What does a cat need in their territory? A litter box, of course, bowls full of yummy food, as well as a few scratchers, a comfy cat bed, and a good spot to watch the world out the window. But what happens when another cat joins the family? How are two cats sharing one roof supposed to share their most important resources in a way that makes them both happy? It’s a good topic for a Tuesday talk so grab your coffee, fabCat, and let’s check it out 🙂
Do cats like sharing resources?
Let’s start with a serious question that can explain a lot about the idea of furnishing a house for a cat. Do cats like sharing resources? Although they’ve been deemed as loners for many years, today science is proving more and more often that domestic cats are, in fact, social creatures, and by living with people, they’ve learned to function in groups. And it shows! Even though introducing a new cat to the group requires taking small steps and socializing with isolation, cats are able to not only get along but really bond with each other. But how does sharing resources play into this?
Some cats are very hesitant about the idea of sharing. A strong need to protect their territory can often be seen in cats who have been through a lot, who had to fight for the resources at some point in their lives, as well as cats who are not neutered and whose behavior is strongly influenced by their raging hormones. The attempt of bringing a new cat to a home with a “problematic” cat and properly preparing the house for more than one cat will be more troublesome here. If your cats are not showing typical behavioral issues, get along great on a day-to-day basis and you’re simply wondering if you should buy one, two, or maybe three scratchers, we’ve got the answers you’re looking for.
A cat defending their favorite scratcher
Arguments about access to basic resources are quite common in all cat groups – every feline has their own favorite scratcher, cat bed, or hooman and would love to be able to use them at any given time with no obstacles on the way. But when there’s another cat at home, one has to fight for their favorite spot on the lap from time to time. And it doesn’t need to come down to paw fights and swinging claws – a cat who wants to get the other cat out of their preferred cat bed might try to squeeze into it, disregarding the other cat, as well as lick them, cuddle and do anything that might annoy their cat buddy to the point they are ready to leave. Oh, the life of cats who don’t like confrontation.
A cat who’s defending here might simply leave the cat bed, leave some space for their cat buddy, try to share the comfy pillow, or choose to show their claws – hiss, swat their paw, and mark the space (through scratching, rubbing, or even urinating on the scratcher or cat bed) to simply show who it belongs to.
What to do when cats are fighting for resources?
Conflicts over access to a favorite napping spot, a scratcher, toys, or hooman’s lap don’t have to end the feline friendship forever. After all, even best buddies fight sometimes. We, as their Carers, can make sure the fights are as rare as possible and that every cat, regardless of their preferences, their place in the family hierarchy, or their mood of the day, can always be happy.
If you notice that your cats are resource guarding or fighting for resources, make sure that:
- every cat has their own food bowl and doesn’t have to worry about their food being stolen during mealtime,
- the litter boxes aren’t a dead end – we can’t allow a situation where one cat traps the other inside,
- every cat has a chance for a close relationship with you, without the other cat’s input. It could be through solo playtime, an evening TV watching with the cat on your lap or whatever you and your cat like doing together,
- you’re providing enough resources to meet the needs of all the cats at home. What does it mean in practice? Scratchers, cat beds, spots on the window sill, toys – you should have as many of them as there are cats at home or, ideally, more. Even if your cats like sharing space with each other, there might be times when they want to take a break from the others in the group. You want to make sure that all the other cats have a valuable alternative to choose from instead of the spot that the loner cat is taking up.
If the problem is not going away or is becoming a bigger issue and your cats are fighting each other despite having access to a second scratcher, a cat bed, or a spot on the couch next to you, talk to a behaviorist and find a solution that will work specifically for your cats. If, however, you’re just now thinking about bringing another cat into the mix, start with furnishing your home with extra accessories and resources just so your resident cat doesn’t have to defend themself from the newcomer.
May the cats live happily together
A recipe for a cat’s happiness is not complicated – with a full bowl, a clean litter box, a comfy spot to sleep and a sturdy scratcher one can purr happily all day. And when there are more cats at home, what do we do with the recipe? We multiply it! Grab extra scratchers, fabCat, give more sleeping spots on different height levels of your home, play with each of your cats equally, and let them find their place in the cat group on their own terms, with you having an eye on everything to avoid possible conflicts.
And one more tip before the end here. When you’re at the socialization with isolation stage, remember to exchange scents – it’s a simple technique that lets cats get to know “the other one” before you allow any sort of direct interaction. Exchanging resources at the beginning stages of a cat friendship has great effects on the overall success of the process and helps avoid conflicts in the future.
What does sharing look like with your cats, fabCats? Are they all happy to use everything together or did they build their own timetable for everyone in the group? Drop your stories in the comments here or on our Facebook → https://www.facebook.com/myKottypl. When you go there, make sure to use our secret password for today: I like sharing to let us know you came from the blog 🙂