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Our New 7-cat Family, advice, please

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I am sure our situation is familiar to many of you, but it is new to us, and a little daunting.

We have a 13-year old. On the coldest day of winter, we brought in a stray, who has produced five gorgeous kittens.(Is there such a thing as a non-gorgeous kitten??

The kittens are now nine weeks old. We have decided that we can't part with them. We love them to pieces!

This means a household of seven cats. We are in our sixties. Can this situation be sensibly managed in order that the cats enjoy a good life, and our home remains a pleasant place to be, or are we being selfish?

The thirteen-year-old is not accepting the new arrivals. I am able to keep her in her own space at the moment.

I need advice on keeping the house clean, also feeding multiple cats, finding a way for the older cat to be integrated into the new "family" and anything else I should know.

I will be very grateful for help.
post #2 of 4
I am in my 60s, with 5 cats, so I have a little of what you are going through. I did not mean to have 5 either, but they are all rescues who came to me and I love them all. It's not difficult to manage them as long as you keep some basic rules.

First, hygiene:
People are surprised (especially here in Bosnia where house cats are uncommon) that my house does not smell. I have 6 litter boxes (rule is one per cat plus one) around the house - in each bathroom, the utility room, my bedroom ( a covered one with a door and filter) and the balcony. I use crystal Catsan litter which I have found to be the best, though others have their own preferences. I also add baking powder to it which acts as a freshener. I can't use any commercial fresheners as one of the cats is asthmatic. I scoop twice a day and clean everything once a week. Everything is vacuumed twice a week to keep hair down and ensure there are no surprises lurking, like hairballs.

My house is big, and I shall soon be moving to a bigger one in France. I think the cats need their space - if you don't have it then I know some people use cat condos and trees to create space on levels. If they can't get away from each other sometimes, they fight, even those who are special friends. They all sleep on my bed, though they each have their own preferred spots in the house as well.

Again, hygiene is important - it sounds obvious, but I have smelt many kitchens where the problem is dirty cat dishes. I wash each bowl after every meal and feed them on plastic trays so that the floor is kept as clean as possible. Here, we have ants, so it is extra important.

They will of course play with each other, but they also need a lot of toys! I have things dangling from doorknobs and cupboards, and also a toybox, where they know they can rummage and find their favourites. Also useful for distracting them at times!

My oldest cat does not like the others much - she was an only cat for 18 months. But she has established her independence and they mostly leave her alone. I make sure she is not bullied (sometimes they gang up on her and chase her) and that she has her space where she is safe. The others have their hierarchy and sort themselves out.

Probably the most time consuming thing is grooming. I check each cat daily for any problems, here we have ticks like there is no tomorrow. Also they do get scratches and things from fighting sometimes. The vet and I are on first name terms and I am one of the few clients for whom he will make house calls! Luckily here vet care and meds are cheap but I would say do not have more cats than you know you can afford to care for - there can be nothing worse than having a cat ill and dreading the bills, or worse, not being able to go to the vet at all.

Sorry for the long post, any specific things you can PM me. Good luck.
post #3 of 4
I have 16 house cats, a lot by many people's standards, but nevertheless we manage.

Yes, we have learned to live with hair and tracks of cat litter.

Your best advice is----

1) make sure you have enough litter boxes...........don't skimp because you think you do not have the space for the correct amount. A litter box in plain sight (because there is no place to HIDE it) is much better than a cat who soils on the carpet because he does not want to share his box with others.

2) Neuter ALL the animals as soon as possible to prevent fighting, scent marking and obviously, more babies.

3) If you free feed, make sure there are enough food bowls or stations to prevent rivalry. I personally feed on a twice daily schedule. My cats are trained to eat in their own carriers. For me, this prevents fights and I know everyone is getting WHAT they need and AS MUCH as they need.

4) Give them enough "distraction". Tall cat trees for scratching, climbing and sleeping. Cats LOVE their own furniture. And plenty of toys, and rotate them to prevent boredom.

5) Your oldest cat will either learn to accept the newcomers or put them in their place. Give her time.

6) ENJOY THEM! They are wonderful creatures.
post #4 of 4
well lots of luck, the advise already given is excellent and you´ll soon get into a routine. Your days will be filled with hours of enjoyment, pleasure and of course love ! This web site is just wonderful, with lots of advice, support and guidance, so all the very best and you´ll make a great mum & dad !! I´m sure your 13 yr old will come round in time !!
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