Originally Posted by amaranth
How does the cat hierarchy/social system change with more than 2 cats?
I doubt if this has ever been studied; I've read a lot of cat books and don't recall any mention of it....but my opinion is (having three cats myself) that three cats is an unstable social group. There's just something about the shifting relationships that make things harder for the cats (and for me to try to figure out.) I can't put my finger on it. But I think two cats is better than three. They have only each other to relate to. So, I wonder, is four cats better than three, also? That would be an interesting experiment. Maybe cats need to be matched in even numbers to be harmonious.
Basically, to answer your question in my own words: how many cats is too many? Too many to have the time, energy and financial resources to properly care for. Too many for all the cats to get along in the space and with the resources available. How many is that? There's no fixed number. It depends on the cats. You've got a pretty good idea how many cats you can care for. But you never know until you've got one too many how many cats is one too many for your cat family.
So I'd say, if your cats are happy, and you're happy, you have to realize you're jeopardizing that by taking in one more cat. Maybe it'll work out, maybe it won't. You won't know until it's too late. It's sort of a "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" type of thing. You don't know until you get to the other side that the grass over there is all weeds.
My vet has a different theory: she says 500 square feet per cat.
If you get another cat anyway, be sure to do the intro thing. Go overboard on it. That's your best chance at success. First impressions are hard to overcome where cats are concerned.