Three cats

Is Getting a Third Cat a Bad Idea?

Have you recently considered adding a new cat to your life? If you already have a couple of cats, and you’re looking to extend your feline family, it’s important to look into the pros and cons of having three cats.

Before you get another cat, consider the age and personality of the cats you already have. According to experts, introducing a new cat into the family should only be done after establishing your present cats’ personality and behavior toward other animals.

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to provide your cats with a safe, happy, and loving home. Make sure you think your decision through thoroughly to prevent losing that special bond you have with your current cats.

To help you make the best possible decision for you and your furry family, read on for everything you need to know about getting a third cat.

Is Having 3 Cats Harder Than 2?

Is getting a third cat a bad idea? It depends on a few different factors. But don’t automatically assume that having three cats will be more challenging than having two.

In most cases, cats are happiest and healthiest when they have feline companionship in the house. It stops them from getting bored or lonely whenever you’re away.

On the other hand, if you’re adjusted to having two cats – and those two cats haven’t experienced change in their lives for a long time – a third cat might change things a little too much for your furry family.

You’ll need to consider your cats personalities, your space, your time, and your budget before bringing a new kitty home. For instance, are your current cats pretty anti-social?

If they don’t get along with other cats (or each other, for that matter!), they probably won’t be too keen on the new kitty either. If they’re super friendly and sociable with other cats, introducing a new feline into the family should be no problem at all.

Think about how much space you have, too. Having three cats won’t be easy if you’re living in a teeny tiny apartment with little outdoor space. Cats like their space. They’ll also each need their own litter tray, and their own food and water bowls. If you’re already struggling for space with the cats you have, you might want to reconsider expanding the furry fam.

The same goes for time and budget. It takes time to take care of pets. And consider the costs too! Will you be able to cover their monthly food bill or any unplanned medical bills?

Think about costs like flea and tick prevention, treats, new bed, toys, litter, and pet sitting fees. If you decide to go on holiday who will look after the extra cat.

Think all of this through before saying yes to cat number three.

3 Cats vs 2 Cats

There’s always a risk of losing that special bond with your cats when introducing a new cat into the home. On the other hand, expanding your cat fam might be the best decision you’ve ever made – both for you and your present cats.

Is getting a third cat a bad idea or will it make your current cats even happier? You should avoid getting another cat when one of your cats is much older, sick, or unsocial; you don’t have adequate time to care for the extra cat; your budget won’t stretch for a third cat; you’re unable to maintain cleanliness.

If you’re going to get a third cat, make sure you consider the dynamic between the new cat and your existing furies. Many experts believe kittens are better matched with older cats so that they have a dominant figure to teach it as it grows. Since older cats are more territorial, there’s less of a risk of friction between a kitten and a mature cat.

Some experts disagree, insisting that it’s better to match the energy levels of cats. If your cat is shy, for instance, bringing a frisky new kitten home may cause him to become stressed and unhappy.

Pros and Cons of Having 3 Cats


Endless Affection

With three cats around, you’ll never be short on snuggles! In some instances, you may end up with all three of them snuggled up to your feet at the same time. If you’re someone who can’t get enough of feline love, getting a third cat can’t be a bad idea. And if you live alone, having extra company isn’t always a good thing!

Never a Dull Moment

Cats are hilarious – sometimes even when they’re sleeping! With three cats, you can almost guarantee there’ll never be a dull moment in your household. So, make sure you have your phone within reach at all times to capture those viral-worthy hilarious cat moments!

Increased Mental Stimulation for Your Cats

Since boredom often leads to anxiety, some experts believe that another set of paws can help keep your other cats mentally stimulated, preventing anxiety and other behavioral issues.

This might not always be the case, particularly if you have old or sick cats, but it can definitely be helpful when all your cats are young, healthy, and in need of constant mental stimulation.

They Hunt Together

Three cats means more hunting for bugs, insects and rats around the house. No one likes to see rats around. At the end of the day they are known throughout history as being disease spreaders. Think the plague and black death. Not that all rats are bad though, some are cute, but you just don’t want to see any in or around your house.

Even if you don’t have mice or rats, having an extra cat can be a great deterrent. They will be less likely to build their breeding ground close to cats.

Cats sometimes eat rats and can deter rats by simply rubbing their bodies up against things. A cats scent can also be picked up by the finely tuned noses of rats, which will keep them far away.

Three musketeers protecting the house from invasion. Now that’s great pest control.

New Found Love and Friendship

Cats can create bonds not just with humans but with other cats too. Normally the best time for cats to become bonded is when their kittens. Introducing older cats may be more challenging to create a bond. However, its still possible. A magical bond with a third cat may be on the horizon.

Next Level Cleanliness

Cats are crazy about cleanliness. You’ve probably noticed Fluffy constantly licking her belly and arms in a bid to get clean. She does it after drinking, after eating, and even after sleeping. However, when multiple cats live in the same house, grooming is taken to a whole new level.

Your cats will assist each other when it comes to cleaning those hard to reach areas like the back of their ears – and back. They’ll be bathing buddies!


The Litter Box Job

If you have indoor cars, it means that you’re responsible for cleaning up their mess. Since every additional cat needs their own litter box, bringing a third cat home means there’s a third litter box to clean.

Do you have the desire and energy for it? If you’re already super busy, you don’t want to add more work to your schedule. Remember, litter boxes need to be cleaned frequently to prevent your cats from going elsewhere in the house. If you think you can handle another feline toilet in your home, go ahead and get that third kitty. If not, you may want to reconsider. It’s A LOT of work and commitment.


Owning three cats is definitely more expensive than owning one or two. In fact, every additional cat you own adds another layer of expense to your life.

There’s the increased food, litter, and vet care expenses. And you’ll probably also need to invest in a bed, food and water bowls, and perhaps some cat toys and trees to keep them amused. According to the ASPCA, owning a cat can set you back around $1035 per year. And that’s just for the basics!

It’s definitely worth evaluating your financial situation before going forward with a third cat. In order to provide them with a happy, fulfilled life, you first need to decide whether you actually have the funds to give that to them. And you’ll also need to set aside a chunk of money just in case one of your cats gets ill unexpectedly!

Increased Chances of Injury

When they’re not catching up on their 12-18 hours of sleep, cats can be active little creatures. They’ll pop up out of nowhere and sneak through your legs – probably when you’re holding a hot cup of coffee. In other words, you’ll need to stay alert when you get another cat since your chance of injury will be much higher.

If you’ve already stumbled a few times over the two cats you have, a third one might not be such a good idea. Conversely, there’s also a heightened risk of you standing on one of their paws or tails. Ouch!

Time Consuming

Taking care of multiple cats is a time consuming job. Between the feeding, grooming, and litter box maintenance, there’s a lot of work involved when you have multiple cats. Over time, you’ll develop a routine that works for you and makes the process a lot more time efficient. However, it may take a few weeks or months before you get there.

Before getting a third cat, determine whether you have the capacity to handle all of the demands. If you think you can’t handle yet another responsibility, you should definitely pass on the idea.

They Might Not Get Along

Cats can be hard to figure out, and it may take a while to distinguish whether your two cats like the newcomer. And then there’s the fact that they’re incredibly volatile.

On some days, your cats might adore each other, snuggling and cleaning one another. On other days, they won’t be able to stand each other, hissing and scratching at one another. And then there’s the possibility that your two cats have grown comfortable with being just the two of them, and are unwilling to accept newcomers.

If your two cats don’t get along with your new cat, or vice versa, things can get very noisy and frustrating in the household. It’s important to figure out how accepting your cats will be of a newcomer before making the final decision.

You Will Be Labelled A Crazy Cat Person

Ever heard of the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons? Well if you tell your friends, colleagues or family know you now have three cats, there is no denying the crazy cat person stigma.

I always think of a crazed elder woman with a wild look in her eyes finding solitude in her cats. In all honesty, though, if you love cats there is no problem being the crazy cat person 😉 Its a topic for many conversations with friends and family.

Less Birds

This may be a good or a bad thing depending on your love of  birds. However, more cats means less birds hanging out in your garden in the summer.

If you have a bird feeder the presence of 3 cats around outside the house will definitely be a deterrent. You may still get the sound of birds if there are plenty around you house. However, you just won’t see them in the garden as frequently, if your cats are out.

What Gender Should My Third Cat Be?

If you’ve decided that you’d like to get a third cat, it’s worth considering which gender to choose. According to the experts, gender really doesn’t matter as long as all the cats in your household are spayed or neutered.

If you’re unable to spay your female cat, you don’t want to bring an un-neutered male into the mix. You also don’t want to mix two unneutered males as they’ll both try to mark their turf, and you can guarantee there’ll be a lot of friction.

Having two or three female cats isn’t any easier, though. It’s definitely not uncommon to find yourself in the middle of a battle between two divas who have set their territories.

However, other experts believe that gender isn’t an accurate predictor of how well your felines will get along. Instead, they recommend focusing on pairing cats that are similar in temperament.

You can also speak to a licensed veterinarian for advice on which cat genders are best to mix if you’re still unsure.

Tips for Introducing A Third Cat to A Bonded Pair

Ready to bring your new kitty home? Here are some tips for introducing Fluffy to her new housemates.

1. Isolate Your New Cat For the First Few Days

Before introducing your new cat to the other feline members of your household, you’ll need to separate him for the first few days. This will allow your cat to become familiar with his or her new environment while allowing your resident cats to become familiar with the scent of the new cat.

2. Let Them Get Used to Each Other’s Scent

To speed up the process, you can bring the new cat’s items like blankets, towels, and toys to your resident cats and vice versa so they can both become adjusted to each other’s scent. Your resident cats should soon accept the new scent.

3. Introduce the Newbie in a Pet Carrier

After the isolation stage, you can move on to the introductory stage. Place the third cat in a pet carrier and place it in the same room as your other cats so that they can all become aware of each other.

Your resident cats will display one of two reactions. They’ll either show little interest, which is a good thing as it shows that they’re not affected by the presence of the new cat. Or, they’ll react aggressively – an indicator that they’re not happy with the new arrival.

4. Let them Meet Face to Face

Finally, if your resident cats show no signs of aggression towards the third cat, you can now initiate direct contact between the three. Place the resident cats in one room, and carry the new cat in to show them that you are protecting the new pet. Let the cats roam freely and keep an eye on how they behave.

5. Remain Calm and Composed

Try to stay calm and composed. If you’re nervous, your felines will be able to sense it and may react negatively to the newcomer. If your cats react aggressively to your new cat, start the process again from step number one until your resident cats adjust to the newcomer.

6. Connect Positive Experiences with Being Together

You can speed up the process of acceptance by making the first activities together enjoyable. This way, they’ll connect positive experiences with being together. To do this, feed all three cats together with their own separate dishes, increase play time, and give them all as much attention as possible. Your resident cats will soon realize that since the new cat came along, life has been even more pleasurable.

Introducing a third cat to a bonded pair won’t happen overnight. In order to do it successfully, you’ll need to do it gradually. Your patience will be rewarded in the end.