General Question

majorrich's avatar

How many cats are too many?

Asked by majorrich (14689points) May 24th, 2015

A couple of weeks ago we looked at a kitten who wasn’t weaned yet in the hopes of helping our aging cat out with our newer juvenile cat. It new seems this kittens brother is also in play as they are moving and needs a home. This is almost like rescuing the other. My house is plenty large, and I have plenty of litter boxes. The old man actually doesn’t mind his grand-niece and sometimes even initiates paw boxing until her zeal for play gets too much. I am torn. Having two more wee kittens is kind of daunting. Do I have enough lap for them all?

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46 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Yes, do you want to be homeless? Imagine living in a cardboard box.

majorrich's avatar

Just so I don’t turn into that crazy old cat guy! Is there any way to predict how the old man is going to react to two more wee ones in his pride?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Laughs, I doubt you’ll get the title of Crazy Cat Guy if you can ask this question.

majorrich's avatar

He’s a terrific lap kitty! Will lay there for hours if I let him. Don’t want to spoil our relationship.

anniereborn's avatar

As long as they can all co-exist (and that is the big question), and you have the room. That is not too many.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

A long time ago I went to my boss’ house for a dinner. He mentioned his cat hated everyone and was nasty to all. He had cancer and didn’t have long to live. He hopped up on the couch where I was sitting and looked at me for a while. I said hello. He climbed into my lap and I stroked him for about two hours. He purred like crazy. He died a few days later. Want to hate cats?

johnpowell's avatar

You can never have too many as long as you can afford them.

JLeslie's avatar

My opinion is 4 starts sounding like a lot. Less than or equal to 3 sounds completely normal to me.

jca's avatar

As a cat owner of 4 (two that I got recently from kitten age and are now two, and two that are old cougars LOL), I can assure you the young ones will play with each other and probably leav the old one alone. If you get one young one, it will harass the old one. Get the two. Post an update as to what you choose to do and how it works out. Thanks.

cookieman's avatar

(I really dislike cats)

RadioFlyer's avatar

As I understand it, they can be delicious (if properlly prepared).

Pachy's avatar

If you ask my cat, his answer will be—unequivocally—not one single cat other than ME! The closest he’ll get to any other cat is through a screen door—and believe me, that’s not a pretty picture.

ragingloli's avatar

No such thing as “too many cats”.
They are a superior life form, and you lowly humans should bow down before them.

Coloma's avatar

The most I ever had was 4.
2 old guys, and then, as happens, 2 others came into my life as strays. I have 2 right now, 2 is a good number, infact, I’d say it’s purr-fect. If you have the time, space, resources and energy for more then go for it.

This video illustrates the perfect cat house, but clearly these guys have money to burn.
This is a must see, I LOVE this house.

sahID's avatar

Up to 4 is a manageable, reasonable number of FeSLQ (felines sharing living quarters). More than that and problems start to creep in.

One pertinent question to consider: does your city have an ordinance limiting the number of cats you can have? Some cities have such ordinances on their books, while others do not.
So if the city allows four or five, I say adopt the brother as well.

ucme's avatar

The Fluther catgasm screams ever louder…does nowt for me dear

Buttonstc's avatar

Four is just fine and I’m assuming that they’ll be eventually neutered because you’re a responsible pet parent.

The primary way that people become crazy cat ladies/guys is because they don’t get them fixed and they just keep multiplying.

The little ones will primarily play with each other, so less chance of harrassing the Sr. Citizen.

The most I’ve ever had at one time was three but that was in a small city apt. And the only reason it started getting burdensome was when I had to haul all three cat carriers to the Vet with deteriorating knee cartilage. So, that’s when I decided that there would be no further additions to the family years down the road.

Enjoy your little ones. They will provide many hours of delight and comfort. And your older guy will always have first dibs on your lap and the younger ones will learn that and be fine with it. They’ve never really known anything else and it’s far preferable to life in a shelter cage (or worse).

Zaku's avatar

It depends on how much shelf space you have.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I think 3 would be OK. I hope they’ll get along.

majorrich's avatar

We are going up to check on the kittens over the weekend. We don’t even have them sexed yet they were so tiny last we saw them.

Coloma's avatar

I will say that once, years ago, I tried to adopt a new female kitten, teenage kitten, and my resident female ran away , never to be seen again. Sometimes things do not go well and this was one of them. “Margo” my resident female cat was about 2–3, she was a rescue too and joined with 3 neutered males. Bringing in the 2nd female was a big mistake, I have never had female cats get along, males and females, males and males but never two females.

Same thing happened a few years ago trying to adopt a female that my daughter ended up taking. She drove my little female siames away, attacked her relentlessly, I know females CAN get along but I have never had luck with multiple female cats.

Zaku's avatar

I had two female cats get along, but they were sisters.

majorrich's avatar

The old guy is male, the juvenile is female, so I’m hoping for a couple more males, but we shall see how fate lines up the dice. The second cat is optional, but as they are moving it is definitely a rescue attempt here. Being siblings and the female being pretty young may aid in the pride bonding. The old guy will get to catch up on some much needed cat rest.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I don’t think three cats will turn you into a crazy cat guy. The two younger cats are likely to play together and to keep each other company. I’d take the little fella. Three would be my maximum though. I think three of anything is my maximum. Three kids. Three dogs. Two dogs and one cat. Two cats and one dog.

jca's avatar

@majorrich: What did you decide?

majorrich's avatar

We are going over to look at the kittens this weekend, still a couple weeks before they are weaned. I’m kind of leaning towards taking both so they don’t have to worry about finding a home for the other. We will evaluate their personalities and have a backup farm who always has room for cats. (Also mother of the lad we are getting the kittens from) sounds like a cant-lose situation, unless the kitties are little douce bags, in which case they both go to Carols farm. Lol

paulaschwartz's avatar

my grandma keeps 12 cats and she takes very good care of them. next month, one of cats will give birth to kittens!

RadioFlyer's avatar


Coloma's avatar

@paulaschwartz Is the pregnant cat a stray she took in?
Otherwise, if she is not spaying and neutering the cats that isn’t taking good care of them.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Coloma makes a very valid point.

You might want to consider presenting you grandma with the harsh truth of the saying “For every kitten born, a shelter cat dies. ”

Many people with unspayed cats pull the wool over their own eyes by vowing to find good homes for each of the kittens born (year after year after year). But even if they succeed, each of those good homes are now occupied by an unneccessarily random-bred kitten rather than the shelter cat who will surely die because their time is up due to lack of space.

That’s just the reality of the situation. There is no reason (unless one is a professional breeder) to bring any more kittens into a world where millions of cats are put to death every year. That may sound harsh but it is absolutely true.

Also, EVERY single area of the USA has a group offering low-cost spay/neuter for pets. Do your Grandma a favor and Google it for her area and give her the phone numbers. Since she’s a senior citizen there should be no problem in her qualifying.

The last cat I got spayed cost me all of $20. Not a typo. That’s twenty (not the hundreds typically charged by most vets) in my whole life the tops I ever paid to get a cat fixed was $40 in Philly. But everything is more expensive in large cities :)

Please see to it that your Grandma gets ALL of those cats fixed and help her out if necessary.

majorrich's avatar

The kittens are both males and are still nursing. Will be a couple more weeks before they are ready. Very adventurous and playful, they will keep Noel busy while Cuddles rests. Noel heated once before she was fixed, perhaps that bit of female hormone might help her want to mother the kittens.

majorrich's avatar

The Kitties arrived this evening. For now they are in quarantine in the laundry room until they are sure where the litter box and food are. Also, the cat that nose still functions will get a chance to smell them. We will increase their roaming range as they show they can get to the potty and stuff. And as the other cats accept them.

Coloma's avatar

Awww…they are adorable! Names yet? Sex? Do tell.
BTW…cats will hide in their litter boxes when they are stressed of afraid, it’s a scent thing, they feel secure surrounded by their own scent.

majorrich's avatar

They are both males and brothers so feel pretty safe with each other. I found them huddled under a shelf in their quarantine room where I can’t reach them. I hope after tonight they will feel a little less stressed. The White and Tabby is named Buster and the Black one is tentatively named Mittens (owing to white hands and feet)

jca's avatar

How are the kittens doing now, @majorrich?

majorrich's avatar

Because they are too small to climb the stairs, I’ve kept them in the basement and let them roam and play once they proved they knew where the litter box was. The other cats have not been going down there. The old man cat however, has been laying on the steps watching them. He seems pretty non-plussed by the invasion. The younger cat goes completely batshit crazy if she smell baby cat smell on me if I’ve been down cuddling with them. They are eating very well and drinking good. Pretty good for the Third day.

Buttonstc's avatar

Define “batshit crazy” in terms of what she actually does; growl or hiss at you, run away, race around the room?

As you probably know, cats are very smell oriented and that’s the primary way they identify the members of their family.

The more she smells their scent, the more she will become acclimated to the fact that it “belongs” in her territory.

Another helpful thing you might try is to put down a towel or some old t-shirts where the kittens typicslly sleep for a day or two.

Then bring them upstairs and put them in areas where she typically sleeps or hangs out. The more their smell becomes part of her world on an everyday basis, the less likely for any hostility when she meets them in person. And of course, extra cuddle time and plenty of loving from you reassures her that nothing will change just because of a few little interlopers.

You can also take a washcloth (dry) and rub them down with it. Then while you’re giving her some loving and petting, run the washcloth lovingly all over her. The more she gets used to their scent, the better it should go.

majorrich's avatar

If she smells their scent on me she snarls spits and claws then runs away. It has been getting a little better since she can go downstairs to visit with them, although usually she comes running back up with a bottlebrush tail. The kittens still are too small to negotiate the steps, so I figure by the time they can, she will be used to their scent. I hope. She shows interest in them though by going partway downstairs and observing them from above. It’s been 4 days so I figure another week or so she will be much better. In the meantime, the babies are eating like crazy! They burn up a lot of energy chasing each other around!

Buttonstc's avatar

Well that’s quite a reaction and amply illustrates how important smell is to ccats.

So, yyou’re right, the more exposure she gets to their sscent the smoother things will go and by the time they can navigate the stairs she will have gotten so used to their scent she’ll assume they belong there.

I wonder what her reaction would be if you used the washcloth to get their scent all over her? She would likely start grooming herself to get it off (and thus get more used to it in the process) :D

whenever I did this with my Velvet, she wouldn’t have much visible reaction other than grooming.

But she was just one of those cats who have no use for others of her own species :)

But she wasn’t the aggressive type to go after them and as long as they left her alone things were peaceful. I ccalled her the Greta Garbo of cats. “I want to be alone. ”

So it’s a good thing she’s curious but not attacking them.

She might never end up as best buddies with them but basically tolerate them. As long as there’s no attacks or bloodshed…that might be as good as it gets.

Just had to resign myself that Velvet just wasn’t a social cat. She was very friendly with people, even total strangers. Just no cats :)

majorrich's avatar

I did a good long play/petting session with the babies and immediately came up and wiped my hands all over Noel and she didn’t react much at all save the ‘What the heck Daddy? i’m relaxing here, be gone’ so I tentatively ever so cautiously think the transition wont be so bad.

Buttonstc's avatar

That sounds promising. Plus you’re not rushing anything and just allowing things to develop naturally.

majorrich's avatar

Uh oh. Hitch in the plan. The babies figured out the stairs earlier than I expected. They haven’t run into Noel yet, but should be exciting. If it goes badly they may go into quarantine a day or two longer

Coloma's avatar

Put up a baby gate. They are too small to get over it but another step towards integration. The biggest issue will be making sure you get them spayed/neutered before they reach sexual maturity or all hell might break loose with all the hormone scents and behaviors flying around.
Around 4–6 months is a good time even though some do it at 8 weeks. Shelters do but I think it is too young.

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