Three Cats?

misty8723

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Can someone who added a third cat to their house give me some insight on how the dynamics worked. I know all cats are different, and I shouldn't even be thinking about a third cat, but...

I just got these two integrated a couple months ago, and I'm really nervous about upsetting the applecart by bringing another one in.
 

FeebysOwner

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Just giving you support by saying, as I am sure you know, other members on this site will be along soon to help. I am a one-cat household, so I got nothing!!
 

jen

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There is really no answer to this. It is so very very different for each cat individually. You just have to confine the new cat and see how the other 2 react to him behind closed doors and take it one day at a time. Expect hissing and growling and it is a good thing if that happens so they can all learn each others warnings and boundaries.
 

vince

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I took in the third which was a very young kitten and introduced her to two adult neutered males. It went pretty well. I kept her in a closet for three or four days, letting her out to play several hours a day only in an area that I could restrict the others from entering. After that, I gave her the whole bedroom where the closet was, again restricting her access to the others.

She started escaping under the door (old reclaimed door was cut short, probably to clear carpeting). I generally restricted her to the room by blocking under the door, but she did get some access to the other cats at times. There was a lot of hissing and a swat or two, as the little one was quite aggressive. Nothing significant that I had to worry about.

After about 10 days, I started letting her spend some time with the others. Still some hissing on the guys' part, but occasional sleeping together. Gradually, the two guys stopped hissing and began to groom her. After another week or ten days, I figured it was safe to let her have run of the house.

They are well-adjusted after five months, the little one being quite the diva. She gets her way most of the time. The younger of the two males is especially fond of her, routinely playing with and calling if he can't find her.

I figure I was pretty fortunate in that all of the introductions went well. I didn't really push anything, leaving most of the initiative up to the little girl.
 

Elphaba09

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We have nine. Taking the time to introduce them has been key to our success with them. Some have taken longer than others, but we did not have any real problems that were not able to be fixed. Our only "problem" cat has been Tara, a domesticated feral who had bonded with a stray named Simon. We took them both in at the same time, making them #5 and #6. Tara used to stalk and attack Astrid, one of our first two cats. We fixed that with a bit of effort. Other than that, all the others have gone relatively smoothly. (Freya, our "tamed" feral kitten, never really misbehaved, but she took a long time warming up to the other cats and the humans in my family.)

Do you have the time for proper introductions? Do you have the patients in case things take longer than expected?
 

catlover73

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12 years ago I added a 6 week old kitten to my household. At the time I had 2 adult brother cats who had been together since birth. I was not looking for a third cat at the time. Starbuck was six weeks old when I adopted her but was abandoned as a 4 week old baby. My boys were around 7 years old at the time. Starbuck acted like she owned the place and puffed her little self up and hissed at the boys the first time she saw them. She even smacked one of them and he ran away from her.

One of my boys Tegato took to her immediately. He took on the mother role and really taught her manners and boundaries. She thought it was cute to ask for playtime by biting heads and he taught her that was not acceptable very quickly. Tegato also taught Starbuck how to navigate stairs. I had to teach her biting noses was not an acceptable way to say I love you. I was very lucky that everything worked out as well as it did.

Each cat has their own personality so it really is hard to say how they would react to a new companion. Be prepared to go through an introduction process if you decide to do this. Some cats adjust better than others. I have 2 cats that have lived together since 2010 that still sometimes have disagreements. The disagreements are generally just a hiss or growl from my oldest female cat Starbuck toward my male cat Sonny. She does not like it when he grooms her unless she starts it by grooming him first. They exist peacefully for the most part but it was a noisy adjustment at first. Starbuck never lashes out and Sonny does not react back.

I actually added a 4th cat in 2014 when a 7 week old male kitten named Casey adopted my hubby by running up his arm and perching on his shoulder while he was buying cat food. Casey had much better manners than Starbuck did. He never hissed or growled at anyone. My 3 adults bonded with him quickly. He bonded very quickly with Apllo who is a year older than him. They still play together to this day. Sonny was raised in a multi-cat household before I adopted him so he accepted Casey immediately. He pretty much left Starbuck alone until she decided to interact with him. I got really lucky twice.
 
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Animal Freak

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I integrated two kittens into a house with two three year old males, but rehomed one of the kittens, so I'm at three cats now. It went well enough. We had the mother of the two kittens, but she was highly cat-aggressive and was kept separate. Once the kittens were old enough to be away from their mother for a little bit we started letting them out. The boys had places they could get away from the kittens, but they were alright as long as the kittens didn't get too close. There was a little bit of growling, but the boys would just leave rather than fight.

Now, four years later, I have the female kitten, my two older males, and a dog who was integrated in maybe a year or so after the kittens. It's not perfect. The female cat is sensitive and insecure, I think because of her feral father. She has the instincts to survive outside though not the confidence. And because she's female she seems to have some motherly instincts. She tends to be a bit bossy when she feels the other two are out of line and lashes out at one of my males when she feels threatened. I think only him because, while he's the biggest of the three, he's the easiest target. The other male is sort of "untouchable" due to sheer confidence.

However, for the most part their relationships are great. I had the female and the male she lashes out at sleeping on my lap together earlier today. I've seen them all play together and groom each other, but they're all closer to me than they are to each other.

The thing with introducing another cat is that there's a lot of different factors that go into it. My two boys are purebred Napoleons, bred for temperament. They're laidback cats. It was easy introducing cats to them. There's problems now not because having three cats is a whole lot different than having two, but because that third cat is sensitive. So it comes down to the temperaments of your current cats, the temperament of the cat you get, the space you have to do introductions, the patience and time you have, the ages of the cats you have and the age of the cat you get...

My concern is that you said you just integrated these cats a couple of months ago. Cats are extremely sensitive to change and these two are just forming their relationship. I'd be worried about upsetting the balance between them and possibly ending up with redirected aggression.
 

radarlove413

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We're going through this right now. We had our second cat for 2 years before adopting our newest one. We wanted to wait until their relationship was stable, since Don is an alpha and there was a bit of fighting occasionally to sort out the hierarchy. This introduction is taking a long time, since our alpha is pretty scared of the new guy, and loves to take out his misdirected fear aggression on Dunlop.
 

duncanmac

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We just did this as well and we were also worried that a new addition would ruin the chemistry the cats had built. We added a 12 week old female kitten to the mix with our 2 two year old boys. Everyone is neutered. The boys are big boys - 14-16 pounds and the kitten is tiny - she's right around 7 months and around 6 pounds.

Duncan is our alpha cat, Barry is our shy former feral who LOVES Duncan. Their introduction was rocky mostly because Barry was so shy but they had been together for about 18 months and had a good friendly relationship. There was a spat here and there, but nothing bad.

As a former feral, even after a year, Barry was still unsure of me although he was pretty friendly and would accept pets and play but he was very skittish with sudden moves or noise and generally hides when company comes over.

Enter Paisley. We chose a very outgoing kitten so she would be able to handle Duncan's dominance. This was the kitten reaching out of the cage at Petsmart's adoption booth trying to grab the volunteer. Also an absolute cuddle bug. I felt her personality would be very important to keep her from being dominated by Duncan and Barry. I think this is what helped the introduction go quick and smooth.

After a day in the safe room, the boys were outside the door and curious - so I put up a baby gate and let them look at each other. Both boys hissed, Paisley just kind of watched. The next day Duncan hissed but Barry sat and watched Paisley - he was curious and calm. I did the gate thing for a few more days with less hissing from Duncan. I was basically waiting for the weekend so I would have more time. Put the kitten in our room and let the boys explore her room. Later that day I let Paisley loose but supervised and there was some hissing and boundary setting, but nothing bad. By the next weekend she had the run of the house.

Things that have changed: Both boys personalities have come closer together. Duncan is still the boss but less dominant (Paisley is a little goofball who just doesn't care) and Barry is more outgoing and cuddlier. He will also come out for company if I am around. Barry is also a "cat's cat" he LOVES LOVES LOVES his cat siblings and is thrilled to be around them.

Things I didn't expect: Paisley dominates everything. She is first for food, takes over play sessions, and if she wants to be petted she has no problem pushing the boys out of the way. And the boys back off and take it. Paisley also chases the boys around and is chased by them (one at a time). Its funny to watch a little ball of fluff chase the big boys. Also, at first they were really confused by the kitten and just didn't know what to do. She's bigger now so that has reduced some, but they are still befuddled at times.
 
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misty8723

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I've enjoyed reading all these stories! I should explain a little more why I'm even thinking about a third cat. Sorry if this gets long. I lost my beloved Swanie, my heart cat and soul mate, in early October. I'm still grieving and will be for a long time I think. However, we have Cricket and wanted her to have a companion and someone a little younger who might like to run around with her and play. Swanie was about 13 and unbeknownst to me, he had a whole lot of health issues that he hid much too well. That's a story for another day. Also, DH wanted a cat who would come around and visit with him during the day (he is retired and spends a lot of time in his home office). Cricket is a sweetheart, but mostly sleeps during the day and doesn't visit with him much, whereas Swanie liked to hang out in there a lot.

We went "cat shopping" at the rescue where I volunteer. I wanted a cat closer to Cricket's age (3), but there weren't any that seemed might be compatible. Then we met Austin. I have other threads about Austin and the process leading up to our adopting him and the integration process with Cricket, but to capsalize, Austin was resuced as a kitten from a kill shelter, raised by one of the fosters at the shelter, and adopted out as a kitten. The people who had adopted him brought him back to the rescue because he was peeing outside the box. They never bothered to take him to the vet, and of course he had a UTI. At first they didn't find crystals and later they did, so it looked like he would have to be on SO food. We had already planned to adopt him based on what we were told about his relatively laid back personality and loving nature, but the food issue had us backing off. Cricket will hardly eat any wet food and likes to graze on her dry food. I didn't know how we would keep Austin away from it and didn't like to deprive Cricket or make too many changes in her life.

After we backed away from Austin, we began looking at other cats. There were three that seemed possible, but none of them were through the program yet and not ready to be adopted. One was way younger than I wanted (6 months), one was about the same age as Austin (1 year 2 months or so), and the other was 3. I liked them all, but was gravitating toward the 3 year old. I/we spent some time with him, he was shy but eventually he would come over and loved being petted and purred. I was pretty sure we would be adopting him as long as we found out he could get along with other cats.

However, somewhere along the way, I began to think about Austin almost obsessively. I started doing research, talked to the vet, etc. and we decided that we could manage the food issue and we wanted Austin. The integration process took longer than it has with any of our other cats. Swanie in particular was such a laid back, social boy that mostly he would say hi! I'm Swanie! Welcome to the house! Cricket was great, didn't take her too long at all to become friendly with him, so we figured maybe she would be okay bringing in a new cat. Well, she wasn't. We had Austin in the master bathroom and let him out in the bedroom during the day. First with the door closed then later with stacked baby gates. Cricket either ignored him or hissed and growled. DH is NOT very patient and figured Cricket was growling because he wasn't out with her. I fought the good fight and won and we kept him in the room until I felt comfortable we could have supervised visits. Austin was very laid back, he would go up to her, she would hiss or growl, and he would walk away. I only ever heard one hiss out of him. I never saw any signs of aggression, so it was just a matter of them getting to know each other.

Anyway, fast forward to now, a little over two months later, and they are getting along good. They play together and are fine in each other's company. Cricket is not a snuggler and I haven't seen any of that (although Austin snuggles with us), but I have seen a little bit of grooming.

Now to get back to the other three cats we had interest in. All three got adopted, but I see that whoever adopted the 3 year old (Micah) has brought him back. I now find myself thinking about Micah again. I know it's wrong to bring another cat in right now (or maybe ever), but it breaks my heart that Micah is back in the shelter and I do like him quite a bit.

Anyway, that's my story. I think Austin might be okay with it, he has settled in, but I don't really want to put Cricket through that again.

So again thank you all for your lovely stores and for helping me to realize it's not the right thing to do right now.
 

duncanmac

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You do have to look at the whole ecosystem when bringing in a new cat.

The balance we had between Duncan and Barry was improving but delicate and I was very worried that a third cat would cause problems but also felt that a kitten would be accepted easily. I also didn't want to go through a months long integration process again. Eventually we decided to risk it with the right cat - Paisley was not the cat we were looking for. I wanted a tuxedo boy and my wife wanted another orange tabby boy. We looked at a few cats at our local shelter and none of them clicked until we say Paisley.

But I have to say, we have gotten incredibly lucky with three cats with great dispositions.
 

di and bob

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I would definitely gravitate towards a boy. As you have found out females are USUALLY little divas and run the household with an iron paw. They love nothing more then to boss boys around. They are usually not snugglers either (although I have one now, out of about 15 females) Austin would love a buddy, someone he could wrestle with,believe me, Cricket is just being a normal little female, you shouldn't have any problems at all! PS I have three right now, a mama and her two sons from different litters. They sleep together at night but the boys forget and try to jump on her once in a while to play, they don't do THAT again for a while!
 
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misty8723

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I don't think Cricket is that much of a diva, but maybe Austin would disagree. I more likely see her back off when Austin wants something (like the tree. Austin seems to think that "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine) and will not let her be on the tree most of the time. Cricket is sweet, loving, friendly, likes to be with us, but not ON us. And I never saw her snuggle with Swanie although they sometimes slept close together. Cindy was our little calico girl and she was definitely a snuggler. Won't find another one like her (or Swanie) in my lifetime I don't think.
 
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