Last Updated on October 19, 2021 by Jenny
Cats make amazing pets because they are quite independent and they don’t require a lot of your time on a daily basis. Some people have one cat, others have two, others have three or four.
When people see the great relationships that two cats can build, the temptation of bringing in a third cat in the household becomes quite large. Then maybe a fourth cat could follow and so on.
But is there such a thing as having too many cats, and, if so, how many cats is too many cats? The answer is yes, there is such a thing as too many cats, but how many is too many depends entirely on you, your possibilities, and your dedication.
How Many Cats Is too Many for You?
Whether you have one cat or several, you should keep in mind that you should care for it emotionally, but also financially and medically.
So, depending on your dedication to your cat or cats, you have to decide for yourself how many cats are too many. Before you take in another cat, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have time to spend with this cat individually?
- Can I offer this cat financial support for an extended period of time?
- Can I offer this cat the attention it deserves?
- Do I have the time and resources to care for this cat?
- Do I still have enough time to spend with my other cats?
If your answer to all of these five questions is yes, then you may be ready to take on the responsibility of bringing in another cat into your family.
However, if you have more no’s than yes’s, then maybe you should reconsider. You should be able to meet all the responsibilities of being a cat parent.
Space and Resources for Cats
Some people with big hearts want to save animals, so they bring a lot of them in their homes. Caring for cats is much easier than caring for dogs, so it’s not uncommon for people to take in a large number of cats even in small places. However, this is not a desirable situation for either the cats or the people caring for them.
Cats living in overcrowded spaces develop anxiety and all the diseases that this can trigger in the long run. Moreover, preventative measures for large groups of cats are difficult to enforce. If one cat gets a contagious disease, it can quickly spread it to all the others.
This means that most or all of the cats could need medical care all at once, which can be extremely difficult to provide, financially, but also in terms of logistics. Even with the proper financial means, it can be overwhelming to have to take a large number of cats to the vet on a daily basis.
Before you take in a pet, you have to be able to be there for it not only for the good times but also for the bad. When it comes to large groups of cats, these bad times are increased by each kitty living under that roof. This is why caring for a large number of cats needs to be in the context of a shelter, where several people can pitch in when needed.
How Many Cats Can You Have in Your Home Legally?
The laws that address the maximum number of animals that you can have in your home differ greatly from one country to another. In the US, each state has its own laws on this matter.
While in some states, you are not legally allowed to own more than two animals without having a kennel permit from the authorities, other states permit more animals per household.
These laws are specifically aimed to discourage animal hoarding, which can be a real issue for a lot of people. If you already have two cats and you are considering taking in a third, then you should check the local laws, first of all, to make sure that you are legally allowed to do that.
The One Cat Per Bedroom Guideline
For the cat to have sufficient space in your home, one cat might be enough if you live in a one-bedroom apartment. The maximum number for this space would be two. With more than two cats in a one-bedroom apartment, things might end up feeling a bit overcrowded.
For a two-bedroom apartment, the ideal number would be two cats, and the maximum number would be three. For a three-bedroom apartment, the ideal number of cats would be three and the maximum number of cats would be four.
Guidelines for One, Two, and Three Story Houses
If you live in a one-story house – that’s ground floor and first floor – you most likely have two bedrooms. Considering the bedroom guidelines, that leaves you with two cats, three at the most. Considering that your two bedrooms are in a house and that you have an extra floor, this means that you can easily house three cats.
Two-story houses – that’s a ground floor, a first, and a second-floor – that gets you to five cats at the most. As for three-story houses, as many as 7 cats would fit. However, remember to check for the legal limitations regarding the number of animals you are allowed to own when dealing with such high numbers.
Other Aspects You Should Consider
Aside from the physical space of an apartment or a house, there are a few other things you should consider before taking in a cat. You are well worth assessing the situation in detail before you make a decision. Here are the most important ones:
Dogs or Other Pets
The maximum number of cats described above refers to households without any other pets. If you already have other animals in your home, keep in mind that each of them counts as one cat at least.
If you have a large dog and you live in a one-bedroom apartment, then maybe you should reconsider bringing in the cat altogether to avoid overcrowding.
Moreover, there are a lot of animals that are not quite compatible with cats. Dogs and cats can get along, as many four-legged friends have demonstrated over the years, but it is not a given.
There are more cases when dogs and cats do not get along than cases when they do, so make sure you have a backup plan for the cat or the dog, in case they can’t live together.
Other pets that might not be good matches for cats are hamsters, mice, rabbits, gerbils, or even birds and fish. Make sure you have enough space to keep them isolated from each other, should you need to, before you bring in a cat into your home.
Children, especially at young ages, need dedication, attention, and space. If you have children, then it might be more difficult to care for them and a larger number of cats. So, think things through in terms of emotional, financial, and spatial resources before you bring in a new cat into your home.
Space for Litterboxes
The golden rule of litterboxes is to have one for each cat and an extra one on top of that. You also need to have space to place these litterboxes in your home.
Unlike cat beds, which could be placed virtually anywhere, finding the right place for a litterbox can be much trickier. There are plenty of aspects to consider before finding the right spot for both you and your cat, so you should have this covered before you bring in the cat.
Emotional Availability for the Cat
Loving a cat is an amazing experience, but it takes time, dedication, and emotional availability. After a certain number, it could prove to be impossible to find the time to bond with each cat. You need to spend quality time with each of your cats every single day. Although cats have been thought of as non-social animals, that is not the case, so they need your attention just as much as any other pet.
So, how many cats are too many?
As you can see, it is entirely up to you to find the answer that fits you. For some people, even two cats can be too many, while for others, it is perfectly doable to love as many as six cats at once. It depends on your emotional and financial availability.
All you have to do is be honest with yourself and make responsible choices. If you have the resources to be there for your cat for the good times, the worst-case scenario, but also in the long run, then you are ready to get another cat. If not, then maybe you should wait until you do.
How many cats do you have? And what does too many cats mean for you? What do you think is the maximum number of cats that people should have? Have you ever felt that it’s difficult to care for your cat? Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.