the timid ones to take refuge if things get too much.
4. Introducing A New Cat Into Your Multi Cat Household:
When introducing a new cat to the multi cat household, take it slowly and maybe start with a playtime to get the newcomer to interact with his new family. It doesn’t take too long for other cats to accept or reject a new playmate so pay close attention to any changes during the first week or so. Moreover, it is important that your existing cats do not feel like they are being replaced, so playtime with all the cats is generally a good way to introduce a newcomer.
5. Offensive Cats In A Multi Cat Household:
Occasionally there may be rivalry among multi cats and generally they all work out there social order in where they stand. If there is a really offensive cat then you may have to take some measures to ensure things don’t get too out of hand. Keeping their nails trimmed short will avoid them doing too much damage in the event of a fight. Separate living areas may be required if there is a particular cat that wants to constantly have conflict with other cats.
6. Spaying or neutering cats:
This can calm an aggressive cat and avoid confrontations, or you may need the help of a animal behaviorist that specializes in cats. Alternatively, there are some medications that a vet can prescribe that may be able to help with an overly aggressive cat. Spending some time with each cat is essential, and petting or rewarding them with treats for good behavior can also help have a positive effect on their overall group.
This article is designed to give you some pointers and things to try out if you’re having a less than desirable multi cat household, or if you’re just thinking of getting multi cats. The most important thing in a multi cat household is that everyone gets along and has fun, and this guide was designed for that purpose. It may just be one thing out of place that makes all the difference, so that you can easily enjoy your multi cat household.
Your Feedback Matters to me!!! I can’t answer if you don’t ask!! Any Questions?? Use the comments section below and I will respond.
24 thoughts on “Important Things You Need To Know In Multi-cat Households”
You often see households with many dogs but not much so with cats and you can understand why. I think you article has explained how to get a harmonised home with multiple cats, as this is not easy to do. I understand this well as one of my neighbours has multiple cats and she always says it is difficult to look after them as individuals and as a group in general. I think you have provided enough useful information so that cat owners can get the best from their cats. I often wondered what to do if cats do not get on well with each other?
Thank you Antonio for those comments which are greatly appreciated. Jim
It’s surprising that some owners are not aware of these things and I really feel bad that these things are really important and can be helpful to you and the pet but are often overlooked. I really am looking forward to getting a cat but I also want a safe place for her and not expose her to harm and that’s is why I am looking for such articles on the internet today. Thank you for sharing
Thank you Bella. I much appreciate your thoughts on this matter. I hope you find lots of joy and comfort when you get your cat. Jim
It’s good that you shared this article, it’s very normal for pet owners to face challenges when having a multiple pets at home, most especially cats , they are very dominating and they love to keep their space. You’ve listed and explained all the problems, they’ll help cat owners know how to fix them.
Thank you Manny for your feedback. Jim
Everyone needs at least two cats, in my opinion, because a cat can be lonely all by itself with humans. I have had more than one cat for several years now and I agree with all your suggestions regarding litter boxes and food and water bowls.
As far as aggressive/dominant cats are concerned, it is important to understand that the animals need to establish hierarchy, and that their ranking will change over time, especially if new cats are introduced. We used to foster older cats, and they make themselves understood when they start to feel better. Establishing their ranks can take a week or so, but after that, they normally get along. I would usually pet the “underdogs” a little more to reassure them, and then feed them by themselves. I would also talk sternly to the “overlords” (that probably sounds funny, but it works). Older cats actually make great pets.
Thank you for your insight,
Thanks Marsha for your comments particularly those concerning hierarchy with which I totally agree. Jim
Hello there, Thanks for sharing this awesome article. I know it would be of tremendous help to the public as it has been of help to me. Having lots of cats around is not really easy for the owner as you get to see a lot of drama from them with so much more activities. i think this article will be very helpful as everything you need to know is in here.
Thank you for those kind comments and so pleased that you found the article helpful. Jim
Hello there. This is an amazing review you have got here. i am sure that the quality information in this post will be of great help to anyone who comes across it. I am not really a cat owner but i sure do have a lot of friends that are pet owners and i am sure going to share this with them. Thanks for the info
Many thanks Joy for your feedback. Very pleased to hear that you will be sharing the article with your pet owner friends. Jim
This is a nice general article on cat care. You’ve covered the most important points. I’d add a couple of things. First of all, I’ve read in more than one place that it’s a good idea to have one litter box per cat and one extra. Anything that saves your floor or rugs is a good thing.
I found these wonderful water dishes for my cat. They are round and deeper in the center than on the sides. They are wide enough that the cat can use them without his whiskers getting in the way. It’s always good to have food or water dishes that are wide and shallow, so the cat can use them without his whiskers being bent. Cats will appreciate this type of bowl.
Believe me, it is essential to keep those litter boxes clean. For one thing, with numerous cats you will have an odor problem if you aren’t right on top of the litter cleaning job. For another, you don’t want kitty peeing on your floor.
It’s true that cats like privacy when they take care of litter box business. I’ve startled my cat in the bathroom a time or two with semi-disastrous results. Be sure to let them have some privacy at such times.
Many thanks indeed Fran for sharing your personal experiences. I particularly like the point you made about the water bowls you use. Jim
This is all so true! I wish I’d known all this 15 years ago when I brought home Cat #2. Wooooow, I set myself up for some failure on that one; the cats got along just fine, but the litter box became an issue. I’d never heard that there should be, at least, one litter box per cat, if not more. I just figured, “Hey, my family shares one bathroom; surely, the cats are fine, too, as long as I clean it out regularly.” Wrong! We started having cat accidents, and, after running them to the vet to make sure they were both healthy, we figured they were being grumpy… (Again, WRONG!) When we finally learned about having that second litter box, things changed for us. Both cats were content, and it made our home a place of peace, instead of pees. 😉 I hope that your article reaches homes like my 15-years-ago home, to help save them some serious headaches.
Oh, and cat trees are a lifesaver, even in a single cat home! Cats definitely need to have their own space, so, I agree, the investment is well-worth it! 🙂
Thank you for helping multicat homes bring peace into their space! 🙂
What great comments and many thanks Melissa for sharing your experiences here. Jim
Hi, introducing a cat to new environment can be frustrating, especially when they are scared .I have found that rubbing butter on their paws will help them settle in faster. A couple of days in a room with plenty of space for them to explore their new environment., depending on the nature of the animal, also helps.
I myself love dealing with wild cats, challenging but also rewarding, especially after all the scratching and clawing they do to one when trying to catch the little mites.They take a bit longer but eventually come around to my way of life.
Thanks for those insights Jo. If by ‘wild’ cats you mean ‘stray’ ones yes this is certainly challenging! I have dealt with this subject in a separate article at the following link:-
Interesting, good and helpful treatment of the subject. I’d like to see more solutions to the problem of “offensive” cats (wonderful term, by the way!), if only because we had one such example and the offensive feline in question was highly resistant to all remedial actions we attempted. If you can, it might be an idea to interview a vet or animal behaviourist and publish that – it would certainly be of interest to cat lovers.
Hi Tom. Thank you for those comments. If by ‘offensive’ you mean ‘aggressive’ I have covered this topic in a separate article at the following link:-
Thanks for writing this wonderful article on Important Things You Need To Know In Multi-cat Households. I agree with everything you said in this article. You really know a lot about cats.
I own three older cats and live in a 42-foot travel trailer. We have had to make a few adjustments to our trailer to accommodate our three cats. Here’s what we did.
We took out an extra couch so we could build them an area of their own. It has two large covered litter box areas at the bottom with access doors in the front for easy cleaning, and two large openings for the cats to enter the boxes that let in lots of light. There is a medium shelf in between these two boxes to either lay on or under. On top of each box is a twine covered pole that holds up a cat bed and another shelf on the back wall for laying in the sun, or underneath in the shade. Everything is covered in carpet for their comfort.
They all really love this space.
Let me know if you would like to have a picture of our homemade cat area to go along with this comment. I can send one along if you want one.
I wanted to add something to your article about food and water bowls. Not only do plastic bowls have toxic substances and hold bacteria but many cats are allergic to them. One of my cats had all kinds of eye infections and it was later found out that she was allergic to the plastic bowl I was feeding her from. Once I took away this bowl and give her a metal one instead her eye infection cleared up right away.
Thanks again for this article. I’ll be coming back to read more.
Thank you very much indeed Lynne for taking the time to give such interesting and detailed comments on your experiences in this subject matter. I certainly commend you for the way you have adapted your trailer to accommodate 3 cats! Yes please do send me a photo of your home made cat area. I am sure the readers of my blog would love to see it. Jim
Note: Lynne has since kindly sent me the photo which is shown under this article’s section of ‘.Problems with Space – Cats Need Their Own Space:’
Both interesting and informative!
I’m not a cat person myself but I have a friend who is.
I will have to pass this article on to her!
I had no idea that multiple cats in a household have ranking but it makes perfect sense. Pets can be bullied by each other just like people however, it can possibly be avoided if they have access to their own supplies.
Thank you Ashley for those comments. Jim