Resource guarding is fairly common in multi-cat households, and most of the people have experienced it with their cats. Yet in our cat behavior practice, we have now found that many individuals don’t know the term for it, nor what causes it to occur, let alone what to do about it.
Why it happens
Cats who’ve spent an amazing deal of time homeless or in shelters, especially those that have been deprived of food previously, are most probably to resource guard. This behavior often happens when there’s a perceived lack of resources for the cats, even when there are plenty.
Often there’s also an underlying stress component that triggers this sort of behavior. Often, we’ll see it occur by the resident cat when one other cat enters the household. A brand new cat can also exhibit guarding if he has come from a situation of abandonment or lack of food and water. Feline insecurity also can cause your cat to feel stressed by any household changes, equivalent to recent people entering (recent spouse or roommate) or by people leaving the household (divorce, kids leaving for faculty).
Considered one of my cats, Smoochy, may be very protective of her time with me. If another cats try to come back near me when Smoochy is on my lap, she’s going to swat at them. Before swatting, she’s going to growl and infrequently “bark” at the opposite cat. When she’s on my lap, the opposite cats know to remain away until she leaves. When she does attempt to bully the opposite cats, I simply set her down on the ground and walk away. She’s learning that her guarding of my lap equals removal of my attention, so she’s recovering about sharing me.
What it looks like
Guarded resources could be anything from toys and food to places and folks. Cats exhibit guarding of resources by:
1. Hissing to warn others to remain away
2. Swatting at other cats and even perhaps their human to remain away
3. Literally blocking the opposite cat’s access to an item or place to forestall other cats from getting near
4. Scratching items to say as territory
5. Spraying or peeing on items (or people)
Resources your cat might guard
✤ Litter boxes
✤ Cat trees
✤ Cat scratchers
✤ Napping spots
✤ The rest they determine is “theirs”
What to do
Should you notice certainly one of your cats is guarding resources from the opposite(s), there are things you may do to forestall the behavior from escalating into constant bullying or fighting. Nipping these behaviors within the bud is the important thing to stopping disagreements amongst your cats and keeping peaceful coexistence.
Listed below are a couple of suggestions:
✤ Prevent food bowl sharing by putting a bowl down for every cat.
✤ Remove lids from litter boxes, so one cat cannot trap the opposite within the box.
✤ Provide a couple of litter box area so the bullied cat has another choice if one litter box area is being guarded.
✤ Give each cat one-on-one time with you, in addition to group play experiences.
✤ Provide enough toys, cat beds, cat trees and cubby holes that every cat can claim one as theirs.
✤ Try flower essences as a natural alternative for calming stress in each the bully and the bullied cat. Two to try are Convivial House Cat and Cat Calm Stress Reducing Liquid Formula.
✤ Give your cats praise at any time when they’re together and no bullying or guarding happens.
✤ If needed, visit your veterinarian in case your cats need anti-anxiety assistance with medication.
Living in harmony with multiple cats could be done. I live with 18 cats and infrequently do I see resource guarding in my house. Providing enough toys, food and love for all cats goes a good distance toward correcting, and even stopping, bullying and resource guarding.
Now that you understand what to search for, you’ll find a way to bring harmony to your personal cat household and forestall guarding behaviors before they turn into an excessive amount of of a habit.
Help your cats adapt
When bringing a brand new cat home to your resident cat, prepare ahead of time with the next steps.
- If it’s possible, do some scent swapping before the brand new cat enters your household or on the very least before introductions occur.
- Provide enough toys and bedding areas for each cats to enjoy.
- Feed your cats in separate bowls as a substitute of getting them share one plate.
- Give your resident cat extra praise and love when in the corporate of the newbie, so he knows he has not been replaced.
- Mutual playtime will help the cats turn into friends, so long as time and a spotlight from you (and treats!) is distributed evenly and each also get special alone time with you.