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The Social Facilitator

Friend, I will groom you
The scent of our kitty clan
Permeates our lair.

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How to facilitate harmony between rival cats with this easy tip

Last updated May 11th, 2018

How to facilitate harmony between rival cats

In every multi-cat household, there is that one cat that unwittingly performs a very important task; sharing and maintaining the communal scent of the whole group through grooming. In our household of ten cats, this cat is none other than Mr. Jack, the groomer of all cats. 

Cat behaviorists call this the ‘social facilitator’ cat. You could compare this cat to that nice kid in high school who reaches out to the less popular kid and befriends him. He’s confident enough not to care about reputation but believes that everyone counts. For Mr. Jack, it doesn’t matter if you’re not in his circle, he doesn’t discriminate and will happily go around grooming the others, mixing all the scents so that everyone smells the same. This is a vital ingredient in the success of maintaining harmony in a multi-cat household.

Scent is everything for a cat. Every little scent marker in a cat's environment has meaning. It's the key to feeling safe, secure and happy.Click To Tweet

Whether Mr. Jack knows this or not, when there is a grooming session in motion, the tension between the cats automatically decreases.

keeping the communal scent in a multi-cat household

Let me groom you, my friend.

Quick tip: what you can do to facilitate harmony between cats

When two cats do not get along and hissing is the only thing in their vocabulary to each other, try grooming them yourself to pass on the scent to each other. No, not with your tongue! Use a soft brush and groom each cat around the cheek and chin area where the friendly pheromones reside. With time these cats will learn to get along. They might not become fast friends, but it’s also a good way to ‘remind’ each cat of the other’s scent and that they belong to the same group; that there’s nothing to fear or dislike in the other cat.

Watch below as Mr. Jack grooms George outside in the catio tunnel.

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Mr. Jack is our CCSF or Chief Chirpy Social Facilitator. Who is your social facilitator cat? We’d like to hear from the humans and the kitties.

About the author

The Lady Cat

Whiskers make me smile.
Coffee is good for you.
And cats are for life.
Helping cats live enriched lives with their people.
(Yasaar Nakchbendi)


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    • Thanks for dropping by and wonderful that your cats get along. I went over and took a peek at Rosie. For some reason I couldn’t comment but wanted to say how gorgeous she is in her Funday Sunday selfie 🙂

  • Fortunately my cats get on well together and are fine with each other. There is however another cat up the road who was thrown out by his family as they had a baby and they didn’t want him about in case he passed something on to them. Funnily enough he has just been down into our garden and Hannah and Lucy have been rather upset as he tried to get through their cat flap and there was much postering and meowing.

    • Awwe poor kitty, I hope it’s not a permanent situation for him with his family. But funny how some cats easily accept a newcomer and others will not have any of it!

    • That’s so funny, Dexter wants to show the ladies he’s dominant 🙂 Mr Jack also holds the other cat (the one he is grooming) in place with his paw, when they try to ‘overtake’ the grooming session. heh heh

  • So cute! Your photo is adorable! I love seeing kitties grooming each other. That is when you know that they have finally begun to accept each other into their social group. Great tip too!

  • These tips are definitely for me! I’ve adopt 2 kitties but they don’t get on well with each other. Hope that your tips could help my kitties become best friends like Jack and George. Btw, your video is so cute.

  • Thanks a lot for sharing. Your video is really sweet, friend.This will be a very useful tip for cat owners. I really love your idea :*

  • My cats have a hard time getting along with each other at first. One time it got so bad that they actually bit my hands while i was trying to pull them away. Fortunately they get along quite well now but if only i had read your blog before

    • If only there was a magic formula for making them all just like each other from the get go! Sometimes I wish that our ‘pariah’ cat George, just came out and told us why exactly he doesn’t like Charlie MOL. In the end not all the cats are going to be best buds, but they can learn to tolerate each other, like these two eventually did.

      Nice to know your kitties are now getting along well. 😉

  • I have a 7 yr old female and brought home a 8 month old female cat since my other cat passed away. My husband and I did what we heard was the right way to slowly introduce the two. Unfortunately I have a serious problem with the young one hunting, pouncing, hissing and blocking the older cat. We try to let them work it out but it escalates.

    Both are declawed and we live in a small apartment. It’s been about 1 month of this and my husband is considering getting rid of her because it’s like an alley fight every minute. The young cat won’t stop in hunting the other one. We have toys and play with her. I’m home all day with the both of them.

    Any help would be appreciated. I don’t want to give her up.

    • Sorry I only saw this comment now! It sounds like very normal behavior as the younger cat is really in adolescence and has tons of energy! What kinds of toys have you tried? Our younger energetic cats go crazy for “Da Bird” when you swing it around and mimic bird movements. Do ten minutes sessions of play throughout the day to redirect her hunting and pouncing skills onto something else. While you are playing with these rod type toys you have to make her “catch” her prey to feel satisfied from the successful “hunt” and then praise her and give treats.
      Also, reward her with treats when she’s behaving around the older cat.
      Please have a look at my other post about how to deal with a high energy cat. Hit the contact button and let me know if you have any further questions!

  • This is a great tip. I have four cats and two have recently started to not get along at all. One is very aggressive. I will definitely try this grooming technique as they used to sleep together as kittens. Not sure what has changed.

  • Our “Jack” has started to attack the rival– Dad (who he usually got along fine with) because he is the defender also of the oldest cat Sai. Dad & Mom used to attack the older son because he has ocular herpes, and can’t seem to get it under control. Now he is the dominate one and the largest and a bit of a bully; even though he is parially blind. So dad cat stays up in the heights and out of every ones smells. We only have tac brushes, so I shall go and get a soft brush. Thanks for the tip!

    • Hi Pat,

      Thanks for pouncing by! It’s definitely worth a try to get the soft brush. Also try giving them treats at the same time (in the same brushing session) to get them attuned to the idea that the communal brushing session comes with something good 😉

  • I love how you’ve highlighted the important role of Mr. Jack, the social facilitator cat, in maintaining harmony in a multi-cat household. It’s fascinating to see how grooming sessions automatically decrease tension between the cats. Your tip on using grooming to pass on scent and facilitate harmony is really helpful. Mr. Jack truly is a Chief Chirpy Social Facilitator! Thanks for sharing this insightful and heartwarming story.
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