Caring for Multiple Cats

by jptanabe

I love cats, but taking care of multiple cats definitely multiplies the work as well as the joy!

I started writing this when I was asked to write about a hobby. So, I thought, what's my hobby! Well, hobbies are generally activities undertaken for pleasure, and usually in one's spare time - which actually means you don't have any free time if you have a hobby. Indeed, I often find a lack of free time and one thing that contributes to that situation is the fact that we have multiple cats.

Having multiple cats are wonderful - it multiplies the joy of having a cat. It also multiplies the work though, taking up lots of my spare time. So, I reckon caring for multiple cats qualifies as a hobby!

"Kitty Family" by Jenn Ski at Amazon

Our cats

Currently we have only two cats.

Sadly we lost our other two over the past year: Mister cat, the stray who adopted us and was our funny "joy bringer"; and Princess who certainly took her royalty seriously, never dirtying her dainty paws and constantly supervising everything (and everyone) with no tolerance for anything substandard.

Now we have:

  • Leo - our littlest (but not youngest). She's the cutest little fluff ball who still acts like a kitten despite her relatively advanced age. Although she gives the appearance of being a delightful pretty little cat, she has the scariest growl, which she uses on any other cat who comes too close.
  • Pippin - another cat who showed up needing a home. He actually showed up at my daughter's house, but now she's in a small apartment so he's moved in with us. He's a silly "adventure cat" - loves to roam the outdoors looking for fun.

Our cats

Leo likes to "take care" of laundry
Leo likes to "take care" of laundry
Jennifer P. Tanabe
Leo is cute - but don't disturb!
Leo is cute - but don't disturb!
Jennifer P. Tanabe
Pippin learning to venture outside
Pippin learning to venture outside
Jennifer P. Tanabe
Pippin off on an adventure
Pippin off on an adventure
Jennifer P. Tanabe

How many cats do you have?


Cats must be rewarded

So, what does it take to take care of multiple cats?

However many cats you have, giving them treats will be part of your life. They expect to be rewarded for a number of things: Bringing "offerings" of birds or small mammals (hopefully dead) is one; allowing you to minister to their needs is another (like applying flea control substances, checking on injuries); and sometimes their mere existence deserves a special treat (face it, they know their purring presence is enough to make us happy!).

Did we hear "Treats"?

Lounge Cats II Prints by Kevin Snyder
Lounge Cats II Prints by Kevin Snyder

Cats have great hearing - they hear you when you get close to their treats! And they all line up in expectation.

It's definitely best to buy treats created for cats and not give them too much human food. As an exception I give canned tuna to our cats - they like it better than canned cat food and I buy a cheap kind in bulk so it works out well. They also enjoy pieces of turkey in the holiday season! But other than that, their main treats come from the cat food department.

When you have multiple cats they will need multiple types of treats! Here are some that at least one of my cats enjoys; sometimes even two will be happy with the same kind.

I found them - so can I have my treat?
I found them - so can I have my treat?
Jennifer P. Tanabe


Cats must have water to drink. This isn't exactly the bowl we have for the cats' water, but it's almost the same.      

It is made of heavy stoneware so it doesn't tip over or even slide all over the floor. Great attributes for a water dish. It's actually quite pretty too with its paw print design.  

The Reality: Cats find water in lots of places

At least one of our cats can often be found in the bathroom. Pippin loves to drink from the faucet in the bathtub - he'll cry until someone comes to turn the water on for him. 

Pippin also has been known to drink from the toilet, and Leo seems to be learning this trick too! So it is not unusual to find a cat in this position.

The Big Black Cat, cat drinking out of toilet, cat sleeping in sink, cats in bathroom with striped wallpaper, cat under rug, cat shelf
The Big Black Cat, cat drinking out o...
Even the birdbath!

Another favorite drinking spot is our bird bath!

It's not one of those on a pedestal; it's like a big basin made of rock and concrete on the hillside facing the kitchen window. So I can look out and see the birds lining up to take a bath there in the morning. Some days, though, I look out and see a cat sitting in the birdbath (when it's dry) apparently waiting for those nice birdies to come and play!

If I go out and fill the birdbath before I even get back inside, a cat, usually Pippin but sometime Leo, will be head down lapping at the water. The birds just stay in the trees waiting for their turn!

Tabby Cat In The Bird Bath by Jamie Wogan Edwards
Tabby Cat In The Bird Bath by Jamie Wogan Edwards


Yes, beds are good!

You know cats are capable of sleeping 20 hours a day, more at times! So beds are clearly of great importance to them. But when you have multiple cats you may find that the human beds don't always offer enough places for each cat to truly experience a good sleep and many good naps.

This works for me!
This works for me!
Jennifer P. Tanabe
I'm comfortable like this!
I'm comfortable like this!
Jennifer P. Tanabe

We bought them a bed

Although fully aware that cats find a good place to sleep without having a special bed bought for them, we were tempted by the offerings of cat beds and finally bought one.

This is a really cute and comfortable cat bed. It comes in different colors and patterns too - we got a leopard print one. The soft walls can be pushed down to make a bed or stand up to make a cube that provides total seclusion. As you can see, Leo enjoys it that way!

The inside is fluffy and soft, very attractive and warm! In the summer when it gets too hot you might have to remind your cats to sleep on the top - otherwise you might find a "cooked" cat half in and half out of the cubby seeking some cooler air!

I like it inside!
I like it inside!
Jennifer P. Tanabe

Some Practical Necessities

What's This? Better be something good!
Ice Cats

Scratching Post

Yes, cats do need to scratch and they'll scratch up your furniture given half a chance! My husband has designed various protections for the couch so that helps. We finally bought a scratching post and it's been moderately successful. It gets some use and has lasted well.

This 32-inch post is covered with sisal, which is the perfect surface for cats to scratch, and it's tall enough (and sturdy enough) for them to climb up while scratching!

Flea Control!

If you have multiple cats you have multiple chances of getting fleas! And of course if one cat gets fleas soon they will all have fleas. So just use the flea control stuff on all of them!

We use Advantage II on our cats every month throughout the year. Yes, it's a bit expensive, but worth it compared to having to deal with cats with fleas in your home. One year we stopped using it in November thinking it was all frozen outside so the fleas were gone, and then December was warm and the cats got fleas - never again!

Pill Pockets

The best way to give cats pills

Yes, if you have multiple cats you have a high chance that one of them will get sick. Now, you know giving cats pills is not usually a fun or successful enterprise! So, the best chance you have is to use these Pill Pockets - you put the pill inside, close it up, and give it to your cat as a treat!

Pill Pockets for cats make it almost easy to give cats their medicine! They come in 2 flavors - Chicken and Salmon. So you have a reasonable chance of finding one they like. Or, just keep switching them around so they don't get tired of them!

Litter Box

Our cats are happy to go outside in the warmer weather, but Leo refuses to step on the snow and dig at frozen ground in the winter. So we have to provide a litter box. Without spending too much money (well, you could splurge and buy a self-cleaning one!) we bought one that has the key features - a high side to keep the litter inside the box and a cover for privacy.

This isn't quite the model we have, but pretty close. It has built in secure snap latches, a handle, and charcoal filter. And it's big enough for even big and/or messy cats!

Scoopable Lightweight Cat Litter

Once you have a litter box you need kitty litter, and lots of it if you have multiple cats. The scoopable kind is wonderful, and with multiple cats some kind of air odor control is a necessity!

And since there's a lot of litter and scooping, the lightweight variety is a must!


Updated: 06/10/2022, jptanabe
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CruiseReady on 05/10/2015

Walker, Florida Feline just KNOWS it's his home, and we are only here to maintain it , and give him everything he wants.
I was quite interested in learning about the pill pockets - hadn't heard of those before, and they are a brilliant idea!

jptanabe on 05/05/2015

Aww, sorry for your loss of your special cat. I know, no cat can be like my Mister cat, or my Princess, but I can learn to love again!

ologsinquito on 05/05/2015

We used to have cats, but now we're a dog family. One of my now deceased cats stole my heart. No other cat will ever measure up to him.

jptanabe on 05/03/2015

Thanks! I'm sure a new cat will enter your life soon!

jptanabe on 05/03/2015

Oh yes, our cats drink out of the mud puddles too! You're right about the brush - we have one, but Leo hates it and Pippin doesn't seem to understand how it works ...

jptanabe on 05/03/2015

Thanks! Yes, some cats are rather good hunters!

candy47 on 05/03/2015

Loved seeing the pictures of your kitties! I'm temporarily catless but not for much longer.

dustytoes on 05/03/2015

Cats are such funny creatures. They will drink out of a mud puddle instead of their clean water bowl! One of my cats is happy to sleep most of the day and the other is in my face constantly. One product you don't list on this page that I find to be necessary is a brush. My cats love to be brushed. In Spring it removes the excess fur they shed and in summer it often catches the ticks we tend to get. Your cats are cute!

frankbeswick on 05/02/2015

You would have got on well with my mother, who was a cat fanatic. She loved them, and so I grew up with cats. Her last cat was Tarzan, who was a first class hunter, and who outlived her. She was sometimes overawed by his cat hunting-exploits, but she adored him.

jptanabe on 05/02/2015

Thanks! Yes there are expenses that go with caring for these "family members"!

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