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.
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.