How Many Cats Is Too Many?

One cat grooming another cat isolated on grey background.Is becoming the “crazy cat lady” a self-fulfilling prophecy? Is there a set number of square footage required per cat? Many cat owners desire to add a second cat to their household; if not for their own enjoyment, to get their first kitty a friend. Having a cat is awesome, and having two is even better. Most households can accommodate two cats in even the smallest of quarters. However, when adopting even just one cat it is important to fully understand how much space, time, energy, and money you’ll need to provide for your new pack,

also referred to as a clowder (the proper term/most adorable term for a group of cats!). Here we’re going to talk about what it takes to have multiple cats, and how you can plan to take in another one.

Space needed: The first thing to call into question when considering having multiple cats is the space necessary. Many times, if you adopt two cats from the same litter at the same time, they will get along famously right from the get-go. However, with adding new cats to the household, things can get a little more complicated. You’ll need enough space to accommodate multiple litter boxes, as well as enough space to let the cats have private time.

There are certain procedures to follow when introducing unfamiliar cats to each other. Cats are skeptical creatures, and don’t usually accept other animals, or other humans for that matter, right away. You’ll need to have the time to spend on introducing the cats. We’ve got a step-by-step guide for introducing cats to one another right here. At the beginning, you may need enough space to separate the cats while you’re out until you can successfully monitor their behavior depending on how feisty the meetings are going.

Young woman with Persian cat playing. Outdoors portraitAttention necessary: Again, cats are like humans in how different their personalities can be, and you’ll need to be prepared to show the right kind of affection to each of your furbabies. You may have one cat that’s a lap-hog. This could cause issues between your cats; you’ll need to be the cat-parent and equally distribute love to each pet. They will most likely adapt to the other’s temperament over time, but you can’t expect the cats to get along like siblings right away, unless they actually are siblings.

Cats getting along: Sometimes, it could even take years for your cats to all get along. This means that you’ll need to be patient and attentive so that no accidents happen. Cats are natural predators, and have been known to fight each other over the smallest issue. Cats have different personalities, and these will certainly come out at their strongest if you bring them all into one home. There are dominant cats, submissive cats, loners, attention-hogs, lazy guys, and many other types of personalities.

The amount of cats that you can hold in one home depends on the types of personalities that you’re mixing as well. If you have two lazy guys and one attention-hog, your home may be quite tranquil, as the lazy guys will let the attention-hog do his thing. However, if you have more than one dominant cat, fights could break out.

Cost of cats: If you want a cat, or more than one, you’ll need to budget accordingly. Adopting a second cat requires 2x the food, 2x the litter, 2x the veterinarian appointments, etc. We estimate that the cost of one cat for their whole lifetime ranges from $7,500-15,000. This means that you need to multiply this number by the amount of cats that you’ll be hosting. If you are adopting an adult cat or an elderly cat, that amount can certainly be reduced. Either way, you’ll need to prepare for a new member of the household and all of their required expenses.

Cleaning & Upkeep: More cats equals more mess, more cat hair, and more time needed to keep the house clean. In order to keep your house in order, you’ll need to have enough time devoted to keeping your cats and their areas in tip-top shape to prevent messes and accidents. A cat’s litter box should be cleaned once a week, at the very least. It is recommended that you have one litter box per cat. The time it takes to clean a litter box is minimal, but necessary. If your cats aren’t happy with the cleanliness of their litter boxes, they are liable to have accidents throughout your home.

Two cats staring off into the distanceYou’ll also need to be able to take the time to brush each of your cat’s hair and teeth, and trim their nails regularly. A cat’s nails need to be attended to on average every 2-4 weeks. If you don’t keep your cat’s nails trimmed, they will begin feeling uncomfortable and likely start to scratch furniture and other undesirable surfaces. Also, with long and sharp nails, a harmless quarrel could end with bloodshed between your cats. You’ll want to brush your cats almost every day to reduce shedding. Just one cat can coat an entire house, and with three, who knows how much fur they’ll produce!

So, to answer our most pressing question, there is no specific amount of cats that can be defined as “too many.” It all depends on each of the previous factors, especially the actual cats themselves. Inviting a new furbaby into your home is an exciting new endeavor, and if you are prepared, it can be a great asset to your household. With time, patience, and budgeting, you can have the cat kingdom of your dreams!