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How To Spread The Love Equally With Multiple Cats

November 11, 2012

Adopt one cat and you can give him all of the love in the world. Adopt a second, third or fourth cat, and you may find yourself challenged in several ways.

One of those ways is to make sure that all of the cats receive equal love and attention. This can be particularly difficult, especially if your cats have different love languages – meaning, they like to give and receive love in different ways.

My friend with CG, left, and Ellie.

Thankfully now, more than a year after we’ve adopted Ellie, our two grays, as I call them, are best buddies.

This wonderful time made me think back to when Ellie first came to our household, and how we all needed to learn how to spread the love. Here’s a post that was originally published on my last blog, but the advice still rings true!

From my original blog:

The past week at our house has been wonderfully nuts with Ellie’s arrival. However, it also means that Ellie is requiring more attention than CG, which is breaking my heart. I know bringing a new cat into a home can be stressful on the existing cats, so I wanted to make sure that CG didn’t feel unloved or left out.

Some of you got back to me and shared your suggestions, so I wanted to share them with all of you in case it could help out in the future!

“My other ‘family members,’ two cats and a small dog, all seem to realize that Clarence needs help, and they do not seem to mind. In fact, the one cat and dog seem attentive and play and snuggle with Clarence. The one cat, keeps to himself and just watches and every once in a while will get close. But I know they all realize that Clarence is ‘different’ and there is no jealousy where Clarence is concerned.” – Triste

“I don’t know if this will help with CG, but when Nanako was a very new family member, I noticed that Hippa would hide more and be generally more timid/reclusive. We’ve overcome that (and now she’s out more than before we got Nanako!) by making sure to spend time with her alone. Whenever we came home from being out, we would also first call Hippa’s name and go to find/see/pet her, before Nanako.

Photo courtesy alishav

It took a couple of months for her to feel totally comfortable and I think to realize that we weren’t replacing her or something like that, but now she seems to be happier than ever! (P.S. about Hippa’s timidness… We got her when she was 8-years-old and had been abandoned on the streets, so she has other issues there that CG probably doesn’t have).

And definitely try to play with them together!! What I did was bring out a shoestring every night, get them within a few feet of each other and then swing it back and forth for them to bat at. That got them to be more comfortable being close to each other and spending time together with me.” – Elise

“We have three cats (one with CH) and a dog (who is also special needs). I’ve found the best way to keep them all happy is to let each one have a “special thing” they do with us that is all their own. For example, Riley Dean gets to watch TV with us (actually, the others CAN, but are always running around, so it’s still his special time). Gatsby sleeps with me, while Kip (the dog) and Abbey sleep with my mom (Riley Dean has his own room with his own bed). Kip is the only one that gets to go on walks and to the park, which is fine because the cats don’t want to do that anyway!

I think the biggest thing is to not disrupt routines. If you regularly do something with one cat, don’t try to force the other one in. Let the one cat have his or her favorite activity all to him/herself. Find a different special activity with the new cat.” – Kristie

“Kristie is dead on: establish a routine in which everyone has their special thing and time, and no trespassing! We have seven animals, only two of whom are not special needs. Here, the dominant dog gets everything first. Once her position is satisfied, the other dog, who has severe allergies, gets his grooming, and it is just his.

Photo courtesy anguskirk

Same works for the cats. The senior female rejects any other cats, but has her special time with me for strokes and attention. She tells me when it starts and when it’s over. There is a bonded pair who share the bed and get combed and fussed over in the evening, but leave once the lights go out. If they get that, they are sufficient to each other for the rest of the day.

The CH cat has his own toys and his own time, when everyone else is in a specially built climber/safety box and he rules the turf. The crippled boy with no bowel and bladder control has his time, too, when he gets to hippety hop all over the place in his snazzy custom-made diapers, climb on my back and chew my ears, and generally be made much of.

Of course, these are not completely exclusive, and the senior female might be getting strokes while Beau is hippety hopping elsewhere. But the zoo is made of smart individuals: they know the routine and who has precedence at any given moment. If you get it stated right, they’ll take care of the rest.” – Catherine

Thanks everyone! Do you have any other suggestions? Please share in the comments

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