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Are Your Cats Conflicting?
There are many signs or symptoms that cats are not getting along peacefully, and most of them are subtle. One cat looks across the room at another cat (who may turn his head or quietly walk away), and this was cat-intimidation to the max! If one or more of your cats is not always using the litter box, this can be due to a medical problem but it can also be due to another cat's intimidation or interference. One cat just sitting quietly in the hallway next to the room where the litter box is placed is enough to keep other cats' away!
Some cats will begin nervous or obsessive grooming, and create bald patches here and there. Others will vomit very regularly (daily ot weekly) due to cat conflicts. Still other cats will mark 'their' territory with urine, chin rubs, or even stool (especially anything new like your new sofa, or your new briefcase). Cats can also become vocal (yowling at odd times, especially at nighttime) and/or destructive as a result of inter-cat conflicts. And more!
What can be done to help cats get along? First, make sure you have enough resources for your cats (food dishes, water bowls, perches, and litter boxes), and that they are in appropriate places and of various types. Not sure what we mean by this? Read our handouts on Litter Box Tips and on Resources for Cats. Feed your cats in different places (so they cannot see each other while eating). Make sure you have plenty of large, open, light colored and easy-to-get-to litter boxes (one per cat or one per floor of your home, whichever is more). Position litter boxes so they are in light, quiet areas and are not close to one another.
Limit changes in your home, or when changes are coming, make preparations ahead of time so your cats are calmer and less stressed. What type of changes are we talking about? Home renovations, re-painting, new furniture, moving furniture around, new (permanent or temporary) house guests (especially if they are four-legged or children), new work schedules for you, family member moving out, major illness or injury to a family member, having a child, etc. You get the idea - anything and everything that makes changes in your household can and often will upset your cats.
How can you make preparations ahead of time for these changes? If you plan to renovate your kitchen or just paint the room, get a Feliway diffuser and plug it in near your kitchen a few days before you start doing anything (this includes packing up anything). If the cats usually eat in the kitchen (or have to go through the kitchen to get to their eating spot), move their dishes and establish a new eating spot in another room. If there is a litter box in a location where they have to go near or through the kitchen to get to the box, add a new litter box in a totally new spot (as far from the kitchen as possible), and remove the litter from the old box over 2 weeks time, eventually ending up with an dry, empty litter box which you can then remove. Get the idea?
If you are packing up household furnishings or adding new ones, get a Feliway diffuser and plug it in a few days before you start. Leave a few open (and empty) cardboard boxes for your cat's to play in and explore. If you can, leave the boxes out for several weeks! You may want to invest in a bottle of Feliway spray that you can spritz the boxes with once a day, too.
What else can you do? Feliway products (kitty pheromones) can help when introducing new cats or getting current furry family members to settle and learn to tolerate each other. Feliway does not affect dogs, has no drugs, and is totally safe for you and your cats.
Ask us for details, suggestions, and recommendations for how to best handle your specific situation at home, whether it is changing or static. We can help!