Billi The Boss

BILLI SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON MULTI-CAT HOUSEHOLDS...
Good or bad?
Multi-cat households can work well under the right circumstances. There are 3 important factors that influence success
a) compatability of the cats within the group
b) availability and accessibility of resources
c) population density of the cats in the territory
Considering COMPATIBILITY siblings that have been brought up together often represent the best pairing, particularly if there was evidence of sociability with each other as kittens & their temperaments remain complementary.
If the multi-cat household is established with a number of cats within it, then it is possible that they don't form a single cohesive group. Once cats mature, they can form sub-groups - pairs, factions of 3 or more, and singletons. These individual groups then cohabit within the territory making every effort to avoid other groups and remain at a distance. If these social groups can be identified then, in theory, an optimum environment can be provided that distributes cat resources within the home to take into consideration the need of each individual group not to share with another.
There are no reliable, predictive tests for compatibility in cats. A kitten will be easier to introduce to an adult cat because it does not represent such a territorial threat. The sequence for introducing adult cats should be similar to that for kittens with the exception of the "kitten pen". The adult cat should not be confined in anything smaller than a room during the introduction.
Considering AVAILABILITY & ACCESSIBILITY of RESOURCES cats do not share important resources with other social groups. These resources include everything a cat may need to thrive in a domestic environment - food, water, litter trays, beds, high resting places, hiding areas, scratching posts, entry/exit points and toys.
If these resources are provided in sufficient numbers & distributed so that locations chosen are accessible for each cat or social group's core area (where they spend most of their time) then tension and conflict can often be avoided. As a rule of thumb for each resource provide one per cat plus on extra, positioned in different locations.
Considering POPULATION DENSITY in the AREA - the external population of cats has an impact, with a high population density potentially creating high levels of distress- even if cats are housed indoors, they can observe others through windows. Therefore, a strategy to avoid conflict may be to limit households to 2 cats in areas of high cat population density, consider a secure garden to exclude other cats and the use of safe deterrents if cats are coming into the garden & bothering indoor cats.
BILLI'S TOP TIPS on INTRODUCING A KITTEN to a MULTI-CAT HOUSEHOLD
1) Create a room specifically for the kitten - ideally one that isn't favoured by the resident cat(s)
2) Check the room is safe for the kitten - no poisonous plants, fireplaces, gaps in floorboards, window blind cords, breakable objects or open windows
3) Provide essential resources (bed, litter tray, food bowl, water bowl) located separately in the room
4) Swap bedding/familiar objects between the cat and kitten
5) Buy or borrow a "kitten pen" or "dog crate" - a collapsible cage with a solid floor that is at least 90cm x 50cm
6) Position the kitten pen against a wall or in a corner to avoid the risk of the resident cat circling it
7) Allow the kitten to explore the pen, feed it in there and put the bed and toys inside
8) Put a cover over the top of the pen & a box inside the pen for the kitten to hide in if it feels threatened; monitor for fear responses
9) The initial contact should be when the kitten is fully settled in the new environment & distracted in the pen with food or toys
10) Allow the resident cat to explore the kitten pen without intervention
11) Give praise and high value food treats to reward calm or positive behaviour
12) If the cat or kitten behaves aggressively or fearfully, remove the adult cat from the room
13) Provide attention to the existing cat throughout the introductory process, but not exceeding the amount it finds enjoyable
14) Try to maintain normal routines as much as possible
15) Move the kitten pen to other rooms once both kitten and cat are relaxed in each other's company in the first room and repeat the process in different rooms
16) Allow up to several weeks before opening up the pen and facilitating physical contact
17) Maintain the kitten room to reinforce litter training and shut the kitten in there at night
18) Keep the kitten separated at night & when unsupervised until 4-5 months of age
BILLI'S ADDITIONAL TIPS for INTRODUCING an ADULT CAT to a MULTI-CAT HOUSEHOLD
1) Collect both cats' facial pheromones by using fine cotton gloves and stroking their cheeks, chin and forehead (one glove per cat)
2) Rub the gloves against doorways and furniture at cat height in all parts of the house
3) Present the glove with the new cat's scent in front of the resident cat (and vice versa) and allow them to investigate - give a food treat for calm behaviour
4) Stroking both cats with the same glove, one after the other, also aids the process if there is no adverse response to the gloves previously
5) Introduce the cats visually from a distance, with the new cat in its room with the door propped open with a 5cm gap
6) Give praise or high value food treats or toys to reward calm behaviour
7) If either cat behaves aggressively or fearfully - close the door
8) Increase the time the 2 cats are in visual contact
9) It may be helpful to fit a wood and wire frame to the recess of the doorway so that they can have direct contact without being able to chase or fight.
BILLI 'S THOUGHTS ON BEING A MATURE CAT...
I have recently had my birthday and I am a little concerned because, according to the experts, I am now considered a mature gentleman. I am 7 years young and I really did not want to leave my “prime” behind!
As a mature chap I am at increased risk of all the “older cat” problems – such as Diabetes mellitis, kidney disease, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism and cancer.
This means I shall have to pay particular attention to any signs or changes in my physical appearance or behaviour that could indicate I am developing a problem – such as poor coat condition, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, decreased appetite, weight loss, change in thirst, inappetance, changes in urination, reduced activity, awareness and interaction, agitation and night time yowling.
If I start to exhibit any of these problems I better consult my vet. I have always enjoyed a “life-stage” diet and will now have to transition myself to eating food for a “senior” cat – well, if it’s better for my health I won’t complain....
BILLI'S THOUGHTS ON HAVING HIS FLEA TREATMENT...
As you can see I'm having my flea treatment applied and I really don't like it! I do just tolerate it because the thought of having fleas is even worse. However I am really happy because my vet told me that with this new product I only have to suffer the indignity once every 3 months.
My vet is very happy because the product's manufacturer are promoting it for all cat owners with a special offer of "buy 3 treatments and receive the 4th treatment free of charge". If you would like more information please email me on billi@meadowbankvets.co.uk....
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Here I am on reception waiting to welcome the clients.
Anne's Picture
Here I am struggling to get things out of the drawer

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Here I am without a care in the world – I do not consider being “The Boss” stressful at all!

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