Living with a cat isn't always easy, and life with two cats can be downright frustrating at times. I've always been a one-cat kind of girl until my precious Polly came along. Little did I know that when I took her in from the streets to live with us there would be hell to pay. Rasta, my older cat, wasn't happy about the new addition to the family, and two years later, she still hasn't warmed up to Polly. That's made for some challenging moments along the way. But there are some things that I've learned about living with two cats that are starting to make a difference in our house and may make a difference in yours.
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Before I share my suggestions I need to disclose that I am not a Veterinarian, Cat Behavioralist, Animal Trainer, or anything of the sort. I'm simply a cat lover who's struggling to keep the peace in my two-cat household. If you're reading this, then you know my pain. I love both my kitties and want them both to feel happy and safe. But the behaviors they're exhibiting tell me that neither of them is happy. So, I've had to make some changes in our environment, our activities, and our relationship. Here's what we're doing to resolve our issues and learn to love living with two cats.
I'll be honest. I was skeptical about Feliway when my vet first mentioned it to me. We visited her office after Polly urinated outside the litter box yet again. After ruling out any medical issues, we decided the urinating was behavioral. She was unhappy, likely because of the way Rasta was treating her. The tension and aggression levels were high between the two.
My vet suggested Feliway plugins to help calm the cats down. Feliway products contain synthetic feline pheromones which help to ease anxiety, creating a calmer environment for the cats. Now I keep two Feliway plugins at all times and use the Feliway spray to help with spot treatments when one of the cats lash out at the other. Be sure to order online to save money!
My sister, Rasta, has great lashes. Do you have siblings?!? Do you get along?!? Me and Rasta tolerate each other...barely. . . . #Catsofinstagram #catstagram #kittygram #kittysofinstagram #catsoflosangeles #catsagram #catlovers #catsoftheday #catsofinsta #catsofcalifornia #catladyproblems #petsofinstagram #petsofinsta #feralcatsofinstagram #adoptedpet #petsofig #adoptdontshop #feralkitty #kittycat #cats🐱 #catsofworld #coicommunity
Two Litter Boxes
If one of your cats is marking (urinating outside the box) or spraying, you may need to do some investigation. Litter boxes need to be accessible for both kitties, and sometimes that means having two separate boxes for them to use. We did this for a while to help ease the territorial tension. After a few months without incident, we were able to put the second box away and re-train the cats to share space. Unfortunately, our place isn't big enough to keep two boxes at all times, but we will pull out the second box when needed.
Keep the Litter Box Clean
We like to use clean bathrooms and so do our kitties. So it goes without saying that keeping the litter box clean is an important part of having a cat. But when you have two cats sharing one or more litter boxes, it becomes even more important. Cats are very particular. Leaving waste in the litter box can make cats frustrated and tense, which can motivate them to mark outside the box. Scoop at least daily to help keep the tension down.
One of the things that helped me keep my commitment to scoop daily is the Litter Genie, a waste disposal system. Simply scoop into the Litter Genie once or twice per day to keep waste out of the litter box. The Litter Genie helps keep my litter box clean and eliminates odors while cutting down on daily trips to the garbage bin and wasting trash bags. I love my Litter Genie!!!
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Kitties who feel unsafe look for ways to escape. We've all heard about the cat who climbs a tree to escape a dog. Cats like to climb, jump and hide, so your environment needs to provide them options. Cat trees are a great way to incorporate vertical space in your house, but not everyone wants a piece of cat furniture standing in the corner.
Right now we feed Polly on the bar to make her feel more secure while eating (a time when kitties can feel vulnerable). We encourage them both to use the back of the couch to escape, and we've created hiding spaces under the furniture for either of them to hide when needed. We've just ordered this folding cat tree for our kitties. The modern design attracted our attention, but the easy storage option (for entertaining) sealed the deal.
I'm ready for my closeup! . . . #Catsofinstagram #catstagram #kittygram #kittysofinstagram #catsoflosangeles #catsagram #catlovers #catsoftheday #catsofinsta #catsofcalifornia #catladyproblems #petsofinstagram #petsofinsta #feralcatsofinstagram #adoptedpet #petsofig #adoptdontshop #feralkitty #kittycat #cats🐱 #catsofworld #coicommunity #thumbsup_polydactyls #mycathasthumbs #polydactylcat #polydactylcatsofinstagram #thepolygram
Cats are playful creatures, so incorporating play time is very important. I've not always been consistent when it comes to playtime, which has likely contributed to the high levels of anxiety in my kitties. I'm currently reading Starting from Scratch by Pam Johnson-Bennett to learn more about the proper way to play with my kitties, something the author says is essential when behavioral problems exist. The types of toys you use is also important. Kitties like to hunt, so having toys that mimic the sights and sounds of prey can be very pleasing to cats.
Kitties instinctively like to scratch, and they don't discriminate. Everything is a target, including your favorite piece of furniture. Scratching is your cats way of releasing tension, stretching, and marking territory. Give your kitties something to scratch to avoid furniture damage. Be sure to choose something weighted that won't tip over when your cat scratches. If not, he likely won't use it. Our kitties like to scratch cardboard, so we chose horizontal scratch pads the kitty sits on to stabilize. Add a little catnip and watch the magic happen.
When we invested in new living room furniture, we decided to ensure it didn't get ruined by territorial marking. So, we invested in several Mambe blankets to cover our new furniture. The blankets aren't the most stylish, but they definitely work. Urine stands no chance against the Mambe blanket! Plus, they are machine washable for quick and easy cleaning. These blankets are worth every penny if you ask me!
One of the things I'm eager to try is clicker training. Starting from Scratch has a section dedicated to clicker training to address behavioral issues with one or more cats. The clicker combined with favorite treats can be a powerful behavior modification tool. I'll be sharing my results with my email tribe, so be sure to sign up if you're interested in the results!
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