While many cats love the company of other cats, this is not natural cat behaviour. In the wild, cats usually live solitary existences, guarding their territory against other cats so that they always have enough food and water. By understanding your cat's ancestry as a wild, solitary hunter, you can better understand their needs in your home.
It's not always obvious when cats are at war. They may be involved in a 'cold war' that does not include obvious signs of conflict like fighting and hissing. Some cats will block access to food, water and litter trays. This can be done subtly so the owners are unaware, but this can be very stressful for the affected cat and can even lead to behavioural problems.
This is why it's important to monitor your cats' behaviour carefully to make sure they are getting on well.
Cats can live well together if:
- they have enough space
- they perceive each other to belong to the same social group
- there is no competition over resources such as food
In some multi-cat households, resources are sometimes shared throughout the day. One cat may use a space in the morning and then swap in the afternoon. In other cases, cats will live separately in a particular part of the house, and rarely interact with the other cats. Some cats never become friends or share the same social group, no matter how carefully they are introduced.
Remember, you have a legal duty of care to provide for your cat's needs, which includes their need to be housed with or apart from other animals.