BILLI SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON
Good or bad?
Multi-cat households can work well under the right circumstances. There are 3 important factors that influence success
a) compatability of the cats within the group
b) availability and accessibility of resources
c) population density of the cats in the territory
Considering COMPATIBILITY siblings that have been brought up together often represent the best pairing, particularly if there was evidence of sociability with each other as kittens & their temperaments remain complementary.
If the multi-cat household is established with a number of cats within it, then it is possible that they don't form a single cohesive group. Once cats mature, they can form sub-groups - pairs, factions of 3 or more, and singletons. These individual groups then cohabit within the territory making every effort to avoid other groups and remain at a distance. If these social groups can be identified then, in theory, an optimum environment can be provided that distributes cat resources within the home to take into consideration the need of each individual group not to share with another.
There are no reliable, predictive tests for compatibility in cats. A kitten will be easier to introduce to an adult cat because it does not represent such a territorial threat. The sequence for introducing adult cats should be similar to that for kittens with the exception of the "kitten pen". The adult cat should not be confined in anything smaller than a room during the introduction.
Considering AVAILABILITY & ACCESSIBILITY of RESOURCES cats do not share important resources with other social groups. These resources include everything a cat may need to thrive in a domestic environment - food, water, litter trays, beds, high resting places, hiding areas, scratching posts, entry/exit points and toys.
If these resources are provided in sufficient numbers & distributed so that locations chosen are accessible for each cat or social group's core area (where they spend most of their time) then tension and conflict can often be avoided. As a rule of thumb for each resource provide one per cat plus on extra, positioned in different locations.
Considering POPULATION DENSITY in the AREA - the external population of cats has an impact, with a high population density potentially creating high levels of distress- even if cats are housed indoors, they can observe others through windows. Therefore, a strategy to avoid conflict may be to limit households to 2 cats in areas of high cat population density, consider a secure garden to exclude other cats and the use of safe deterrents if cats are coming into the garden & bothering indoor cats.