A question I am often asked is “when will I know if I have too many cats?” People are usually looking for me to give a definite number such as 5, 10, 15 or 20. The truth is, for some people, two cats are too many based on things very specific to their particular living conditions. The answer is unique to each person. You have to look at:
Your own living conditions
Your current cat family
Your financial situation
Your physical and emotional abilities
Your schedule and the demands on your time
Your reasons for wanting to acquire multiple cats
Your family members’ opinions and how the addition of another cat will affect their lives
Finding the Right Forever Home
So many of us want to rescue every cat we see on the street or in the shelter but it doesn’t always mean that OUR home is the best alternative for that cat. Perhaps the cat you rescue from the side of the road would be better off if you dedicate your time to finding him another forever home other than yours. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of the moment and before you know it, that cat has found his way into your heart at the expense of the cats you already have at home.
Getting Involved in the Right Way
If it turns out that you can’t take another animal into your home it doesn’t mean you can’t involve yourself in a meaningful way:
Make a monetary donation to a shelter or animal welfare organization
Donate items to your local shelter (most shelters have wish lists)
Volunteer your time at the shelter
Become a participant in fundraising events
Do your part to educate your community
Help find homes for animals
Acquiring a Cat Should be the Start of a Lifelong Relationship
A cat isn’t an article of clothing that can be returned if it doesn’t fit or tossed away if you don’t like it anymore. The decision to add a cat to the family (whether it’s the first cat or an additional cat), should be made thoughtfully. All-too-often, many in our society view animals as disposable and easily replaceable if they are no longer convenient to our lifestyles. Having multiple cats can add an unbelievable amount of joy to your household but it can also cause stress and heartache if done incorrectly or if not thought out beforehand. If you’re concerned that adding one more cat may put you, your family, your current cats and the newcomer in an unhealthy position, then take time to discuss this carefully and seek the advice of your veterinarian or other professional.
Need More Information?
For more specific help on cat behavior problems in multicat homes, refer to the book Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant. This ground-breaking book was the first of its kind to deal with the unique challenges that households with multiple cats face.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.