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Can You Have Too Many Cats?

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Can You Have Too Many Cats?

By Dr. Justine Lee, PetMD

Do I really need to answer this question? (And yes, I realize this blog will piss off people who own more than 6 cats!)

Unfortunately, I do.

Years ago, I had two women who brought their cat into the emergency room at the University of Pennsylvania. Both women reeked so badly of cat urine, I couldnít even close the exam door due to my eyes burning from the ammonia smell. When I asked these women some questions about the catís environment, they couldnít answer how many cats they had. I asked, “10? 20? 60? 100?” Their reply? “Over 100.”

These two women, who were cat hoarders, didnít notice that their cat was ill until it was on deathís door, since they had so many in their “environment.” This cat was severely dehydrated, emaciated, and had a body condition score of 1 out of 9 (See†Purinaís body scoring system that we veterinarians use to evaluate weight). This cat weighed just under five pounds (instead of nine), and was so lethargic it couldnít even lift its head. (It ultimately died despite several days of hospitalization and life-saving care.)

So, can you imagine having so many cats that it prevents you from adequately being able to care for your pets?

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petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. For more information, visit petMD.com.

748 comments

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4:48PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

Interesting, thank you.

4:47PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

Interesting, thank you.

1:14PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

I have four cats. Two came with my spouse when we got married and the other two were rescued. I am home with them almost all the time. They all get along pretty well.

9:46PM PDT on Aug 20, 2014

Thank you :)

3:27PM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

I think this article brings out an excellent point about responsible cat ownership. The author rightly assumes that some people who have more than 6 cats might be put off by the comment that 2 cats is enough. It might be best to emphasize responsibility and means rather than a set number of cats per household. If you have ample room, time, and are able to pay for all of your cats' multiple food/vet bills you can have more than 2. My three cats get along just fine and all of their needs are met. However, I would not get a 4th cat as their space would become more limited. Common sense is key when it comes to adding another animal to your household.

9:46PM PDT on Aug 9, 2014

I have 5 right now who are permanent residents we did have 6 but one passed. Most are rescues I have bottlefed or gotten surgery for. We have one who was a CL rescue and needed hernia surgery and only weighed 1lb she was about 2 months old. She is now very healthy. My oldest cat I wrote a published children's book about he is named Ryeland; check out A Ryeland's Tail! I like to rescue cats and find them homes so depending on the situation I can have 15 if I find a cat with a huge litter! But my permanent resident number is 5. I take good care of my 5 cats they all eat Wellness and Nutro Maxx Cat. They all have shots and are fixed. They get Fiproguard flea treatments in the spring and summer. They have a big cat tree and 4 litter boxes with a fenced in backyard and a front yard on a dead end street to play on. But I agree for some people 5 is too much! It depends on care and the quality of life you can give the cat! If you can afford care and food then 5 is ok. I am a SAHM so I have all the time in the world to give to these guys. I know each one personally! Messes can be a problem where litter gets out of boxes or a cat poops on the floors you have to be prepared for that in a multicat household. All of my cats thankfully get along really well and since we have 6 people (3 adults and 3 children) living in the home there are more people than cats! That is my rule there must be 1 person per a cat and no more so everyone can also help out!

We steam clean carpets bi-monthly a

6:32AM PDT on Aug 9, 2014

ty

9:19PM PDT on Aug 8, 2014

My cat population varies, according to how many abandoned cats I am feeding. I have four permanent residents, all having been abandoned at some point. I am currently feeding a VERY pregnant kitty on my back porch so will have more soon, but I will have her spayed after the babies are born and network until I find responsible homes for her babies. Hoarders of anything, be it animal or garbage are usually mentally unstable.

7:20AM PDT on Aug 8, 2014

I had four cats and three dogs and I guess I am one of the lucky ones; they all got along well together. I did find however that the fourth cat that came in wasn't included in cuddling sessions with the other three, so she cuddles with me instead. I thought it was a great compromise..:)

10:23AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

thanks, good post. There is a "too many/too much" for everything, including pets. Some people can take care of 6 cats, for some 3 would already be too much. I don't know where the absolute limit is, I personally think 10 cats sounds a LOT. But as long as they are all well cared for, the owners (and the vet!) should know that better.
I'm more a rodent lover anyway, so no cats in my house :) And if I ever try it, I would never want to have more than 2 cats.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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