Cats can be very selective about who they will befriend! They are sometimes considered to be very aloof and can seem quite standoffish - but don't let that fool you; once you and your cats become the best of friends, that bond should last! Researchers at Oregon State University found that cats are able to form strong bonds with humans much the same way that dogs do.
So, cats are not as fickle as some people think! But, just like having a human partner where you have to work to develop your friendship and avoid conflict and tension, you also have to work with your cat to develop that bond.
Conflict reduction between cats
In multicat households, you may discover that it takes time for your cats to develop a friendship or bond, particularly if you are introducing a new kitten to an older cat. When they are first introduced, if not done slowly and gradually, they will probably hiss and howl or block each other - the cat rivalry may even result in kitty conflict over resources! But if you introduce your cats gradually to each other and make sure they have their own resources and separate space they can retreat to, they will probably get along quite nicely in time!
Feliway Friends supports your bond!
However, it can also be stressful for owners if their cats don't get along, and this can impact your relationship with your feline friends. Using FELIWAY Friends, in conjunction with a structured introduction between cats, has not only been proven to reduce conflict between cats living together, it has also been shown to have a positive impact on the relationship between owners and their cats!
A recent trial (of 29 multicat households: 23 with 2 cats and 6 with 3 cats, over a 60 day time period) was undertaken to assess the effect of FELIWAY Friends on affiliative behaviours between cats, and towards their owners. The report was presented at the Southern European Veterinary Conference in November 2020 and, as expected, confirmed that using FELIWAY Friends in the room where the cats spent most of their time improved the relationship between the cats with fewer conflict signs (less hissing, chasing and hiding).
It also demonstrated that when using FELIWAY Friends, the cats' relationships with their owners improved, with:
- Fewer disturbances at night
- Sleeping closer to the owner during the day more often, suggesting a generally more relaxed atmosphere
- Increased interaction between the owner and the quieter cat
- Increased facial marking, suggesting an increase in the cat's general wellbeing. When comfortable and happy, cats mark their territory as familiar by rubbing their face against corners, furniture, people, or other cats at home.
Other ways to bond with your cats
In conjunction with FELIWAY Friends, there are other proactive things that you can do to ensure that you and your cats have that very special bond.
Give them everything they need!
- Cats don't like sharing, so make sure they have all the necessary resources - for example a scratching post, comfy bed, hiding places, and of course their food and drinks bowls.
- Never force them to come to you. Let them approach you in their own time, on their terms.
- Schedule in regular playtimes with each cat and keep their interest with different toys (home made toys are just as much fun as bought ones!)
- Look after their health. If you notice any signs of stress (like biting their fur or over-grooming) get them checked out by a vet.
- Learn to 'speak cat'! Get to know how they are feeling by understanding their body language, the way they are looking at you, the way they are holding their ears and their tail action - if you know how they are feeling, you'll better know how to look after them!
- Let them initiate the bonding process: if they are rubbing their head against you, kneading your lap, purring or sitting up close, you'll know they like being around you and want to be close friends!
Together, you and your kitties can build your bond and create that purrfect relationship!