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In what follows, I'd like to tell about the cat situation of my neighborhood in order to decide whether to get my own or not.

I live on a ground floor apartment in a fairly big city. My living room has a door leading to a porch with access to a garden that belongs to the whole building and, after a small fence, you are in a pedestrian street. Other buildings around mine have similar gardens. I receive regular visits from at least three neighborhood cats, for which I leave a kibble snack in the porch. One of them -- let me call it Cat C (for cool :-) -- is more social, lets me pet it and rubs on me and, if my living room balcony door is open, on some of my living room furniture. After six months, it started also to purr a bit and once it lied down belly up by the window but on the inside; which I understand as an act of faith.

The other one, Cat A, is more of an a...hole (hence the letter :-P), doesn't get anywhere close to me but still meows when it's hungry and tries to get inside. When I tried to pet it, it sometimes tried to scratch or hiss at me.

When I'm not home, I just leave the food outside and I can't tell who eats it. A few times I've seen another one, Cat B, going around especially at night, that lives with cat C, but it's too spooked to get anywhere close.

I know about cats B and C for sure because I've seen then behind the window of a neighbor of mine. Down the street, there's at least another one, but it never got close to my door.

Cats A and C do not go along well with each other, some months ago one of them pooped in the food bowl; but this can also be a message directly to me since, especially in winter, I would sometimes forget to leave a snack. Or a stronger attempt to mark the territory, as sometimes they also peed on my window's glass. Once I saw cat C munching its snack peacefully on my porch and suddenly fleeing at the sight of cat A and a few minutes later I could hear them "arguing".

After this long premise, here's my question. I'd like to have my own cat, but I'm more of a living-room-cat kind of person. Since there is a garden I think it makes no sense not to let it out -- either "by hand" or a cat door -- but I'm afraid it's gonna be beaten or killed by the others and, moreover, if I need to see it as often as the others, what would be the point of having my own?

I know that there's probably no way to predict the situation and the only one is to try it out, but I would need to get through a lot of hassle and expenses (for instance protect some expensive furniture -- for now cat C enters only under my supervision and obtain the consent of my landlord all the tenants in my building as the house regulation say), so I'd like to have an idea before starting everything.

  • What could be concerning is the low fence onto the street. My cat loves to explore, and if yours does too, having a big road there could be a problem... Also Cat A sounds like a threat. If one of the cats already claimed your house as territory, it would not like another cat there... – Ginge Jun 30 '19 at 19:39
  • The street is the least of my worries, it's either pedestrian or with little traffic and the other cats seem to have no problems with it. If one keeps walking can indeed reach a big street though. I'm mainly concerned about angry cats. – David P Jul 1 '19 at 19:44
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I have tried researching your question a little and the most other pages I could find are other forums. I will link them anyway maybe you can find something useful on them.

Anyway, we have two cats and also live in a catty neighbourhood. First we just let them roam only our yard and they got familiar with it and left their scents everywhere. It was not a big deal. Now where I see the problem in your case is that you have been feeding the other cats and I assume they somewhat claimed their territory.

I think it would be good to stop feeding them if you want to get your own cat. Maybe even stop feeding them before you get your own. I think it could help them be less jealous of your new cat.

Now as a lot of the forums I read have stated introducing your cat to the other through the window where they can see each other but there is no danger to either, works well, sounds like a good starting point.

Maybe if possible you can even schedule "get to know dates" with cat B and C since you know they live somewhere.

The first time your cats get out go with it, maybe on a leash, and show it around.

Supervise the first times you let it out and let the cats get to know each other. Now they might start hissing or growling and that is ok, but break up any bigger fight. Do not punish either cat for the fight just make sure noone gets hurt.

I would definitely go for the cat door option, since that makes sure your cat has a fast way to retreat if it needs to. In my experience neighbourhood cats do not follow other cats through cat doors as the moment of passing makes them too vulnerable. (there are also cat doors with collars that only open to the collar).

Spaying or neutering seems like a way to make your cat a little less territorial and since it goes outside should be done anyway.

Now last but not least: You can not know before hand how and if your cat will get along with the others. But cats have been seen to often "share" territory as long as the other one is elsewhere. It is important that the other cats understand that this part is also your cats territory, but again in my experience they do sort it out themselves. Cats like humans have very different personalities and what happens when they meet is not predictable

To understand cats and their social structure I would recommend Aggression Between Family Cats and Feline Social Behavior

Yahoo Answers - Introducing cat to neighbourhood

thecatsite - Introducing new neighbours cat

PetForums - Introducing kitten to neighbourhood cats

Reddit - Introducing cat to neighbours cat

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