Yes, I have seven cats, temporarily. Bear-Bear is my home's foster-cat-at-large, Rachael came to stay for a week last Wednesday, and now, there is Cammie.
You may have seen Cammie in a little space to the right of this article. The cat-rescue organisation for whom I volunteer was called by someone who reported a cat in what she termed an 'abusive' situation. Whatever the circumstances, let’s just say that Cammie has not had it easy for the last few years. She’s eight, hadn’t been spayed and has been moved about too much – albeit necessarily – in the last few weeks. She is currently in my downstairs bathroom.
Remaining there any amount of time would depress even a cheerful animal, since it is hard and almost windowless: there is a window but it has a ground glass pane and is too far up the wall to view anything but a diffused light. But when Rachael vacates the back parlour, Cammie will take her place, and have access to a view and fresh air.
I have been spending time with Cammie, sitting on the floor, reading, and talking to her, trying to get her used to me. She is distrustful, to say the least. She allows me to pet her, sometimes, but clearly doesn’t care for it. She doesn’t play, and the only joy in her currently confined existence is a dish of soft-food (Fancy Feast’s ocean whitefish flavour is what she looks forward to). She has excellent hygiene habits.
What would benefit her, I think, is a foster-home with no other cats, where she can roam a whole house or apartment at her leisure, watch the people there and decide to trust them in her own time. That would be facilitated by being able to see them all the while. Even when she goes into my back parlour, she won’t have access to the rest of the house, and won’t see me all the time.
This is not to write that she would not do well with other cats. I have no idea how she would do. From what little I know of her, she seems to have a strong will, to know what she likes and dislikes, and would probably stand up for herself. But introducing her to the five other cats in my household at once is probably unwise, and there are few means of allowing her to meet one or two at a time. A foster-home with one or a couple of easy-going felines or a dog would, I believe, be fine, especially if the animals already there were as nonchalant as Bear-Bear, yet another of my foster-cats.
Cammie is a priority for a better foster-home than I can provide, but foster-homes of any kind are scarce. Most of those who are willing to take in cats, have already done so to their capacity. For now, Cammie will be staying with me. Hopefully, she will realise that I am no threat and want to get to know me better. Until then, I will let her dictate the pace of acquaintance.