+ BUMPS IN THE ROAD SITUATION:
There are some situations that cause rumblings throughout the hierarchy in your cat household. The addition or subtraction of a cat, a new home, illness or death in the feline colony, and sexual maturity are the types of upheavals most likely to affect cats. There are also some not-so-obvious reasons for a sudden shakeup. One event many owners aren’t aware of is social maturity. This occurs between two and four years of age and is not to be confused with sexual maturity, which occurs around six to seven months. Almost all owners are aware of the fact that a kitten officially becomes an adult at the age of one year, but the cat still has more maturing to do in the social department. Much like human adolescence, social maturity is the prime time for cats to jockey for social positions. This may cause subtle and not-so-subtle shifting in the pecking order in a formerly peaceful, well-established cat family.
This can be a time when a cat feels more confident and views an opportunity to elevate his status. Illness also plays a role in the hierarchy that you may not be prepared for. An ill cat loses his current position and usually becomes subordinate to all of the other healthy ones, regardless of previous status.
+ WHAT’S THE MATTER OF OWNING TWO CATS:
There is a situation where a “bump in the road” turns into a brick wall, and that is when you simply have too many cats. Because of space considerations and the different personalities of each individual cat, it’s important to recognize a healthy limit to the size of your family. Although cats require less space than dogs, there is only so much physical territory to go around. You will not be doing your cats a favor if they’re forced to live in uncomfortably dose quarters in a constantly hostile environment. Don’t turn into a cat hoarder. The quality of your cats’ lives, as well as your own, will suffer. Many factors must also be taken into consideration when determining how many cats can live together under one roof. Your next-door neighbor may have five cats who coexist peacefully, while your three can’t seem to come to a truce even though your home and your neighbor’s are exactly the same. How the cats were socialized, how they were introduced, the number of dominant cats, and the specific dynamics of your household all play a role in how well the cats live together. You may have one cat who simply should’ve been an only cat. There are some cats, just as there are some people, who are happiest not having to share space. You also have to consider the cost of keeping multiple cats. In addition to the cost of food, there are ongoing veterinary expenses. Your responsibility as a cat owner doesn’t end with saving a cat from the side of the road—you are also responsible for making sure the cat’s medical needs are met. While many owners are lucky enough only to have the yearly expenses of routine vaccinations and checkups, others aren’t so fortunate and may end up with one or more cats who require special food, prescriptions, ongoing monitoring, or even extensive diagnostic tests or surgery. Veterinary medicine has grown by leaps and bounds, and it’s amazing what can be done to keep our precious cats living longer. But those advancements come with a price.