My two cats love me, but hate each other. Both have burrowed into my heart so deeply, I couldn’t bear to part with either. And yet, it kills me that they want to kill each other.
Because we are equally as enamored with both, we have done somersaults for years trying to get them to happily coexist in a one bedroom apartment. We’ve tried everything from a car road trip in hopes that they would ‘trauma bond’ to hiring an actual cat whisperer.
We haven’t quite yet reached pure cohabitational bliss, but we are a long way from where we started. After buying every single cat product on Amazon and testing them ourselves, we finally found a few things below that have at least brought equilibrium.
Knowing the struggle, I had to share these hard won pearls of wisdom for the peace of cats and cat people everywhere.
Cats need a lot of physical activity and are most difficult when they need exercise. Because you probably have to work and do human stuff, it is unlikely you have the entire day to dedicate to playing with your cat. That is where robots come in. Our cats rejected almost every toy on the market, except for these two:
Thanks to these automated toys, cat assassination attempts made from our snow shoe dropped by about 30%. A big win in our book.
2. Puzzles and Cat TV
Cats get bored just like everyone else. Bored cats are more likely to fight, so we give them treat puzzles. You can try the ‘Licky Mat’ OR save money by filling up old ice cube trays with Temptations. Our smarter, crazy cat figured out how to use this treat dispenser puzzle ball.
We call our window ‘Cat TV’. While keeping the curtains open is okay, leaving the window open is like watching in High Def with the added dimension of smell and sound. Whenever possible, remember to leave Cat TV on for your fur baby. In fact, we sometimes actually leave the real TV on for them as well, with relaxing music and montages of birds or tigers.
2. Blocking off ‘The Unders’
One of our cats is afraid of everything. Even sneezes. Especially sneezes, actually. To deal with this anxiety, she dwells in the darkest remote regions of our house, squeezing her chubby little self incomprehensibly into cracks and nooks. This behavior means she is a ‘bush dweller’, compared to ‘tree dweller’ cats who enjoy high territories like the top of the fridge.
Thanks to watching every episode of ‘My Cat from Hell‘ we learned that cats hiding under furniture is counterproductive and antisocial. We attempted to block off the ‘unders’ of our our bed and couch with everything from foam pool noodles to discarded boxes. It only kind of worked and looked terrible.
The ultimate solution? Cat houses. She has one in every room, and they allow her to feel safe and hidden while still able to look out and participate with the household.
3. Expand the Territory
Cats are territorial. The more ground available for them to mark, the less they will battle over existing space. To give our cats more surfaces we bought end tables on Amazon so that each one can ‘own’ different parts of the house.
Cat shelves – for our cat that likes to perch and climb – a.k.a. tree dweller
Cat boxes – we have a cat box that looks like a plant and I love it. If you find a good self-cleaning one, please let me know 🙂
You should have at least one scratching post and litter box per cat, and clean it daily. Cats like to act out if their box is dirty. We also practiced co-mingling their scent and territory by keeping them separate with a gate, but swapping them and their toys between spaces until they adapted to each other’s smell.
4. Cat Kryptonite
When I first met them, Shy Cat was a rotund little bowling ball of blubber. She feasted constantly on dry kibble that was left out for them to nom on all day long. Since then, we’ve learned that the only way to (kind of) get cats to do what you want is with timed meals and treats. A hungry cat is a trainable cat.
Thanks to the treats below, the cats are literally eating out of our hands.
One of our cats has a neurotic hatred of closed doors, but sometimes we need to close her in a room without her mangling the door with her claws. For these occasions, we found the one and only thing that will keep her from defacing our property is the blessed ‘Cat Hiss Can‘. It is an automated air dispenser that blows a puff of air when it detects motion within a 12 inch radius, and maybe the most genius contraption ever invented.
Pro Tip: unbranded air refills work just as well when you need replacements, but cost less.
And there you have it. I don’t know why I decided to write a post about the unique problem of ending cat wars today, but if this happens to bring a little more peace into your life, all the better.
Stay tuned for updates and adventures of experiments in walking our cats.
Does your cat behave or act out? What are some tricks of the trade you have tried to bring out the best in your cat?