Have Multiple Cats? Here’s What You Should Know
Before opening your home to multiple cats, remember that you should never have more cats than you have the time and money to properly care for. Avoid overcrowding in the home and make sure that there is sufficient space for all cats to escape or get away when necessary.
Having too many cats can have negative effects on the home, on the cats and on you. As you increase the number of cats in the household, you increase the odds of uncleanliness and messes in the home. Also, you increase the chance of disease.
As the number of cats in your home increases, so do the number of litter boxes. You should have one litter box per cat plus one extra. And remember, as the number of litter boxes increases, so does the odor.
If you have multiple cats, overcrowding can create stress for your cats. So you should think carefully before getting another cat or you may find your formerly well-behaved cats developing behavior problems.
If you want to avoid infighting and territorial marking, you should have all of your cats spayed and neutered – and the earlier, the better. This will reduce the urge to defend territorial boundaries and eliminate the need to compete for mates. It can also decrease the chances that your cats will spray urine to mark their territory.
Downsides to Having Too Many Cats
As the number of cats in your home increases, so does the possibility of sickness and bugs. When you have too many cats in the house, it is harder to keep the environment clean. The household is more stressful as you add more cats to the mix. And more cats require more money for food, litter, and veterinary care.
Do you have the time and money to devote to all of your cats, or do you simply have too many cats?
Ask yourself if there is enough available space in your home to allow the cats to sleep, run and play. Your cats need to be able to escape when necessary, and they need access to vertical climbing territory, like a cat tree. In addition to needing enough space for the cats, you’ll also need space for cat condos or cubbies, scratching posts and climbing trees.
Also, you must be aware of the local ordinances in your area. In some locations, the city, county or state has strict laws about the number of animals you are allowed to have in a single home.
While it may be tempting to take in another adorable cat, it is important to understand how many cats are too many cats. You must have the time, money and resources to care for these animals. Your cats deserve humane treatment, so it is important that you have the ability to properly care for them. Also, with multiple cats in the home, it is important to make sure that all of your cats are spayed or neutered.
As the number of cats in a household increases, so does the incidence of behavioral problems. The more cats in the home, the more complicated the social dynamics and the more diluted the owner’s attention.
Having Too Many Cats vs. Hoarding
So where do we draw the line between “hoarding” and simply having more cats than normal? In most hoarding cases, the cats are not being cared for in a humane way. The home may be stinky and dirty and the cats may be receiving less than adequate care.
Do you have too many cats in your house? Unless you are a breeder, having more than six to eight cats usually seems excessive. The more cats you have, the less individual attention each cat receives. The relationship between human and cat changes, becoming less personal.
The number of cats you can humanely care for depends on your availability, energy, and resources. For most of us, having one or two cats is a full-time job, but some people may be able to balance caring for as many as four to six cats. In each individual situation, there could be a different answer to the question, how many cats are too many cats?
How to Find New Homes for Your Cats
If you have found that you have too many cats, it may be time to think about rehoming. If you want to find a new home for your cat or cats, it’s important that you get the word out to as many people as possible. Here are some good steps to follow.
- Create a flyer with the pet’s name and a good photo. Describe the appearance, size, and age of the cat. Mention if the cat is spayed or neutered. Describe your cat’s nature and endearing qualities. Mention any limitations the cat may have (for instance, “not good with small children”). Finally, make sure that your phone number is on the flyer and list the best times to contact you. Make multiple copies of the flyer and post it throughout your community. Ask if you can post the flyer at veterinary offices, pet supply stores, your workplace or your friends’ and family’s workplace, supermarkets, churches and any place with a community bulletin board.
- Next, contact local shelters and rescue groups.
- Place a classified ad in your local newspaper.
- Go to adoption websites and post your pet.
- Word of mouth – Reach out to all of your community contacts and ask them to pass on the information to friends and family.
- Post to your Facebook page and leverage your social media to spread the word.
By spaying or neutering the cat you want to rehome, you will be making the cat more attractive to the potential owner. Also, have your veterinarian do a complete check-up before placing the cat for adoption. This will make it easier to place the cat.
To make the transition easier, try to prepare a general history of the cat, including his likes and dislikes, food preferences, favorite type of toy, etc.
Screen potential adopters to make sure they will be suitable owners. Find out if they have other pets at home, if they have children and whether they live in a house or an apartment. It’s also okay to ask how many hours the cat would be left alone during the day.
The next step is to meet face-to-face and introduce your cat. If they relate well to each other, this could be a good match.
To learn more about having too many pets, read our article, Understanding When You or Someone Else Has Too Many Pets.
The more cats in a household, the higher the stress levels. Read our article on Reducing Multicat Household Stress.
How do your cats get along? Learn more about cat personalities in our article, What You Need to Know About Cat Personalities.
Want to know more about rehoming cats? Read our article What to Know If You’re Looking into Rehoming for Cats.