Multi-Cat Home

Summer is Here! Company is Coming! Coping With Visitors in a Multi-Cat Home!

It’s summer – that fun and busy time of year when lots of people are traveling and vacationing. In my case, many of those traveling people are family members of mine and their vacation destination is with Dan and me at our tropical, South Florida home. I love having them around – July and August will be a revolving door of blessedly wonderful activity but for our cats, some will be less than thrilled when they’re unexpectedly woken from a peaceful nap to the jarring, whirrrrr noise of luggage wheels on the pavement heading to our front door.

Before said visitor hands can even knock on the door, announcing their already evident arrival, the cats will scatter to assume whatever personality role they have. Seven cats. Seven distinctly different reactions – all of which are predictably predictable.

The more things on the dining room table, the happier Zee is to plop himself right in the center of it all.

Zee, our eldest, will be instantly social. Though he’s slowed down in age, he still likes to be in the thick of things like when he was an inquisitive young kitten and is not shy around visitors. Since much of our family gatherings center around food, eating, and the dining room table, that means he’ll spend most of his time on the dining room table. What’s a little cat hair in your coffee, or a cat tail on your plate for that matter when you’re among family? I can pretend we don’t let him on the table, but it’s rather a moot point if you’ve known me for as long as my family has.

Even when she’s in a good mood, Zoey has looks to kill, but deep down she’s actually a sweetheart. Just don’t try picking her up if you care for your life.

Despite her glaring looks to kill and withering scowl, Zoey has actually mellowed in her age and might even snuggle up on a surprised guest’s outstretched legs if they’re sitting on the couch. That said, unless you’re a foolish thrill-seeker, you still should never attempt to pick her up because she will become a wild, lethal weapon of razor-sharp claws at that point. 

It’s not that Mia doesn’t like company, she just prefers to keep herself low-key and will stay in the bedroom until she decides she wants to come out and say hello.

Mia has come a long way over the years. Once never allowing any touching from Dan and me, she is now glued to our laps at night when we sit on the couch to watch TV and you can sneak some pets in then. When it comes to company, I think she’d prefer we didn’t have any, but that said, I also don’t think company bothers her. I would say she’s non-committal one way or another. And she’ll still come out at night to hang out on the couch when we have visitors, so it can’t be that bad.

Another lap to sit on? More hands to pet me? When it comes to Peanut, the more loving the better!

Peanut has always been a love bug and will always be one. She doesn’t shy away from anyone, rather embracing the opportunity for more laps to nap on, more hands to pet her, and more people to listen to her incessant meow chatter.

Sergeant Rolz, reporting for duty. All-day, every day.

Rolz lives on the counter next to the food pantry nearly 24/7/365, rain or shine, company or no company, because “there might be something” and he never, ever wants to lose that possible chance of gaining access to that all-important food pantry door, because that’s where all the cat food and cat treats reside. But to his credit, his plan is actually quite brilliant as I don’t think a day goes by that someone doesn’t fall for his charming and patient ways which do result in morsels of divine food for him.

I love having you around, I really do, just stay away from MY counter!

Kizmet is a sweet, lovable cat. You can pick him up, you can hug and kiss him, and he’s happy to go with the flow. Company is not an issue, even the company who sometimes bring a dog with them. The only caveat with him is the kitchen counter. His kitchen counter. It’s where he eats his meals every day and he’s quite possessive about it, giving a swat to those who dare decide to be near it, whether human or another cat.

On her own, Jazmine is a bold, confident, and often bossy cat. When company comes, her M.O. is a big ole scaredy-cat.

Jazmine is a bold, confident, sassy, and very friendly cat. With Dan and me. When company comes she runs and hides for several hours, slowly inching her way to the end of the hallway where she watches the goings-on, not willing to cross whatever invisible line she’s set in her mind. But, Jazmine is also addicted to food so, despite her reservations to mingle with guests, if the treat bag is shaken, or if the aroma of tasty food is wafting through the house, she will allow herself to be picked up and brought into the kitchen to be plunked front and center with everyone else, having a priceless look on her face of “look at me, see I’m not a scaredy-cat at all!”

Jazmine’s not the only one tempted by treats. It’s typically the magic wand for them all, even when we have company visiting, but much of that is because our cats have become somewhat used to having company around throughout the year and don’t feel truly threatened. Really, the best rule of thumb for any cat when people are visiting is to respect the boundaries he sets and interacting with visitors should never be forced.

Cats are very sensitive to change, causing them stress, so don’t let your guests take it personally if kitty reacts by hiding or acting scared. If the company is going to be around for a couple of days, chances are you can ease into the relationship by working with positive reinforcement. 

Treats and interactive play toys typically entice most any cat, so if you have your guest be the bearer of good things, it can go a long way toward building trust. If it’s not meant to be, at the very least, make sure your cat has a room with litter, fresh water, food, toys, and bedding to feel safe while the company is around.

How about your cat(s) – how do they act around company?  

 

Cat Allergies? Don’t Despair – 10 Tips to Manage the Symptoms for Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

Despite the importance of spay/neuter for cats, not only for their health and well-being but as a humane means to prevent new litters of kittens from being born and entering shelters already overcrowded with cats, the ASPCA estimates 3.2 million cats enter U.S. shelters annually, with approximately 860,000 euthanized because their numbers exceed available adoptees.

Cats end up in shelters for numerous reasons, typically because their human guardian surrenders them for behavioral, financial, or personal reasons. One of the most common surrenders is a result of cat allergies, and for June, Adopt A Shelter Cat Month, the good news is, with some patience and preventative measures, many people who are allergic to cats can adopt that feline friend they’ve always wanted, or at the very least, keep the sniffles to a minimum if they already have a cat!  Read more

A Red Robe Memory for Zoey’s 11th Birthday

It all began with sweet Kit.

Many years ago, long before she was even a kernel of leopard-spotted existence in my life or this world for that matter, Zoey had already stolen my heart. It began with Kit, a stray cat I found in my driveway one cold and damp evening when I lived in Upstate New York. Of course, I took her in and she went on to live a happy and full life with me. When she passed at eighteen years of age, it was not a surprise as I had been mentally preparing for months, if not years, for the inevitable day she would no longer be with me. Read more

Respect Your Cat Day – An Ode to the Obvious!

Queen Zoey – the ultimate cat goddess…

Let’s see. I’ve stepped in vomit. Broken up an overly dramatic hissing-fit between two equally assertive alpha-cats. Cleaned up urine as a result of said hissing-fit in which spraying was the retaliatory method of choice. I’ve also stepped on 14 plush toys left out, making their way as a trail from the bedroom to the kitchen as some sort of homage to the food dishes on the floor, glaringly empty of food. All before 5:00 a.m., the appointed hour my seven cats give me the not-so-subtle wake up call that I’ve had more than enough sleeping in like some sort of lazy vagabond and it’s time for breakfast, thank you very much. I can assure you, the routine is not for the weak of heart. That said, these are my cats and I love them unconditionally. I also respect them. I understand what might seem as a nuisance to some, are behaviors that come with the territory of cat guardianship, and I’m okay with that.  Read more

Dr. Tony Buffington, DVM, Requesting Survey Takers for Feline Home Environmental Study

Jazmine and Kizmet are my poster cats for Dr. Buffington’s Feline Home Environmental Study.

Feline enrichment is a subject dear to my heart. The correlation between providing our feline friends a stimulating and enriching environment befitting their instinctual nature in relation to their happiness, health, and well-being is significant, especially considering most cats now live indoors for their safety.

We humans as their entrusted caretakers provide them with everything they need – food, water, shelter, and more. They no longer need to hunt for survival, which is one of their primary means to release pent up energy and keep their minds and bodies fit and sharp. Without proper environmental enrichment, cats are suspectable to obesity, heart disease, dental disease, gastrointestinal disease, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and diabetes. They can also become bored, which often results in behavioral problems, such as litter box issues. Read more