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How many cats is too many cats?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by rematch, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. rematch

    rematch New commenter

    We have two cats who are adored by myself and hubby. They are loving and affectionate, though they do change their mind over which of us is flavour of the month. Currently, it's me (hooray!) I am followed everywhere I go, have no privacy whatsoever and am constantly howled at. I love it. It's nice to be loved! I don't like human babies, but anything furry and I am besotted (I'm that person at a party that goes straight for the nearest animal)

    A couple of rescue centres near us have recently taken in over 70 cats between them and are struggling to cope. Which got me thinking...

    I'd love to help and take in a rescue kitten or young cat (I think an older cat might upset my boys) but I'm worried about how my boys will react to a new cat/kitten being introduced. We have recently moved to a large three bedroom house with two secure courtyard areas. We don't let our boys into the garden for safety/security/my own sanity. I feel like we have this big home that feels a bit empty now. We moved from a reasonably sized two bedroom flat.

    We've been advised that if we wanted a kitten we will need to adopt two as they are happier with a friend, or wait for an older kitten who can be adopted solo. I'm not sure whether four cats would be too many, or if any addition would be cruel to my boys.

    Hubby is fully supportive of whatever I choose to do. We went for one kitten 5 years ago and ended up bringing home our two... I couldn't resist the little gremlin-looking kitten that had stink eye from falling face first into the litter tray and looked utterly furious at the rest of the world.

    Thoughts? Experiences? Am I on a downward slope towards cat hoarding?
  2. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    One. Especially if it's not mine but carps on my garden.
    colpee, Maths_Shed and needabreak like this.
  3. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Your first paragraph says it all really.
  4. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Lead commenter

    One is too many for me.[/QUOTE]
    colpee, Maths_Shed and Jesmond12 like this.
  5. welshwales

    welshwales Occasional commenter

    Rematch-I'm with you all the way. My 3- all rescue-[plus the mad pupster] follow me everywhere, need to get as physically close to me at night as possible to the point of almost suffocation...and it makes me feel like their mum! If I had a bigger house, I'd have more... but I'd probably be divorced by that stage ;)
    rematch likes this.
  6. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I don't think four is too many. I have two and am happy to stick with them.
    But it is very stressful for all the cats concerned to introduce another new cat (or kitten) into a household where there are already older cats who have settled into a routine. This might be even worse if there is no way to escape outside. Take advice from your vet and the rescue place, though they will be desperate to off-load cats so may not be objective.
    I had a colleague with an older cat who brought home two kittens. The older female, who had always seemed to be maternal, was so stressed she lived in the back of the airing cupboard for nearly two years. The kittens were from the same litter, but did not get on and they fought constantly. It was all very difficult.
    I moved schools, so I don't know what happened, but I can't imagine it ended very easily.
    mathsmutt likes this.
  7. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Lead commenter

    Speaking as a crazy cat lady myself, I would be very dubious about introducing one or two newcomers to your already settled adult cats. I'm sure we all know that cats are notoriously territorial and may not take kindly to an 'intruder'. Also, in my experience, cats are quite solitary - my two (brothers) just about tolerate each other and they've always been together! A thought occurs - you could possibly turn one of the courtyard areas into a cat 'run' (kind of like a cattery) and keep new arrivals away from your boys?
    mathsmutt and mothorchid like this.
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter


    I think you're confusing a party with a pet shop.
    I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.
    needabreak likes this.
  9. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    We took Ebony in when she turned up one day on our back doorstep, walked into the living room, jumped up on the sofa and made herself at home. A visit to the vets proved confirmation as to the reason she seemed to be getting bigger, and she then went on to produce four kittens. We kept all four, so we now have the 4 kits and their mum. The kits have now all been neutered, and we have mum due to be done next week. Ebony was not much more than a kitten herself when she had the babies, and she is happy joining in with their rough and tumble, although she does take herself off now and then for a bit of a break from the boisterous behaviour. The situation's complicated slightly by the fact we moved in with our daughter and son-in-law, who already have two rescue cats of their own. Faith hardly ever goes out and prefers to stay indoors, while the other one is hardly ever in. Ebony and the kits managed the move without any real issues, but we have yet to introduce our lot to 'the cats from upstairs'. Up to now, ours have had to be content with watching through the conservatory windows as the other two wander about outside. I'm expecting the introductions business to be a bit frantic, but they will have separate cat flaps, and hopefully they'll all just decide to do their own thing, and at least tolerate each other.
    mathsmutt likes this.
  10. primarycat

    primarycat Star commenter

    I agree that it can be tricky adding new cats to a home where cats are established and happy. Friends ended up with three cats, adding one at a time over a few years, but each cat had its own room to retreat to. It worked but the cats lived side by side lives, not really enjoying being together.
  11. BetterNow

    BetterNow Occasional commenter

    It depends on the cat. Cats are fiercely territorial. Just because they could be forced to live together, shouldn't mean they should. Mine is happy alone and I wouldn’t want to add another.
  12. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    A number that is not quite a catastrophe.
  13. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    If cats are not your thing maybe you need to get away.
    mathsmutt likes this.
  14. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I have three rescue cats and it’s fine. Only downside is the cost of three insurance policies and all the food they get through!
    mathsmutt likes this.
  15. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    I always think that having one or two cats is pretty normal, but once you get that third cat, then it becomes a slippery slope and before you know it, you've got four (my sister), six (my friend) or more, and you're into Crazy Cat Lady territory. That said, the thought of so many cats being unloved in shelters is what prompted me to take on my two only weeks after vowing I'd never have another.

    For me, the cost is a real consideration. I've had a rescue cat with high medical needs before, and found it really hard to save anything because any time I felt I had my head above the water financially, he'd keel over and cost me a fortune.

    I get round the additional problems and extra cost of having a third cat now by having a third cat who technically lives two doors down the street, but who spends most of his days and some of his nights hanging out with us. He's a friendly soul who's simply lonely, so he's the ideal third cat - he knows his place, so there's not too much resistance when my own cat decides its time for him to go home.

    If you can afford it, and your house, garden and street are cat-safe areas (no busy roads) you've got the space in the house to keep them separate for a bit to allow you to introduce them gradually, then perhaps give it a go.

    Is there anyone else you know who you could gently encourage to take in a couple of cats from the shelter, too?
    mathsmutt likes this.
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I know its tempting but I think you would be risking an awful lot getting another one, when you seem to have the perfect balance.

    We have two, we took in an abandoned kitten temporarily during the snow a few years ago, got her fleed, wormed, spayed and rehomed.

    We loved her, but the time she was with us showed how hard 3 cats can be. You have 3 relationships to manage, not 1, and at any one time there is bound to be tension in 1 of those relationships.

    Our neutered Tom started urinating everywhere whenever he felt put out, and its a habit that we have never really broken.

    Our dominant small cat became less confident and self assured, leading to the bigger dafter Tom cat challenging her for the dominant position.

    The tiny kitten was the cleverest and most dominant of the 3, I think she would have ended up the dominant one.

    I don't know how it would have shaken down in the end, but we knew we couldn't afford 3 long term, and we only kept the little one until CPL found her a home.

    It was quite stressful!

    My parents farm in Yorkshire has had up to 6 cats, but that includes some that lived permanently outside. There has often been trouble between the 3 or 4 inside cats. One was taken from the home of a relative where she was constantly getting bullied, but she never settled down in the 10 years we had her. Always trouble between her and the others. We have always had cats that ignore each other, cats that get on, and cats that fight, but its ok with a whole farm, and a huge farm house to separate them and give them their own territories.

    In short, in your situation, stick to two!
  17. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    We have a ginger boy who is 10 months old and we got him when he was 8 weeks old.

    He is like a dog cat and loves human company so much so that he had started to get very anxious when we went out of the house.

    I work mostly from home but it was still getting hard to leave him for longer periods of time due to us feeling guilty.

    So I did loads of research about the possibility of getting him a companion

    I decided that it would be best to get another male kitten while the older one was still a kitten himself

    I was really worried about upsetting the equilibrium as the older one was so settled with us and had developed a close bond

    So we got another ginger boy aged 8 weeks

    I had read all the advice about slowly introducing them but in the end just let them meet straightway

    Older kitten was very gentle and inquisitive, younger kitten was bravely arching his back and hissing

    Day one older one chasing younger one a bit too boisterously so I limited the amount of time they had together

    Day 2 similar to day 1

    Day 3 getting to know each other better

    After a week, I’d say they were used to each other

    2 months later, they get on brilliantly

    I found then snuggled nose to nose with their arms around each other yesterday and they have great fun charging around

    The question of adding another to a settled couple?

    Personally I wouldn’t as it is a bit like Russian roulette in terms of cat personality and behaviour

    However if I knew someone who really needed to rehome their cat, I would take a chance

    My older cat is very gentle so I think it’s worth considering their personalities and the personality of the cat to be rehomed

    My friend had 5 cats at one point who all lived peacefully together but I think it does depend the personalities

    I don’t think there is a definitive answer as all situations are quite unique

    Good luck with making a decision
  18. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    When I have taken my daughter's boys to school/nursery I often take her dog out to poop. Often one or more of the cats come along too, making a rather comical group. If another dog comes along the cats get out of the way, then come back. When we go back apres poop the cats wander back home too.
    primarycat likes this.

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