So, you are thinking about getting a third cat? If you already have two cats, maybe the leap to a third cat is an easy decision. On the other hand, if you already have two cats that get along well, do you really want to rock the boat, as a third cat may not get on with the existing cats?
It would be useful if there was a way to gauge cats’ personalities. However, it is usually a fair bit of guesswork and hoping that we have made the right choice.
Why Do You Want A Third Cat?
It is a good idea to give this idea the time and thought it needs, as adding a third cat to your family is a big commitment.
Sometimes it’s the kids who first plant this seed of an idea. In our case, it was when visiting the vet. The vet always had a cat “on show” that was up for adoption. Say no more, the kids were besotted.
Things To Think About Before Getting A Third Cat
1. Personality Of All The Cats
When considering adding a third cat to the home, it’s important to consider the current cats’ personalities.
In many cases, the resident cats will have formed a close bond and become inseparable buddies. Adding a new cat can disrupt this close relationship and lead to jealousy and fighting. As a result, it’s important to ensure that the new cat is compatible with both of the other cats in terms of personality.
Ideally, the new cat should be sociable and easy-going, with a laid-back attitude that will help diffuse any tensions that may arise. With careful consideration and a little bit of luck, adding a third cat to the home can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved.
2. Cost Of An Additional Pet
There is also the cost of adding an additional pet to the family. Granted, you will already have basic supplies because of being a cat owner. However, the cost of caring for another cat should be taken into consideration.
Calculating the approximate additional expenses incurred by a third cat, such as the cost of feeding the cat, purchasing cat litter and litter boxes, going to the veterinarian, purchasing flea medication, purchasing bedding, and miscellaneous costs for those added extras would be a straightforward exercise.
This costing exercise can be an eye-opener when we see just how much our pets can cost. We don’t notice small costs here and there, but they can add up quickly. Other costs may arise over time.
3. Is Everyone In Agreement?
This can be a sticking point if not all family members or house occupants are keen on getting a third cat. Some family members may teeter on the point of not being sure. If this is the case, this article talking about the reasons to own a cat may give you some pointers for cat ownership persuasion.
4. Time Commitment
Do you have the time to devote to a third cat? That doesn’t mean just feeding and providing physical needs, but also loving and playing with another cat. Another cat on the bed? Is this what you really want? Yes, I can hear you say, or no way!
5. Is There A Limit On The Number Of Cats You Can Have Legally?
Where I live, there is a limit of no more than three cats over the age of three months for each property. Check the requirements in the locality where you live.
Some Guidelines For Introducing The Third Cat Into The Home
The first thing you’ll want to do is create separate spaces for each cat, with their own food, water, litter boxes, beds, and toys. This will help to reduce territorial disputes and make everyone feel more comfortable.
The new cat, ideally, needs a health check by a vet. You want to make sure that there are no health concerns, or if there are health concerns and you are okay with that, you will have advance warning of any special needs.
Once the cat’s state of health is established, it is time to begin getting acquainted with the new cat. It’s a process that can be divided into three steps.
1. Isolate The Cat In A Separate Room
Keep the new cat or kitten in a different room for a couple of days. It gives all parties some time to become accustomed to the presence of each other without any direct confrontation. The new cat will become comfortable in its new surroundings. All your cats will be able to smell each other even though they are not in direct contact. Begin by letting them see and smell each other under the door of a room where they can’t physically interact.
For faster acclimatization, bring some of the new cat’s items such as bedding, towels, or toys to share with your resident cats.
2. Introduce The New Cat (In A Pet Carrier)
After a couple of days of isolating in a separate room, it is time to introduce the three cats. Then, confine one cat to a pet carrier while the other roams freely.
This will allow the cat to feel safe and secure while also being able to see and sniff the other cats in the home. It is important to let the cats get used to each other’s scent before letting them out of the carrier.
Once they have had a chance to sniff each other, you can open the carrier and let the new cat explore its new home at its own pace. The other cats may hiss or growl at first, but as long as you provide plenty of supervision, they should soon learn to accept each other.
3. Introduce The New Cat (Direct Contact)
Finally, let them have supervised visits in the same room in a neutral space until they seem relaxed around each other. With time and patience, your cats should be able to learn to coexist peacefully.
Adopting A Kitten Or An Adult Cat
Adopting A Kitten
There are a number of advantages to adopting a kitten into a home with adult cats.
A kitten because of its young age is more likely to be accepted by adult cats.
Kittens are also less likely to challenge the established hierarchy of the household, making for a more harmonious home.
Kittens can provide companionship and playfulness that older cats might appreciate.
Adopting a kitten may help to prolong the life of an adult cat by providing them with companionship and stimulating their mind and body.
Adopting An Adult Cat
There are several advantages to adopting an adult cat into a home with other adult cats.
Adult cats are more independent than kittens, and they are usually already litter box trained. This can make them easier to integrate into a home with other grown cats.
Adult cats have typically had more time to socialize and learn how to get along with other cats. As a result, they are less likely to fight with the resident cats and are more likely to form bonds with them.
Adopting an adult cat can provide companionship for a senior cat who might otherwise be lonely.
Can Three Cats Live In A Small Apartment?
Yes, three cats can live in a small apartment – as long as the apartment is set up to meet their needs. Cats are social creatures, so it’s important that they have plenty of opportunities to interact with each other.
This can be achieved by providing vertical space for them to climb and explore, as well as plenty of toys and scratching posts to keep them occupied.
We had a purpose-built cat window shelf for our cat that actually had a ramp leading up to it so the cat could casually stroll to the top. A big space saver for an apartment. Of course, you don’t need to make one as there are many fantastic designs on the market.
It’s also important to provide each of the three cats with its own separate dishes for food and water, as competition for resources can lead to conflict.
With a little planning and effort, three cats can happily coexist in even the smallest of homes.
It is also easy to use a litter box enclosure to conceal or store a litter box if you want to keep it out of sight.
How Long Does It Take A Cat To Get Used To A New Cat?
It typically takes a cat about two weeks to get used to a new cat in the house. This adjustment period can be shorter or longer depending on the personalities of the cats involved and how well they already know each other.
If the cats have met before and gotten along well, they may only need a day or two to adjust to living in the same house.
However, if the cats are strangers or have had negative experiences with each other in the past, it may take them longer to develop a rapport.
During this adjustment period, it’s important to give the cats plenty of space to explore and get comfortable with their new surroundings.
Providing them with vertical territory, such as perches and scratching posts, can also help them feel more secure as they navigate their new home.
Does Gender Matter When Getting The Third Cat?
You may not have a choice in gender when getting a third cat, but there are some points to consider. Two males are more likely to fight for dominance, while two females are more likely to bond with each other.
If you’re considering adding a third cat to your home, it’s best to choose one of the opposite gender to your current cats. This will help to reduce the risk of fighting and increase the chances that everyone will get along.
Make sure that you are confident that all three cats get along well together before leaving them alone in the same space.
If you’re not confident that all three cats get along, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep them in separate spaces.
There are a few ways to tell if cats are getting along
One is by observing their body language. If they are relaxed and comfortable around each other, they are likely to get along well.
Another way to tell is by their play behavior. Cats who enjoy playing together are typically good friends.
Finally, you can look for signs of conflict, such as hissing, growling, or avoidant behavior.
If you see any of these red flags, it’s best to keep the cats separate.
Cats are social creatures and thrive when they have companionship
In the wild, cats live in groups, or “clans,” and they form close bonds with other members of their clan.
As domestic cats have evolved, they have retained this social nature. For many cats, living with two or three other cats is the ideal situation. It provides them with the opportunity to form close relationships while still giving them the freedom to explore their own space.
Of course, not every cat is suited to living in a large group. Some cats are simply too shy or too independent to do well in a multi-cat household.
But for most cats, being part of a three-cat family is a happy and enriching experience.