Multiple-cat households: How to help veterinary clients create harmony (Sponsored by Ceva Animal Health)
Although social, domestic cats don’t always get along well in multiple-cat homes. Here are some tips to share with your veterinary clients who own more than one cat, courtesy of Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion: Canine and Feline Behavior by Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. Jacqui Neilson.
Resources such as litter boxes, feeding and water stations, scratching posts and pads, and resting perches at different vertical heights should be plentiful in multi-cat households. Cats should be allowed to avoid each other when possible, and owners should avoid creating spaces where a cat can trap another cat easily.
Older cats may need time alone from playful young kittens or cats. Active cats’ energy can be channeled in daily owner-initiated play sessions. All cats may require alone time to provide restful periods, while a synthetic pheromone may also help to reduce tension by creating affiliation or familiarity between cats.
Litter box tips
It's important to remind cat owners of proper litter box usage:
- Provide one litter box for each cat in the household, plus one extra
- Arrange boxes in different locations around the house and on different floors
- Avoid placing boxes in high-traffic areas or extremely remote locations
- Scoop the boxes at least once daily, completely change and wash them every 7-10 days, and replace them annually
- Offer at least an inch in depth of litter for the cat to dig and cover adequately
Free booth at a pet fair near you
The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and Ceva Animal Health, makers of Feliway and Adaptil, have partnered together for the Keep the L.O.V.E. Alive Behavior Express 2012 Tour. The six-city event in Chicago, Ill., New York City, Kansas City, Mo., Dallas, Atlanta, Ga., and Los Angeles, aims to reinforce the role of veterinarians in addressing pet behavior issues. Free educational booths are available to local veterinarians who register. For more information, go to www.KeepTheLoveAliveTour.com.