Newsday Tuesday – How Many Cats are Too Many?

I believe we all have our cat limit—the number of cats we can successfully embrace on our property, in our home, or in our hearts. I know people who have upwards of twenty cats and take excellent care of them. And I know people who struggle to properly care for one or two.

My pinnacle of cats was seven. I had lost a beloved cat and was pregnant (you women know what that can do to your brain). I began bringing in strays (some of which I’m pretty sure weren’t actually strays). One had kittens while in my care. With a small child and one on the way I became overwhelmed.

Fast forward thirty years and you’ll find me with four indoor cats. They (and I) thrived. During that time, I inherited four more indoor cats. Yes, I became a godparent to a friend’s cats. But then that’s another story for another time.

For me, I maintain that two (maybe three) is ideal. But I always seem to yearn for another kitten or seriously consider taking in another needy adult cat. How about you? Do you have a limit or do you go with the flow and take in cats that need a tender touch and a stable home?

Several of my friends have their pet cats and they also feed strays. They establish a routine and the free-spirit cats adapt. Sometimes these cats invite their cat friends to partake of the banquet and, if no one has taken care of the problem, litters and more litters of kittens will appear. And I know quite a few good souls who involve themselves in the rescue process. Some open up their home to cats on hospice, others take in special needs cats.

Do you have a limit as to how many cats you can love? Some people lose sight of how many they can successfully manage and things get out of control. They don’t have a cat boundary—that invisible, yet highly important knowledge and ability to stop at one, two, or four potato chips (or cats) and everyone suffers—most of all the cats.

Yet it happens over and over in every state and throughout the world, animals of all species are in danger because the breeding program someone starts or their desire to help animals has gotten way out of hand. What can we do? Adopt and rescue responsibly. Rather than pointing a finger at the odd couple down the street who has dozens of sick-looking cats all over their yard or a stench coming from their house, help them or call the proper authorities. Together, with education and action, we can all help.

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