We do know that cats will meow to communicate with us. But at the same time, do they even say hello to each other? As much as studies focus mainly on feline-human communication, we have also studied communication between two cats. Even though they will barely meow in efforts to hello to each other, cats will use other communication cues.
Cat behaviorists insist that meowing and other forms of cat vocalization are specifically reserved for us. Cats will use their body language to talk to each other and also say hello. In addition, chemicals and physical contact is also a cat-cat communication method.
When a cat meets a new one, there are only two likely situations to take place. Your cat could either make friends or they are going to fight each other but there is surely going to be a reaction from both cats. Cat owners with multiple cats can tell you a story about when they brought a second cat home the first time.
Well, either way, cats learn to adapt to having a companion within no time. However, when you want to bring a cat home, it is advisable to let the cats work it out.
Observe the eyes, ears, and tail of your cat. This way, you can be able to decipher what he is trying to tell the other cat. At first, your cats will engage in physical contact when saying hello. They will do so by rubbing each other’s nose. Sometimes, however, cats will use other cues such as ears, eyes, and tail in order to read communication between them.
For instance, when there is a new cat in the household, pay attention to both of them. If your older cat appears confident, he will have his eyes relaxed. He might even blink slowly in order to let the new cat know that he is welcome.
On the other hand, if he does not agree with his presence, your cat might react angrily towards him. Once again, observe his eyes and ears to be able to tell what your cat feels about the changes. If he has wide-open eyes, it might not be all safe as this indicates some kind of hostility.
In addition, cats rollover as a friendly gesture, especially to welcome other cats. Therefore, it is possible that your cat already likes the new cat if he gets in this position.
Purring and other vocalization
Even though cats will rarely use vocalization to communicate their counterparts, purring is quite common amongst felines. Usually, cats purr when they are content and happy. Most cat owners have witnessed their cats lying next to each other while at the same purring.
It is known to comfort sad or sick cats. In fact, purring is known to have healing effects when a cat is sick. Thus, it is not uncommon to see cats comforting each other in such a case.
Kittens will also communicate their needs with their mothers only via vocalization. They will meow when they are sick, hungry or when they need their mother to do something about their needs. In addition, kittens are born blind, and thus following their vocalization is their only means of communication.
If you have recently adopted a kitten, you might experience issues with excessive vocalization, just until he adapts to a new home.
Sometimes, cats may not like each other to the extent of saying hello. Rather, if your cat feels somewhat threatened, he is going to hiss and snarl at the object causing fear. If you are just starting out running a multi-cat home, you are going to observe catfights every now and then.
However, ensure that you are providing your cats with enough resources to curb competition. Also, spend time playing and engaging with your cats to make sure that each cat is getting the same amount of attention.
Scents and cat marking territories
As indicated above, it is very natural for cats to communicate with each other through physical contact. Cats will actually use this opportunity to deposit pheromones onto each other’s bodies. When you see your cats rubbing against each other, it means that they are saying hello to each other. They will rub against each other’s necks, nose as well as chin when in this condition
You might also observe your cat rubbing against you or your items. He is only trying to familiarize himself with everything surrounding him. Cats are quite territorial which makes them want to mark everything in the house. It is the only way that he is going to feel safe and comfortable at home.
When you have more than one cat, there is a likelihood that you will have to deal with the marking boundaries. This can be problematic since they will also use their urine to mark their territories. For instance, if a cat is stressed out, he will opt to isolate himself from the others.
And since they are playful in nature, one cat might try to approach the agitated or stressed cat. In order to draw a line, the stressed cat will spray urine and the other cat will have to stay away.
Additionally, when a cat is on heat, he is also going to spray urine to mark. Your cat is trying to communicate with other cats that he is ready to mate. Therefore, ensure that you have neutered and spayed your cats to eliminate issues with cat spraying later on.
Sometimes cats use butt sniffing to greet each other. Usually, this is a practice between cats who really like each other and therefore it can turn out to be quite rare.
Starting out a multi-cat home? Here is what you need to know
In order to be able to set up a multi-cat home, you must be able to understand cat behavior. It is no longer about your relationship with your cat but about a relationship between them. Of course, you want them to get along and get used to living together. However, you cannot force them to get along. It actually gets harder when you have to introduce a new cat to your old cat.
This is not likely to go well unless they have a special liking for each other. Therefore, you might want to take it slow and let them get to know each other on their terms. This way, you will facilitate the successful adoption of a kitty as well as help your older cat adjust to having a companion of his kind.
This is not going to be an easy task but below is a guide to help you introduce the two cats and facilitate a good relationship.
Step one: Prepare an Isolation area before adopting a new kitty
Having spent time with your first kitty, you probably have mastered several cat parenting tips. However, you will need to understand how cats talk and say hello to each other. This way, you can be able to tell when they are comfortable around each other.
Remember that even though cats are social, they are also quite rigid. Cats do not like change and neither do they learn to adapt to changes fast. In fact, some cats get stressed when you change residence or even buy a new item in the house.
Now, bringing another cat home is going to be quite stressful for your other cat. I mean, he is used to being the one in control and given that felines are territorial, he might not accept the new cat. Therefore, it is important to make these arrangements prior to bringing new kitty home.
You should prepare an isolation area from your new cat, which should have everything. For instance, ensure that you install a food station in the house. In addition, make sure that the isolation area, perhaps another room or bathroom, has litter boxes as well.
The goal is to get your new cat to live in that room until they have both gotten used to the idea of living together.
Step Two: Allow them to familiarize with each other
Once you have been able to bring your kitty home, you will need to keep him in the isolated area. In these, he should have everything that he might need including sleeping space, litter box as well as a food station. We already discussed the essentials of this area. It is advisable to bring in the new cat in when the other cat is away.
This way, he will not be conflicted before the new cat can settle in. Note that your new cat might be suffering anxiety due to change of place and so on. Therefore, it would be best to bring him in when it is most comfortable and to avoid any unnecessary conflicts between the two felines.
However, they are going to sniff each other out. Therefore, it is about time they meet! This, however, does not mean that you should hang out. At first, you may want to keep them isolated but in a way that they can see each other.
You can install small baby gates to keep the older cat to pass into the isolation area. Instead, he can see and maybe touch the new cat’s nose as they get familiarized.
This way, you will be aiding the introduction process, hoping that your two cats can finally get along. Understand that you cannot force this process rather you will have to step aside and let them work it out. They are going to have to find a way to cohabitate with each other after all.
Step Three: engage them in playing
Once your cats have gotten to know each other, it is time for them to really meet each other in the same space. Well, cats are quite social but that depends on a whole lot of factors. Even though one cat might be afraid of the other, it will not take long to ensure that they enjoy the company of the other. Now, you should start by playing with your older cat, during the normal routine. This exercise might require another person.
As you keep your cat engage in play, have another person bring in the new kitty. The goal is to engage them in play, as you ease this process for them. This way, your cats are going to find that they have things in common and also learn to trust each other. The process of introducing one cat to another is not exactly smooth. It is going to take some time and therefore you should remain patient through the entire process.
You will notice that the cats will pay attention to each other’s moves. Once they have been able to trust each other, they are going to become the best of friends. You can be able to tell when they are able to socialize with each other when they start engaging in simple acts together.
For instance, if one cat is rolling over, or sitting in a relaxed position, it means that the other cat can now safely be able to approach. You may also observe once the cat slowly blinking at the other, which is also an acknowledgment that he trusts his counterpart. You will have successfully introduced the two cats to each other.
Step four: Be consistent
Consistent is key when you are trying to make two cats cohabitate. You will have to come up with a consistent routine that will ensure that all cats receive the same amount of treatments. On this note, it is important to understand that cats are very territorial.
Therefore, ensure that each cat has his own feeding station as well as litter boxes. This way, you will ensure that there are fewer fights in the household. The daily routine should not change at any given circumstances. This way, you will be making sure that you get to feed your cats, both at the same time. Include some petting time as well as playtime as this is necessary for cats.
Lastly, it is important to understand how cats talk to each other. This way, you can always pick on what they want from each other. You can be able to tell if your cats are friendly to each other or they somehow dislike each other. Observe how they approach each other but also make it safe for all your cats. They should be able to interact with one another once you help them socialize.
Cat-cat communication is still a complex topic that needs further studying. Well, I hope the above tips are going to help you understand what your cats are chatting about.