My least favorites: “You can never have too many cats,” “One cat just leads to another,” and anything with the words “crazy cat lady.” I live with nine cats, and I’m not crazy! At least I don’t think I am.
And the truth is that you can have too many cats, and one cat shouldn’t necessarily lead to another. Some cats are happier living alone.
I know people who can’t take proper care of just one cat and people who provide wonderful lives for 20 or 30. Before your one cat leads to another and another and another, here are some things to think about.
- Does your cat want another cat? This is the most important question of all. If you think the answer is probably no, be happy with your one cat, enjoy her company and help the others who are tugging at your heartstrings find good homes.
- Do you have room for another cat? You don’t necessarily need a huge house to share your home with many cats. But cats do need a certain amount of personal space. And cats like to arrange themselves vertically. Do you have room for high places, like floor-to-ceiling cat trees, and low places, like boxes and tunnels?
- What about feeding areas and litter boxes? It’s a good idea to have two boxes for even one cat, but two or more boxes are a necessity if you have more than one. And multiple cats will be happier and less stressed if they have food and litter boxes in several different locations.
- Can you afford multiple cats? Remember to factor in the cost of annual checkups and medical care if someone gets sick, in addition to food and litter. Living with cats is no fun if you’re constantly worried about how you’re going to pay for their healthcare.
- Do you have time for several cats? Every cat will want his or her own personal time with you to snuggle or play a favorite game. If you’re busy and can’t give many cats the time they need, it’s best to limit your cat family to just one or two.
- Can you make arrangements for multiple cats if they outlive you or you can no longer care for them? This is something none of us like to think about, but we should. Finding a new home for one cat is difficult. Finding homes for many is even harder. Sadly, many wonderful cats wind up at shelters because their people didn’t make arrangements for them.
- Can you keep up with the sanitation needs of multiple cats? Cats shed, litter boxes need to be scooped, and accidents happen. Many cats can add up to many housekeeping chores, and not keeping up is not only unpleasant for the cats, it’s a quick way to be labeled “crazy cat lady.”
My neighbors seem to be bemused by my large cat family. Although they should be used to it by now, they always seem surprised when the cats meet me at my car when I get home and walk with me at night. But while they may think the whole thing’s a bit eccentric, they know I’m not the crazy cat lady, and they also know I don’t think you can never have too many cats. Nine indoor/outdoor cats can live with me and be happy and healthy. For us, 10 would be one too many, and we would, indeed, have too many cats.