I’ve had as many as seven cats at once. I’d just lost a sweet marmalade tiger kitten through ignorance and started collecting cats. Tina Marie showed up on my doorstep and I took her in. Soon she had a litter of kittens. Fluff was wandering the neighborhood, so I started feeding him. There was another cat that I confiscated—a grey tiger stripe as I recall. That was a long time ago.
In more recent years, the most cats I’ve had on the long term is four. I show three of them in this photo. Around this time, we’d just lost our beautiful odd-eye white cat, Winfield, to cancer. And Dinah to a brain tumor. Yeah, there was some bad luck there for a while.
It’s such a shame that we outlive our cats. No matter what we do, they live for only seventeen or eighteen years. Fortunate are those who have the companionship of a healthy cat for longer. There’s a cat in Britain who’ll turn 30 this year.
I know people who live with more cats than I’ve had in a lifetime. Some have taken these cats in, others foster cats. My appreciation and admiration goes out to all of them. While I adore cats and don’t feel complete without one or two in my life, I’m not of the temperament or mentality to take responsibility for a bunch of them. It’s a big job—being responsible for one cat can be a big job, especially if it is a high-maintenance cat—one with a chronic illness, is elderly and failing, or has a dangerous habit, for example. There are cats that swallow string and ribbon and even chew metallic bows. Some cats are attracted to plastic and get themselves into some serious fixes when they eat a piece that doesn’t want to pass through their system. I know a cat who eats plastic bags. House plants can be a danger for some cats. Yes, some of us have to redecorate our homes for a cat with a dangerous habit or fixation. And what about a cat that can’t be litterbox trained. I loved one of those for seventeen years. He certainly forced many changes in our household.
If you have an easy-going cat with no dangerous or annoying inclinations, count yourself lucky and treat that kitty like the jewel that she is. If you’re dealing with a special-needs cat or you’ve taken in a lot of cats, bless you for giving so much.