Hey there, friends! Cats have always been an integral part of living on a farm. In the old days they were used to keep the rodent population under control as well as being loving companions to humans, which they still are to this day. Whenever I’m scanning for farmhouse-style inspiration on Pinterest, more often than not there is a feline or two in the photos, either lounging on a chair or poised regally in a windowsill.
Of course, cats aren’t limited to living on a farm. Their small size and ability to live happily indoors makes them well suited for suburban and apartment living as well. It’s no surprise they are one of the most popular pets in the United States today.
The thing about cats is that they are a lot like potato chips – you really can’t have just one! Both my hubby and I have a soft spot for kitties, and that has led to us keeping every stray that has shown up on our doorstep over the years. We presently share our home with ten cats. Yes, you read that right – ten (10) cats. Living with this many cats has taught us a few things about keeping the peace in a multi-cat household, which I’d like to share with you today!
1. Make sure everyone has easy access to resources.
The main goal for keeping the peace in a multi-cat household is to eliminate anything that may stress the cats. If cats feel like they have to compete with each other for access to food, water, and litter boxes, it can cause them stress which can lead to accidents outside of the litter boxes, health issues, and just unhappiness in general.
We have learned that keeping several bowls of food and water as well as several litter boxes in different areas of our house leads to less competition between our cats. We also separate the food and water bowls from each other to further eliminate the chance of kitty skirmishes. We also “free feed” our cats, which means we leave bowls of dry cat food out at all times so our cats have access to food whenever they get hungry. Doing this reduces stress because our cats know there is always food available to them. If this is not possible for your cat household for whatever reason, make sure to feed your cats at the same times each day and they each have their own food bowl to eat from.
2. Keep food and water bowls clean.
This is a no-brainer, but it is so important it bears to be included here. Cats are naturally very clean animals, and they like their surroundings clean as well, especially where they eat and drink. We use glass bowls for our cats’ food and water and switch them out with clean ones every few days. We like the glass bowls because they are easily washed in our dishwasher, which makes it much easier to keep up on keeping them clean for our kitties. Also, they are not porous so there are no crevices for food to get stuck in and get moldy or rancid.
3. Use a natural clumping cat litter and scoop litter boxes daily.
Cats are very particular about their litter boxes. If litter boxes become too dirty, the cats will start going outside of the litter box. This is especially true in a multi-cat household, where cats are not fond of litter boxes used by their cat-housemates if they are not scooped at least once a day and cleaned on a regular basis. It is also important to use a natural clumping cat litter.
This is where Feline Pine™ Clumping Cat Litter comes in! I switched to Feline Pine™ Clumping Cat Litter last year, and there was no looking back! Feline Pine™ Natural Pine Cat Litter delivers natural odor control with no added fragrances. It uses the odor-fighting powers of natural pine instead of harsh chemicals, additives or synthetic perfumes to eliminate the toughest odors. Feline Pine™ Clumping Cat Litter contains natural pine and clumping agent, plus mineral oil for dust control. A couple of my cats were actually sensitive to the added fragrance of the clay-based cat litter I used to use and refused to use it. Once I switched to Feline Pine™ Clumping Cat Litter, they took to it immediately and they never had a problem with using the litter boxes again!
All my cats love Feline Pine™ Clumping Cat Litter because the sawdust shavings are soft to the touch and are gentle on all our kitties’ paws. It also neutralizes strong odors on contact and binds directly to ammonia odors and locks them away. This makes the litter boxes much more appealing to all the cats in the household.
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4. Apply flea control regularly.
Fleas are relentless and will bite on cats day and night, forcing them to scratch and chew on themselves almost nonstop and disrupting their sleep. This will obviously make cats miserable and cause them a lot of stress. And if a cat happens to eat a flea while chewing on itself, it can cause the cat to get tapeworms, which further adds to the poor kitty’s stress and misery. Applying a good flea control as well as keeping your cat’s bedding clean will go a long way in keeping your cats healthy, happy, and stress free. I prefer the flea drop brands that you can get via prescription from a veterinarian.
5. Provide several places for your cats to sleep.
This one is not so obvious to cat owners, but it is very important to kitties! Cats require a lot of sleep (an average of 12-16 hours a day) so they will want a place where they can sleep without having to worry about being disturbed by other cats in the household.
We provide our cats with several towel-lined baskets and boxes as well as their own blankets on the beds and couches. This ensures there is plenty of bed space for everyone and makes it easy to keep their bedding clean and our furniture and beds relatively cat hair-free.
6. Use cat pheromones and catnip.
A cat’s nose is very sensitive to odors. If they find an odor offensive or territorial, such as another cat’s markings, they may decide to mark their territory as well! In order to keep your cats relaxed, you can purchase synthetic cat pheromones in either in spray form or plug-in diffusers. These pheromones imitate cat’s own “happy pheromones” which when smelled, makes your kitties feel like all is right with the world. If you don’t like using synthetic materials, catnip is a good and cost-effective alternative. Dried catnip can be easily obtained almost anywhere where cat toys are sold. Catnip is from the mint family and can be easily grown as well, though you’ll want to grow it in a container because it can be very invasive in your garden (we found that out the hard way). You can offer it to cats either fresh, dried, or in cat toys made to hold it.
7. Give your cats ample toys and room to play.
Although cats sleep a lot, when they are not sleeping they like to play and have fun! Even though they do not need to be walked like dogs do, they still need to get exercise and burn off steam. If they do not have room to play or anything to play with, it can cause them to become stressed and even depressed. We give our cats a ton of toys to play with, and we always buy several of each type of toy to ensure there is no fighting over a particular toy that might cause stress. We also have cat trees with scratching posts so they can engage in play and scratch on the posts (and not our furniture)!
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I hope you found these tips to be helpful for keeping the peace in your multi-cat household!