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How Many Cats is Too Many?

How many cats is too many cats? We’ve all seen situations where someone clearly has taken in too many. But what is that number? Where does the scale tip from several beloved cats to being overwhelmed? 

 kittensThere are things to consider when you are a multiple cat household. It’s basically a question of your resources, time, and willingness. Are you prepared to be a good pet parent to multiple cats? Having several/many cats will affect your home, the cats, and you. 

First consideration is space. You need to avoid overcrowding and make sure that there is sufficient space for all cats to escape or hide when they need to. Vertical space is another key- tall cat towers and access to high perches scratch their itch to climb. And, speaking of scratching- you should provide multiple horizontal and vertical scratching surfaces and posts made from different materials.

Of course, 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 and the time spent cleaning. Litter boxes should be cleaned daily; with multiple cats, there’s a lot to scoop and sweep. 

Another thing to consider; cats can become territorial if they live in close proximity to cats from different social groups. You’ll know cats are from the same social group if they share mutual grooming or sleep next to each other. Cats from different social groups can get cliquey and lash out at each other. Cats from different social groups should eat and eliminate in different areas. So, you may find yourself with a scenario like a junior high dance- with one clique on the first floor of your home, and another clique on the second.

sleeping cats

Cats need attention and interaction from you. You may have too many cats if forming emotional bonds becomes harder and your cats may become clingy, depressed, or develop poor socialization skills.

It goes without saying, you should have all your cats spayed and neutered – the earlier, the better. This will reduce the urge to defend territorial boundaries. It can also decrease the chances that your cats will spray urine to mark their territory.

You should be aware of the local ordinances. In some places, there are laws about the number of animals you are allowed to have in a single home.

Be very honest with yourself and evaluate what you can reasonably take on. Your time, personality and resources are what should guide you. If it is not in the best interests of the cats and you, resist the urge to take “just one more”. If you need to get an extra kitty fix, volunteer at our shelter! We always need cat loving people to play with and love on our many cats. 

black bean

My name is Black Bean. I’m a super friendly, affectionate big guy. I’ll talk to you to get your attention, and I’d love to curl up with your other cats. Come meet me before August 31 and get ½ off my adoption fee!

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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