Petplan customer Dean Gore’s three cats just love each others’ company! Here, he explains how to help cats get along at home – and what a difference his feline family members have made to the household.
Many of us know the comfort and companionship having a pet can bring, but Dean had no idea just how important his cats would become to him and his partner Nicola during lockdown – or how well they would all get along.
‘I fell in love with Bear when he was a couple of weeks old,’ says Dean, who acquired Bear from his friend Becky, a breeder of British Shorthairs.
‘The moment he climbed up my legs, curled up in my arms and fell asleep, I knew that he was going to be more than just a pet to me and Nicola.’
Bear was the first cat the couple introduced to their home in Wigan. But within months, they had also brought home Bee, followed by Nugget – Bear’s daughter.
Dean, who works in training for the construction industry, says that he and his partner Nicola, a nurse, always wanted more than one cat. ‘When we got Bee, Covid-19 was rife and we were both at work all day,’ he says, ‘so we decided on a second cat as company for Bear.’
Introducing new cats to the home
Bringing Bee home was nerve-wracking, because Dean and Nicola didn’t know how Bear would react. But they needn’t have worried, as the two cats became firm friends from day one: ‘They play together constantly,’ says Dean.
Then, another feline friend joined the family unit. ‘We wanted a cat from one of Bear’s first litters, so when he was of age, we put him to one of our friends’ cats,’ explains Dean. ‘Nugget is the naughty one; she won’t stop pestering us until someone plays with her!’
Again, the couple were careful about introducing their new kitten to the other cats. ‘We kept them separate at first,’ says Dean. ‘When they finally met, it was amazing. There was no hissing, just plenty of grooming from Bear, who is such a loving boy.’
Bonding as a family
Not all cats are best friends immediately, so Dean is delighted that his feline family members have bonded so successfully. ‘It’s awesome to see them all getting on so well,’ he says. ‘Bear is the leader of the clan; he keeps the other two in check. He gets along with both of them and has established his authority by cleaning them.’
The cats are not only great company for each other, but also for Dean and Nicola: ‘They’re independent and look after themselves, but if you give them love, they reward you with special moments – and it’s great to see cats getting along with each other,’ says Dean. ‘Bear holds a massive piece of my heart, and the arrival of the others has made the joy complete.’
How to help cats get along
Dean has a number of suggestions for helping cats bond and share a home. ‘We have an area set out for the cats with cat towers, balls, food and toys,’ he says. ‘And it’s important that they each have individual attention.
‘They’re fed together with individual bowls, and have separate water fountains,’ he continues. ‘There has been no fighting, and I think that’s because of the advice from the breeder. Becky suggested ways of helping cats get used to each other, including having extra beds, bowls and toys, and giving them all more play time.’
Dean has also taken other steps to create a cat-friendly home . ‘People worry about cats scratching furniture , but if you have enough scratching posts, they won’t,’ he says. ‘We have beds with deep cushions to relax them; it enables them to knead as they do when getting milk from their mums.’
Will the couple be introducing any more feline friends to their home? ‘There are no more cats coming,’ smiles Dean, ‘it’s only a small apartment, just big enough for us.’ However, there is soon to be a sixth family member, as the couple are expecting their first baby. No doubt the cats will welcome the new arrival with their own brand of feline love.
Are your cats the best of friends? Share a snap on social media using the tag #PethoodStories – we’d love to see them!