If you have more than one cat at home, you’ve probably seen your cats communicating with one another. Many of the behaviours our cats demonstrate towards us humans are also ones they use when interacting with other cats - because actually, cats don’t differentiate much between cats and humans, so they probably think we’re giant clumsy cats as well.
Cats use a variety of means to interact with one another, and we’re taking a closer look at both the vocal and physical ways they can communicate.
Even if you share your home with multiple cats, it’s likely that a lot of their communication has totally passed you by. This is because it’s thought that cats communicate using sound spectrums that we’re unable to hear. Although we’ll hear nothing but silence, our cats can actually be having a full conversation (or the cat equivalent) using ultrasonic spectrums.
But as any cat owner can tell you, their communication isn’t always silent. There are certain noises that cats will make to communicate amongst themselves, like purring or hissing, but there’s one sound they don’t use to communicate with other cats: meowing.
A cat’s meow is a noise they save almost exclusively for humans, and don’t use with each other. They’ve learnt to meow at humans to get our attention (and get what they want) but, amongst cats, this sound only tends to be used by kittens when they communicate with their mothers.
Body language is a big part of how cats communicate with one another, and it’s pretty easy to see if your cats are getting along with each other. Cats content with each other’s company will often sleep curled up together, groom one another, and generally spend quite a lot of time together.
Alternatively, cats that aren’t happy together may hiss or swipe at each other, or perhaps just avoid each other altogether. If this is the case, it’s a definite sign that your cats would like separate resources so they can have their own private spaces.
In multi-cat households, there are some additional things to consider, and your cats’ resources (food, water, beds, etc.) are one area that need special consideration. Ideally, each cat will have its own bit of privacy to retreat to, whether you’ve got two, three or four (or more!).
The recommendation for resources, such as food and water bowls, beds and litter trays, is one for each cat, plus one extra. This is to allow each cat its own space, and prevent any issues (such as avoiding the litter tray, or food or water) in case they happen to fall out.