threes company, four is a disaster!

by Karen Carlson
(Eagan, MN, USA)

I was the owner of 3 cats (2 males, 1 female) all adopted and various times throughout the past 7 years. The first, a male, came to us at 6 weeks of age. I adopted the second male about 9 months later because the first one needed a friend. (the second male was 5 years old when adopted). The female came to us a few years later and was 8 weeks old. All lived very happily together. Last summer, my oldest boy passed away. By Fall, I was ready to adopt again. I ended up adopting two males - both were 4 years old. So to recap - I now have one male about 7 years old, one female and 2 new males - all about 4 years old. Unfortunately, not all is well. The two original cats are not taking well to the two new cats. I have tried the pheramone "plug ins" and that seemed to help the old male tolerate the two new ones. My problem is the female. She is still very agressive toward the 2 new boys. (the two new boys are VERY timid and are definately on the bottom of the heirarcy ladder!!) My first thought was the whole territory issues - but lately, I've been wondering if it has more to do with being the only female in the house. While I hesitate to bring another cat into the house - if a second female would help the "attitude", I'd be willing to give it a shot. What do you think?? And if so, I would assume that a younger cat would be better?? Curious to hear your feedback. Let me know if you'd like any further details....

(by the way, all cats are sterilized and de-clawed.)

Answer from Kate
Definitely no. Unfortunately it is a mis conception by us humans that cats like us can learn to get along with each other. this simply is not always true.

Cats are not pack animals like dogs and so do not like to live in close contact with other cats unless they have been brought up together from a young age. At best they can learn to tolerate each other by giving each other a wide berth but this means the conflicts etc.

Female cats are worse than males especially if another female cat is around so getting another female could be a big mistake and just make tings worse.

It sounds completely normal what you have described and should settle down a time goes by and all the cats fin their own place in the home and decide who is top cat etc. But as i say this will not mean there wont still be fights etc

I have a page about this issue which you may find of further interest here

best wishes kate

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