Suggestions for Stressful Times in a Multiple Cat Household

Having more than one cat can be great, if they get along. It can be a pain in the tail if they don’t! Even cats that typically live together peacefully can go through a hard time when anything affects their routine. This can happen anytime one cat starts acting differently due to illness or a surgery like an amputation. Take Little Man’s bunch for instance… The 3 younger cats are littermates. We’ve had them for 3 years now. LM was already a trikitty, so they never thought twice about how he hopped around. However, anytime LM visited the vet, they would hiss, hit at him, and chase him… all because he smelled funny. We went through a similar experience when we moved, and again when LM had a tumor removed. The tumor removal was the worst. Not only did LM smell like the V-E-T, but he wasn’t acting like himself. He had issues with movement, pain, and a loss of appetite that lasted a couple weeks. Our routine had changed big time.

Here’s what I do to help minimize these unwanted behaviors…  

*** When it’s time for a trip to the vet, I take a pet bath wipe and wipe them all down, especially the one that just returned from the vet. This helps them all have a similar smell and wiping them all down distracts them. They’re usually more concerned with grooming themselves than checking out the one that just got back home. lol

*** After a procedure, if possible, separate them. Then gradually re-introduce them. This process can take several days and requires close supervision. I started with just a few minutes at a time, working up to feeding them together, and eventually getting back to their old schedule. I kept a water bottle handy to distract them if they started to get aggressive.

*** Pheromone diffusers really do help! They plug in to an outlet or you can get the spray form. I keep one plugged in each of the areas where they spend a lot of common time together. I use the spray in the car and the carriers for travel. It doesn’t drug them or affect the rest of the household. I’ve noticed impovement with behaviors related to aggression, stress, and anxiety… even scratching furniture and excessive meowing. 

Now that Little Man’s tumor is much larger, our other cats often go up to him and smell the area. It gives LM a different odor than the rest of them. They can tell that he’s not as active as he used to be. The combination of LM’s smell and change in activity level makes them treat him differently. They don’t interact with him as much. They don’t want to eat with him. Sometimes they will even slap at him. In turn, LM started acting depressed. I started giving him some special time each day, taking him outside, brushing him, and giving him a treat. That alone has made a drastic improvement! He’s moving around a lot more, eating, grooming, and PURRING again. The other cats are even acting like they normally do. I don’t know how long this will last, but we’re enjoying it while we can.

Picture time!







Happy Caturday!

Michelle & Little Man


6 thoughts on “Suggestions for Stressful Times in a Multiple Cat Household”

  1. Those are great suggestions. My male, Eli, was very sweet to Mona after her amputation so haven’t had these same struggles but I know it’s heart breaking. Because Eli is a big whiny baby at the vets I bring Mona along and she lays on him to calm him down. At home Mona doesn’t allow Eli to touch her and she swats him if he’s in leg-swatting distance.

    I had another cat Licri who had malignant melanoma and when his skin tumour broke open, my other kitty Rocky no longer cuddled with him. This was so sad because Licri groomed Rocky every morning and Rocky would no longer allow it. So I let Licri groom my head into amazing, funky hairstyles.

    I suspect cats stay away from the smell of illness. A few months ago my cats were sleeping upstairs in bedroom and I heard vomiting in my dining room. It was a feline stranger who vomited and then drank water and walked down the hall into my spare bedroom where he had been camping out. My two cats would walk by the bedroom door and ignore this smelly stranger. They were not normally friendly to strange cats.

    I love how you are giving special attention to Little Man as he needs it and deserves it. He is such a handsome fellow. Please tell him that he is very much loved and the most special tabby ever.

    Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

  2. What wise words! Interestingly, Sophia and Proncess have always gone to the vet together, and Enzo went with the dogs. We never had problems, I guess because we had “group stink.” Thanks for posting this. I just love Little Man – he looks a lot like my very first cat, Kahlua.

    1. We do group trips for their wellness visits, but Little Man has had to be seen more frequently than the others due to the vaccine associated sarcoma. He went for follow ups every 3 months for a while. Then he had to start going back again when we discovered this recurrence over a year ago. The “group stink” theory definitely has merit! lol They always did much better together. It just wasn’t feasible going so often. Just taking one or two didn’t matter. I’d have to take all 4 for it to work.

  3. Great advice! We take both our cats to the vet when possible. Its more work but it makes all the difference when we can. We have had the same issue with the vet smell lol. We use the multicat diffuser. I agree it sure helps! I always wonder how people manage having mulitple cats. Our guys are littermates too. So much for that theory 😉 Cats defiantley know when one is not well, thats the survival instinct ,we had a lot of issues when our Purrkins had his Soft Tissue tumor .Im glad to see Little Mans extra attention is helping him. He is a soooo cute. Again beautiful pictures you capture his personality well;)
    Keep on fighting LM your doing great!
    Hugs to you and your fur family!
    Holly & Purrkins

  4. Ohhhhh I LOVE this post and your sweet photos just put a huge smile on our faces. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your tips, I’m going to make sure as many people as possible see it.

    Glad to see Little Man’s getting around and spunky as ever. We love that boy, give him a scritch from us.

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