It’s very common for me to go to a client’s home and see lots of food bowls or litter boxes but they’re all lined up next to each other. If a cat is afraid to walk past another cat then having all the food bowls lined up in one room does no good. It just reinforces the intimidation success on the intimidator’s part and it reinforces the stress on the victim’s part. When it comes to location of litter boxes, if you’ve lined them all up in one area it becomes a ticking time bomb for a litter box aversion problem. Eventually, the intimidated cat may start holding her urine as long as she can to avoid going to the box and that may lead to a urinary tract problem or she’ll find a safer place behind your sofa, on the bed or under the dining room table.
If you provide resources in each cat’s area, you give them several less reasons to squabble or confront each other and that’s a big step toward having a happy multicat household.
Need More Information?
Multicat households face unique challenges that single cat households don’t. For more specific information and step-by-step techniques for setting up a happy multicat home or for finding solutions to problems, refer to the book Cat vs. Cat. This book by Pam Johnson-Bennett was the first of its kind in addressing the unique challenges of multiple cat households. You can also find more detailed information on multicat household issues in Pam’s latest book, CatWise and in her best-selling book, Think Like a Cat.
If you have a question about your cat’s behavior, you can find information in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s health, please contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care.