Got a multi-pet family? I can get to the heart of their personalities and issues. Call 949.282.3506 for an appointment.
Kara from Pet’s Eye View is an Animal Communicator and teacher certified by CWALU, and a 20-year initiate in British Earth Wisdom traditions. Her mission is to help pets and their people form stronger bonds. Reach her at 949.282.3506, [email protected] petseyeview.com, or www.petseyeview.com
Adding another cat to your household just means there’s more love, right? What could go wrong?
Unfortunately, a lot could go wrong, like marking, aggression and peeing outside the litter box.
Recently, I did a session with sister and brother cats named Snow and Theodore. They got along well…until a stray entered their fold. Suddenly, someone was spraying, but who? Was it Gremlin, the new resident with a mysterious past?
Although Gremlin had sprayed once or twice, I discovered that the major culprit was Theodore. Theodore saw himself as a brawny guy not too keen on Gremlin. This caused friction. Gremlin hid and cowered.
The saddest thing about shelter overcrowding is that people mistakenly believe that because they love one animal so much, adding another will be easy. When it turns out to be difficult, someone goes to the pound, and usually dies there! So I urge you to stick to one pet, or truly commit to the integration techniques I will share with you here, and it can all work out.
If you already enjoy several cats but there’s tension, look for job and territory issues. Every pet needs a unique job; something that pet does naturally well. A shy cat shouldn’t be “The Greeter.” Let him gain confidence by being the best cuddle-cat first.
Let’s return to Snow, Theo and Gremlin. At an energetic level, we gave each one a new job—demoting an arrogant Snow from Queen to “Gentle Mother.” Pushy Theo became “Town Crier of Food,” which reduced his brawler instinct. Gremlin was called “The Healer,” and was promised quiet time with the owner. I talked with them energetically and showed them pictures of them seated peacefully together.
On a practical level, we integrated their scents by switching around their litter boxes and giving each private time in the other’s territory, so they would stop dividing it. Here’s what you can do, too, in your multi-cat household:
- Always provide at least one more litter box than cats.
- Create plenty of high ledges and low spaces for your cats to escape to.
- If one cat is being bullied, give the bully a new role, then move the bully cat to another room while you let the less dominant cat spend 20 minutes with you and its own blankets (in the original room) to help mix their scents.
- In a disputed territory, use a baby-gate with plenty of distance on either side. Offer positive rewards by feeding premium wet food to both. This way, each cat relates positively to the other. Over a period of weeks, move the food and the cats closer to each side of the baby-gate until they’re comfortable with each other.
One month later, Snow, Theo and Gremlin are living peacefully and happily together.