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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

All in the family

Monday, February 10, 2014

Are the cats in your household stressed by each other? 

In their natural state cats live with their relatives - their mothers, siblings and offspring. But we expect them to live in close quarters with total strangers and then wonder why they mark indoors, have bladder problems and overgroom - all signs of stress.

You know your cats consider each other family if they sleep together and groom each other, paying particular attention to each other’s heads. When all the cats in your household think of each other as family stress levels are low. 

More often in multi-cat households each cat considers the other as just another tenant of the house and would rather not share dining, toilet and rest areas. When forced to share tension levels between the cats will rise and fall. Occasionally we see outright aggression between housemates. Sometimes the only sign is the occasional spray of urine up the curtain or recurrent cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).

Check out your cats’ sleeping arrangements. If they are sleeping separately and not grooming each other with complete ease then make sure you have multiple resources available so that each ‘family’ can eat, drink and toilet in private. If you have three cats who do not groom each other then you will need feeding and water bowls, and a litter tray in three separate areas.


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A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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