Maya, Siyah and Tingu are cats who have very unique personalities and this makes them quite territorial and aggressive. Aparna Sen and her husband Ganesh took quite a while to figure out how to get them to live in their two-bedroom apartment, without fighting every day. Even though they were adopted at different points of time, it took a while for them to adjust living under the same roof and the couple tells us how it was possible.
“We first brought Maya home — we didn’t know we were going to because adopting her happened out of the blue. It was only a year later we got Maya, followed by Tingu after four months,” she says. This is the first step: if you wish to adopt multiple cats, it’s best to bring them at least a year apart. She elaborates, “This will give enough time for each one to mark their territory and find a comfortable spot.”
While many animal experts recommend keeping each pet’s water and food bowls separately, this duo tried something different. “Cats are animals of habit so right from the beginning, we trained them to eat and drink out of the same bowls. Since all the cats had sufficient time to get used to the surroundings, they have made peace with using the same bowls,” says Ganesh. Aparna adds, “Since Maya is the eldest, he eats first and then Tingu. Siyah eats in solitude only when no one’s around.”
Despite their best efforts, there are days when fights break out. “I’ve gotten scratched on multiple occasions trying to physically separate them. So the best way is to gently tap them or the floor with a broom or newspaper so they’ll back off,” she says. “We read somewhere that pouring water on two animals that are fighting is supposed to help but in our case they started fighting even more and chunks of fur were flying around the house!”
Ultimately, they figured out the best solution was to neuter all three — “But for those who aren’t comfortable with it, they can start letting the cats go outdoors and by default, they’ll stop marking territories inside the house,” feels Ganesh. “However, it’s best to avoid letting kittens that are below eight or 10 months outside. They will still be prone to infections or might get grievously injured. Before you take any major step, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian,” he concludes.