For pet owners that have several furry companions, this often feels like a blessing; especially when everyone gets on! But at times when you just can’t cut the furry frenzy, a few simple strategies can help you achieve harmony over chaos.
Here are some tips for a happy and organised furry family:
Try to set rules early on
This will help your pets understand what they are allowed and not allowed to do. Like climbing on the couch, jumping on the dining table or sleeping on your bed.
Teach your pooch some basic commands
Just ‘wait’, ‘stop’ and ‘sit’ can help keep many situations under control. Teaching each of your pets to respond to your 'no' command will also help to keep them disciplined and put a quick stop to any untoward behaviour. But before anything else, make sure they answer to their names!
Treat all your furry friends equally
Even more important when one of your pets gets a little jealous or competitive at times. This can manifest in several ways, from being an attention diva to peeing in places where they shouldn’t. And while different things can trigger this behaviour, a major one is lack of resources, which leads us to…
Keep separate bowls and beds for each pet
Having to compete for affection, space and resources are some of the reasons why we see conflict in multi-pet households. So providing individual feed bowls, beds and enough space for all will help promote a happier environment. Ensuring your pets have plenty of toys and stimulation (and multiple scratch posts, for cats) can also help avoid playtime havoc!
For more than one kitty, one litter tray per cat, plus an additional one, is the ideal scenario. We would also recommend placing each tray in a different location.
Feed separately where possible
In a house with multiple pets, feeding them in separate locations or using microchip pet feeders (which only open for the registered pet) is the ideal set-up. Why does this matter? Separate feeding can ensure your pet is eating the correct food and prevents under or overeating. Cats and dogs can be territorial about their provisions and cats, in general, prefer to eat alone.
Make introductions easy
Dogs are pack animals who like to follow a leader (in this case, you). So remaining calm and in charge is the best way to encourage harmony. When introducing a new dog, it’s useful to break the ice by taking them all on a walk together, ensuring you’re the first to enter the home, with the new dog going in last. This may seem irrelevant, but it’ll help dogs know that everything is actually in order!
If introducing a new feline to your furry family, keep her in a separate room at first, ideally in a crate or carrier. It’s important to make introductions gradual and supervised, letting the animals approach each other in their own time.
Create a friendly environment
If, despite your efforts, the tension between your cats is ongoing, try Feliway Friends for added support. This is a pheromone-based diffuser designed to help reduce conflict between cats. Relationships between cats can be complex. Some kitties will get along perfectly, while others will learn to tolerate one another.
It’s very important that cats have personal space. You can create high spaces for cats using wall shelves, cat trees, access to wardrobes, etc.
One final note before we finish: showing your fur babies you love them all the same is key, but so is treating them as individuals with their own feelings and likes. Thus, spending time alone with each pet from time to time will help strengthen your bond with them. After all, no one likes to feel like they’re one amid many!