I have lived with as many as seven cats at a time. It was not planned, they just “happened” to come into my life. They pretty much learned to get along (even grieved for the missing ones as their life spans ended). Here are some of the things I did:
– I bought a big piece of cat furniture that had a lot of hiding areas, scratch space, etc.
– I kept 3 different litter boxes in 3 different areas of the house to allow for privacy for each cat when they needed it.
– I also kept 3 different feed zones in the house to decrease having to socialize at meal time and eliminate fights over food.
– I made sure that each day I socialized with every cat on an individual basis. This included grooming sessions tailored to the specific pet (some had long hair, some short, some were in-between). Each pet of course comes with its own personality and each one liked different games, so I incorporated those differences into the play-sessions.
– I kept an individual carrier for each pet for trips to the vet etc. Even though our vet offered a discount for 3 or more pets, after trial-and-error I only took 1 pet at a time to the vet. Although I moved with 4 cats at one time! Each in a separate carrier of course.
– Since all my cats knew their names, I would talk to them in sentences using each other’s names. This may sound weird, but I actually read that in a cat magazine that it’s beneficial in a multi-cat household.
– All cats were spayed and neutered, which tones down aggressive behavior and of course seems the better choice, as no kittens could result to add to the overpopulation of cats.
– On the occasions when I introduced a new addition, I would at first only allow all cats together while I was watching. Not interfering really unless I thought serious harm would be done, but when I left the house I would leave the new cat in a separate room. Then as the weeks went on, I would extend the together times, and slowly wean them off the alone-time.
I do want to add that I did not just take every cat home. Many times I declined (sadly – as there are so many cats without homes), because I did not think the cats would learn to get along. It’s really a common sense issue, just like some human personalities clash, some cat personalities would probably never get along. I always kept that in mind when people wanted me to take in cats. In one instance though, I ended up adopting a pair, because they could not be separated as they had been together all their lives; and it was the previous owner’s wish they should remain together. When the male of the pair died, the female sadly followed it 3 weeks later.