As a multi feline household, I was puzzled when I had to have a friends’ cat come for a sleep over last week. Obviously in a mutlicat home you will notice that after a little while you cats stop rubbing their heads on items in your home. It’s as though they know that they have other feline “roommates” who they share a territory with. However, when a new cat is on the block suddenly the excessive head nudging and even dreaded “pee-pee mishaps” will begin to appear around your home. Interestingly, there is a real reason behind this.
You may not know this, but cats have a very strong sense of smell. It is this sense of smell that is used to detect any other cat in their “territory”. You often notice your cat will nudge their head on your head or hand if you’ve spent time with another cat. Also why kittens tend to like to snuggle into dirty clothing of yours. It’s because their sense of smell is very dominant. See, when kittens are born they don’t have any vision so they develop a keen sense of smell to detect their mother and even to find the milk they need to survive.
Cats also tend to form groups when in a home together, which is especially true of female cats. Male cats do tend to be a little less inclined to form a distinct “group” which explains the frequent pee pee problems in a male dominated cat home. However, studies have actually “comfirmed” (yep, there are actually scientists who devote their lives to studying the behavior of cats) that cat groups have a combined “scent”. Much in the way a home filled with women will tend to have menstrual cycles that will “sync”, cats actually have a combined select scent when they live together. Interestingly, the scent is not just layering the individual scents of the cats in the group but they are actually a combined scent.
This fact explains a lot of cat behavior. Cats who are a part of a group, don’t need to snuggle and head rub 100s of times daily, instead they have a combined scent with their group and they then form their territory. Interestingly in all cat groups in a home, there will be a “social facilitator” whom the other cats will actually mimic the scent of. Interestingly if you have a home where cats are urinating in multiple places and there are a number of territory problems you can actually help the process along. Using the one brush and brushing all of your cats will it can help to fasten the pace they create their group scent. It has been known to be very effective in homes where you may have another adult cat entering into.
Interestingly, there are a lot of little quirks and character traits we are only beginning to discover about cats and we are learning more daily. The social behaviors of cats are currently being explored more now than ever before enabling us to greatly improve households where there is a range of cat conflicting behavior.