The humans have asked me to write about how to keep cats happy in a multi-cat environment, which is something that I know plenty about because I live with 11 other cats here at Pause Cat Cafe. There are lots of different ways to keep cats happy when we’re living together.
“Hi, I’m Noodle…
keeping cats happy in a multi-cat environment
INTRODUCING YOUR NEW FELINE FRIENDS
If you are introducing a new cat it’s important for you humans to be calm, as we are sensitive to your emotions and if you’re anxious it will make us anxious. You can reduce our anxieties by using a plug-in calming diffuser or spray around the house to help us feel calm. Some are herbal and others mimic cats pheromones; either general happy vibes or smells similar to pheromones released by new mums to ensure us kittens get along, designed to help restore harmony between cats living together. Here in the cafe we play relaxing music and nature sounds too.
When introducing a new cat into the household it’s important not to separate us from the new kitty or cat, because that can make us more anxious. If we meet our new fluffy friend straight away, under the supervision of you humans, we’ll adjust to our new playmate quicker. But if it’s obvious we are both stressed out then separating us for time out to calm down would be a good idea.
When we introduce a new cat to the cat cafe, we start by bringing in a toy or bedding from the new cat and letting the cafe cats sniff it. We take a blanket from the cafe and rub gently on our cafe cats cheeks, as this is where they have most of their scent glands, then we offer it to the new cat to smell and then leave the blanket with the new cat. This way they can kind of ‘meet’ each other before they actually meet.
We introduce the new cat to one of the cafe cats at a time, slowly. We let them sniff each other on either side of the door, and a bit of hissing is normal. Our introduction room has a window, so they can see and smell each other for a while before they physically meet. When they seem more comfortable and less stressed, we progress to the next stage of having both cats in the same room. It’s ideal to introduce the cats on neutral territory, however, this is rarely possible if you already have a cat.
Choose a large room with plenty of hiding places and somewhere for the new cat to escape to if it feels threatened. If you bought your new kitty home in a carrier, you could place the box in a corner or under a table nearby in case he or she wants to retreat. Be patient and wait for the cats to approach in their own time. Get in between them and prevent any physical contact if they are acting aggressively. Don’t rush, and don’t be afraid to go back a stage if either cat seems overly distressed or if they fight.
Encourage your cats to spend time together and let them get close, but always be with them, in the beginning, to make sure you can separate or prevent any scraps. A little bit of hissing at first is natural, and it’s important to note that the cat who hisses is usually the one who is most scared. Bonding time with treats and toys can help.
Keeping us busy and entertained is important, especially if you’re kitties are house cats like we are at the cafe. Regular playtime is important so we can bond with you humans and the other kitties in our home, it’s also great fun and keeps us fit and healthy. It may take time to find toys that are our absolute favourite but it’s still fun trying different things. We also like toys that we can get treats out of, they are the best and sometimes tricky but it keeps our active brains occupied.
Creating the purrfect environment
We don’t like eating food from the same bowl, so it’s always good to have separate bowls in different areas. For example, if your cat only eats dry food then it’s a good idea to have food bowls in different rooms of the house. It’s the same for water, it’s always nice to have my own water bowl. Not all of us cats like drinking from a bowl though, some of us prefer to drink from a water fountain as we prefer running water. It’s important to get this right as we’re less likely to get a UTI infection if we eat and drink well.
If you have a scratch post, make sure it is big enough that all your kitties can fit on! You could get a couple of scratch posts depending on how many kitties you have. Also, most of us cats really love being up high and watching the world go by, so the taller the cat post the better. Make sure cats have more than one entrance and exit to their favourite spots, so that one cat can’t block or trap another.
Um, what else… oh cat litter boxes. This is similar to our eating situation, we generally like our own litter box. For instance, if you have two cats then it’s always good to have at least two litter boxes, to prevent accidents. It’s also trial and error about getting the cat litter that we like, same with the litter box itself. Some of us cats like a bit of privacy so we prefer a cover over our litter box, but some of us don’t care who’s watching and we’ll use a box without a lid.
It can be slow purrogress
If harmony doesn’t happen right away, don’t frrret. Some of us here in the cat cafe didn’t get on for a while, and now we snuggle up together. We have to work out our hierarchy and territories between us before we feel settled and that can take some time. Eventually, groups of cats who live together form a colony like ours in the cafe, but this can take a year or more.
The most important thing is to give us equal attention and not to have favourites because if we don’t get as much attention as the other kitties it will make us feel sad ☹️ all we really want is love, so make sure to shower us with affection and we’ll be feline fine!
…I think that’s it, love noodle!
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