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Old 11-21-2006, 05:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How many cats is too many?

In your opinion, how many cats is too many for one home?

I live in an apartment that is about 800 square feet. There is only one bedroom but the apartment has a very open design and the environment is basically arranged for the cats' pleasure (plenty of tall cat trees, scratching posts, hiding places, etc.). I currently have 2 kittens under one year of age (active, affectionate Oriental Shorthairs), and I was thinking about adopting one more cat of a similar temperament to complete my family. All of my cats will always be indoor-only cats.

Am I going too far? How does the cat hierarchy/social system change with more than 2 cats?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First, in your situation, too many is any more than the lease will allow.
In my opinion, too many depends on how many you can legally have and how many you can financially afford to take care of and how much room you have.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have 9 cats. To me, as long as you can afford their care and have the room, go for it!! I would find out if the lease has a limit.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In my apartment building, we are allowed to have a maximum of 3 cats. My fiance and I are financially secure and don't plan on having children, so I could afford to care for another cat (plus, I have a separate savings account for emergency vet visits)...I guess the main issues I am concerned with are having enough space and ensuring that all the cats will be happy. I have heard stories from multicat households of one cat being picked on by all the others, and I would be upset if something like this happened. I have never lived with more than 2 cats so I'm wondering what others' experiences have been like.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, yes, they are like kids. They will have some spats among eachother. But I never had any serious issues. I only get kittens though, as I find they grow up getting used to my cats, and my cats accept a kitten better then they would a cat. There will always be some jealous issues. Duchess is my baby, and she gets jealous very easily when other cats sleep in my room. She'll get mad at me and ignore me. You just need to make sure you give them all attention, even seperately.. and don't expect them to be perfect all the time.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think the big issue is making sure the introductions are done "correctly".
You might want to do a search here on new cat introductions, I know it's been a topic discussed many times.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think that having enough space for more cats isn't based on the physical space the cat actually takes up, but by the necessities for the cats. You said you have lots of cat trees, posts and hiding spaces. Do you have enough room for 3-4 litterboxes in different spots around the apartment, not all in one place as you may end up with a cat that stakes them out and makes it difficult for the other cats to use them.

If the cats sleep with you, will the bed accomodate another with 2 cats and two people already in it? Ability to expand the feeding area or even make a separate feeding area in case the new cat doesn't like eating with the exisiting cats, or they don't like the new cat eating with them. Cabinet spaces to store half again as much cat food? Area for storing more litter for those extra boxes. Those are all the kinds of consideration involved.

If those concerns are not an issue, then I agree that doing a careful introduction is the biggest thing to ensure harmony. And getting the right kind of cat to fit in with the ones you have from a personality perspective.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How many cats is too many?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amaranth
How does the cat hierarchy/social system change with more than 2 cats?
I doubt if this has ever been studied; I've read a lot of cat books and don't recall any mention of it....but my opinion is (having three cats myself) that three cats is an unstable social group. There's just something about the shifting relationships that make things harder for the cats (and for me to try to figure out.) I can't put my finger on it. But I think two cats is better than three. They have only each other to relate to. So, I wonder, is four cats better than three, also? That would be an interesting experiment. Maybe cats need to be matched in even numbers to be harmonious.

Basically, to answer your question in my own words: how many cats is too many? Too many to have the time, energy and financial resources to properly care for. Too many for all the cats to get along in the space and with the resources available. How many is that? There's no fixed number. It depends on the cats. You've got a pretty good idea how many cats you can care for. But you never know until you've got one too many how many cats is one too many for your cat family.

So I'd say, if your cats are happy, and you're happy, you have to realize you're jeopardizing that by taking in one more cat. Maybe it'll work out, maybe it won't. You won't know until it's too late. It's sort of a "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" type of thing. You don't know until you get to the other side that the grass over there is all weeds.

My vet has a different theory: she says 500 square feet per cat.

If you get another cat anyway, be sure to do the intro thing. Go overboard on it. That's your best chance at success. First impressions are hard to overcome where cats are concerned.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone. I'm still doing the research before I make any decisions.

Thanks for your honesty, coaster. I have two cats adopted at different times who get along quite well, so I'd definitely be taking a risk of messing up the current balance. They have each other for company and entertainment while I'm gone, so if I get another cat at this point, it would be for my own sake, and not theirs...That's definitely a bit selfish on my part.

I'm so passionate about cats now, but I'm going to look into other ways of indulging myself (maybe going to cat shows for fun or volunteering at a shelter?) before I make the decision to adopt a 3rd cat!
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It sounds like you have a great situation right now, plenty of room for everyone, and your cats get along and keep each other company while you're gone. I don't think I'd mess with perfection, but personally, I still fall in love with so many kittens I see on this forum! Cinderella is #1 in my heart, but dang! If I saw Holly, I'd adopt her in a second!
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