We crazy cat people sometimes believe that there’s no such thing as too many cats. However, our furry feline friends–and our circumstances–may not agree. Some cats do best as only cats, while others do best with maybe one or two companions. Some cats are happy and well-cared for in a veritable zoo. Can you have too many cats, though?
Petplace says that all the factors listed above play into whether you have too many cats. Cats are solitary hunters, and while they can, and do, thrive in groups, their most natural state is alone. If your one cat gets stressed out, and fights or hides if there’s another cat around, then two cats in your house is too many.
However, if your cat gets along with other cats, then how do you know how many cats is too many? Many experts and others define “too many” as “more than you have the ability and resources to care for.” These people are talking about the difference between a “crazy cat person” and a hoarder, however, it’s a good guideline by which to go.
WebMD Pets has some good tips for how you know whether another cat would make too many for your household. They are:
- Your first cat is much older, sick, or antisocial with other animals or people
- Your finances are unstable
- You don’t have quality time to care for the added cat
- You can’t maintain proper sanitation and cleanliness
- There is no one to cat sit for vacations or emergencies
In these cases, especially where finances, quality time, and ability to maintain clean and sanitary conditions are concerned, you might only have two cats, and three would be too many. However, someone who doesn’t have these concerns and already has eight cats may, indeed, be able to add a ninth without too much of a problem (provided they know how to introduce the new cat to all their other cats).
In a blog post on Care2.com, Dr. Justine Lee recommends having no more than four or five cats. She believes that having more than six cats is unhealthy, despite the fact that many people are more than able to adequately care for more than six cats. Her reasoning is that having more than four or five cats can result in behavior problems (like urinating outside the litter box), and infighting between cats. This may be especially true in smaller houses or apartments, where the cats just don’t have enough room to get away from each other.
It’s also more difficult to monitor for health problems if you have several cats. You might see blood in the litter box, for instance, but you won’t know whose blood it is until you notice other symptoms of illness in one or more of your cats. It’s also more difficult to see if one cat isn’t eating (although this is a good reason not to free feed, as feeding on a schedule makes it easier to see if someone isn’t eating).
So, how many cats is too many? There is no hard and fast number, but it appears that the best guidelines are your own cat’s nature, and whether she gets along well with other cats; and your ability to care for your cats (including being able to pay for veterinary care), to keep your house clean, and to spend quality time with them.