They say that “Two’s a company but three’s a crowd” but does that apply when it comes to the number of cats in your household?
Before you pull the trigger and bring another cat into the family, there are a number of factors that you need to carefully consider before turning your duo into a trio.
Are there any benefits of getting a third cat?
The case of getting a third cat would largely depend on the current dynamics of your toe resident cats. It is important that the three cats can eventually get along or long amicably. There are also factors like financials and having adequate space to comfortably support three cats.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the considerations that you should make carefully make before having a third new cat.
What Is A Nature Of A Cat?
Before you bring in a new furry friend for your existing two cats, it would be good to further understand the nature of cats.
You might have a very bonded pair at home but cats aren’t as sociable as pack animals like dogs.
When kittens reach a tender age of 12-15 weeks, they are no longer cared for by mommy cat and are forced to leave the nest.
Imagine being so young and having to fend for yourself.
This largely explains why cats are territorial as it their survival largely depends on it. The only time that cats will gather would be to mate.
But of course there are exceptions to the rule.
Feral or stray cats can form their own colonies and live in harmony and develop their own social hierarchy. Female cats will even nurse and look after each other’s litter.
Ultimately, it boils down to the personality of the cat.
I have community cats that will chase away any cat within a 50-meter radius while others will be more welcoming of trespassers.
Is It Too Much To Have Three Cats?
I don’t think anyone can tell you if having three cats is too many or undesirable. I know of many households that have more than three cats and are doing fine.
I also know of pet owners who have one cat and they already find it hard to handle.
Ultimately, the decision that you make should be based on the quality of life for all your cats, including the new one.
There’s no point in having a third cat if everyone is miserable in the end.
What Are The Benefits Of Having Three Cats?
The thought of having three cats at home might make some cat owners out there shudder with fear. But there are upsides that are with considering.
Saving A Life
There are millions upon millions of cats that do not have a forever loving home in the United States alone.
That is just a very sad thought and many of these cats have to be euthanized due to the lack of space in public animal shelters.
I have volunteered at a pet shelter before and it pains me to know that many of these cats will be stuck there till they die.
But if you have the capacity to take in another cat in your home, that is one more cat that can have a forever home and more importantly, one less number in the yearly euthanized statistics.
We can’t save them all but one is better than none.
How’s the current relationship between your two cats?
Are they always playing together or is one more playful than the other?
Having a third cat can help fill the void if one of your current cats is lacking proper feline companionship.
This usually happens when you have a much younger cat and an adult cat or senior. Kittens are little fireballs of endless energy and can play the whole day.
Adult cats would rather spend their days sleeping and relaxing.
So there is a mismatch of energy levels that can result in an irritable older cat and a lonely younger cat
If you have a sibling that is much younger than you, you’ll understand how that feels like.
Having another younger cat in the mix can help provide a playmate with similar energy levels for your kitten. This works great if you have to work and might don’t have the luxury of staying at home and giving your young cat more playtime.
But what if you have two adult cats?
Adding a kitten can help rejuvenate your older cats’ energy and desire to play which is good for them mentally and physically. Or if you have to leave your cats alone at home due to work and having a third cat can help fill the void.
If there’s is one thing that cats enjoy as much as sleeping is to groom themselves.
In fact, a cat can spend up to 5 hours a day keeping itself speck and span. Grooming is important for cats as it helps to keep their fur clean and removes loose or dead hair.
Imagine combing and showering for that long every day. You’ll be a bald prune in no time. But cats are of a different breed.
Having another cat in the mix means another set of tongues to keep everyone in good shape.
What Are The Downsides To Having Three Cats?
Introducing a third cat to your household isn’t always a bed of roses. There are a few things that can go wrong and make you question why you even did it in the first place.
Your Cats Can’t Get Along
I would think that this has to be a cat owner’s biggest nightmare when the cats involved can’t cat along with the new cat.
This can cause a lot of stress, anxiety and conflicts at home.
Your two existing cats might gang up and bully the new cat or the new cat will go all alpha and start being overtly dominant at home. Some cats will exert their dominance by aggressively grooming another cat. Even up to the point of biting off the other cat’s whiskers.
Everyone will hate each other which can cause your cats to pee and poo everywhere out of fear or territory marking.
We can try to influence certain factors but there’s no 100% way to accurately predict how the cats will react to each other down the road.
The bottom line is that it takes money to care for a pet. You will have to get more pet accessories like food and cat litter for your new cat.
Based on my own pet ownership experience, it costs about $700-$1000 a year to care for my cat. That’s assuming that vet bills are kept under control because medical care for your cat can really balloon is your cat requires emergency treatment or is very sick.
You can try to apply for pet insurance which can help to offset some of the medical costs.
More Cleaning Up To Do
Having another cat at home means more cleaning up for you. As of now, I only have one cat but the amount of fur that I see around my home is mind-boggling.
I’m amazed that my cat isn’t bald with all the shedding that he has done over the past decade. And this is with frequent combing on my part.
Be prepared to sweep and mop more often now as the shedding is going to get worse.
Oh yes, if you think that cleaning your current cats’ litter boxes is a headache, getting a third cat will only make it more troublesome.
For all you know, your new cat might just turn out to be a poop monster.
Tips For Having Three Cats
If you have finally made up your mind to get a third cat, there are a couple of things that you can do to make things go a lot smoother for all your cat.
Keep Things Private
Every cat values its privacy and own personal space and with a new cat coming, this aspect of cat ownership becomes even more important.
Regardless of how well your two current cats get along, your new cat should have its own separate items such as:
- Cat bed
- Food and water bowl
- Litter box
These are the three main items that cats see as very valuable resources due to their territorial nature. Things can get dicey when your new cats start using the old cats’ litter boxes. Many cats will see this as an invasion of territory and will fight back.
This can give your cat more ‘me’ time when things start to get too crowded at home.
Free Up Some Space
You don’t need to have a mansion to keep three cats. but you do need some room to give your cats their own private areas.
Even if you live in a one-bedroom apartment, you can still create space for each of your cats by building up instead of sideways.
Many cats prefer to have a high vantage point to give them a bird’s eye view of their surrounding. In the wild, cats tend to do this to scan for potential predators and prey.
You can build cat platforms and resting areas on your walls to allow them to climb up and have their own private spaces.
Make Sure All Cats Are Sterlized
Ensuring that all the cats are sterilized will prevent any unwanted pregnancies or territorial marking.
Cats that are unfixed are a lot more territorial than those than aren’t. They tend to get into fights more and mark their territory with urine.
It is much harder to try and socialize cats that are not fixed.
Get A Good Fit
One way to improve the odds of a peaceful living situation is to get a new cat that will complement the dynamics of the existing cats.
If you have two very energetic cats, getting a new card that isn’t or prefers to be left alone might not be a good fit. You need one that is willing and happy to be running and jumping around with its new siblings.
If your current cats are very social creatures and like hanging out together, get one cat that is confident enough to try and blend in and make friends.
You don’t want to get a cat that is too shy or overly confident as it can start to be an outcast or get too territorial.
Getting a new cat with a good temperament would make things a lot easier
I would suggest fostering a couple of cats to see what makes a good fit for your family. It kills two birds with one stone as you can help prepare another cat for a new life and adopt a foster cat that fits in well with your existing cats.
Don’t Be Nervous
You don’t realize how lucky you are to be able to welcome another cat into your family. Many cat lovers out there would love to have more cats at home but are not able to due to their own reasons.
Don’t be a nervous wreck when you finally bring your new cat home. It is ok to be a little nervous but don’t behave like the whole sky is falling.
Cats are intuitive creatures and can easily pick up on their owners’ emotions.
You don’t want to start your cats off on the wrong foot with all the negative energy.