Enrich the Environment for a Full Feline Live

Question-
I have 5 cats and 5 months ago, I saved 3 kittens that were 3 days old. I just adopted 2 of them together to a home and we are keeping the third. Well, the poor little guy is bored, lonely, and depressed. None of my butt head cats will play with him, let alone curl up with him. I feel so bad for him and am trying everything I can to play with him and cheer him up. It’s just so sad to watch

Dr. Nichol:
Five butt head cats? I’ve waited years for this question. As a point of reference: the tail is always at the end opposite the head. You can trust me on this; I studied anatomy in veterinary school.

With 6 cats you are lucky to have social isolation as your biggest problem. A crowded environment can descend into hostility and house soiling, not to mention a host of stress-related physical disorders like urinary disease and respiratory infections. Multi-cat households can be disasters. The new kid in school needs space so he can adjust without getting pounced on and treated like prey.

The best way to set all of your cats up for success will be to transform part of your home into a wonderland of feline amusements. Locate at least two floor-to-ceiling cat trees near windows or, better still, add a dozen shelves at various heights in different rooms. Hide boxes should be plentiful. These havens for the socially challenged can be tucked away, some high and some low. The book “The Cats’ House” by Bob Walker is full of excellent photos and illustrations.

You can support your cats’ primal predatory proclivities with stalk and pounce toys like a child’s fishing pole with a furry mouse tied to the line or by trailing a few feet of string from your ankle with a couple of feathers glued to the end.  Plugging in Feliway pheromone diffusers in every room frequented by felines will promote a social and relaxed emotional state for the whole crowd.

The new kid will fit in when everybody’s needs are met. Just don’t add any more cats. You don’t want to be the butt head of their jokes.