Are five cats too many?

newhomeseekerJuly 24, 2009

I never thought I'd be asking this question but are five cats too many for one household? I started with one and my fiance told me "no more". My first, I adopted because her owner threw her outside as a kitten after she climbed their Christmas tree. I took her home with me on Christmas Eve. That was six years ago. Two years later I was driving home and about 2 minutes from my house (it was raining) I saw this little black bird sitting on the road and it wouldn't move as I drove closer. I stopped my car, got out and found out the "bird" was actually a tiny kitten about 3 weeks old!. She had a respiratory infection, fleas, lice, ear mites, and worms. I took her home with me and to the vet the next day. To this day she loves to play in water. I wonder if it is because she was rescued during a rainstorm.

My third addition used to my sister's cat. She found him as a 4 week old kitten (along with a litermate) tossed out beside the road. She kept him until he was three years old and she had to move into an apartment that didn't allow pets. She asked me to keep him at my house for her. Now I refuse to give him back. He adores me and follows me everywhere.

And then last summer I was checking my mail and this tiny ball of gray fur came flying out a bush near my mailbox and hurled herself at my feet meowing loudly the entire time. I didn't plan on keeping her but I quickly grew attached to this whiny baby and she still thinks I am her mama (she was about 4 weeks old when I found her).

Well, now I am faced with wanting to add a 5th member to my feline family. In may, a stray had two kittens in our garage. I have been taking care of them and want to find good homes for them. Was scheduled to take them to a rescue for their shots yesterday but the night before (we are keeping them in our basement away from my other cats) one of the kittens crawled up into some insulation in the basement celing and and fell from the ceiling (I was down there opening a can of food at that time) to the concrete and he had a bloody nose and was shaking his head and having trouble breathing. I panicked and called our emergency vet line and rushed him to the vet at 10pm.

She said he had some trauma to his nose and face but no brain damage or head trauma and by the end of the visit the little baby was purring like crazy and playing and acting all adorable and I was embarrased to have rushed him to the vet. That experience made me bond with him and I'm very protective of him now. I had to take his brother to the rescue last night for his surgery. I had to leave him there and I cried when I left because its a nice place but so sad for all the animals in cages there. There were so many. And the little kitten (simba) that I dropped off was just so scared to be left there. I already signed the papers to turn him over to the rescue but I am going to foster him. I am supposed to do the same with his brother (the one who got hurt) but I just don't think I can go through with it!!

He is so sweet and adorable and he deserves a great home and I know I can give him one. I just don't want it to cause stress on my four other babies. They mean so much to me and I want to do what is best for them. We live in a small house (about 1400 sqft) but have a full basement they have access to (normally). I also don't want to stress the household by having two males because they all get along pretty well now except for my oldest female and the male get into spats over who is the head honcho of the group. My youngest female is very aggressive with the others (she DEMANDS that they play with her and loves to chase anyone who will run from her but all in good fun as she will act submissive to all of them and roll over on her back and show her belly like "look at how CUTE I am" even though she weighs more than anyone but my male.)

They all get along well now and I'm not sure if I could slip a new kitten in without upsetting the balance. Also I don't want my current "baby" (the one I found last year) to feel like she is being replaced.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As someone who has five cats my answer is no. But I guess it depends on the person. Mine were all rescues like yours, not impulse purchases, and they all needed help at that moment.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 12:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think it really comes down to each household dynamic. I've seen it work fine and I've known hoarders who want to save every animal and in turn aren't really able to care for any of them. If you are able to provide the love and care (and have $ for emergencies) and cats have a peaceful dynamic, then I don't see much of a difference between 4 and 5 cats.

That being said, your city may have a different opinion. I know we are only allowed up 3 total for dogs and cats without a special license. It's worth a quick phone call.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 12:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As another person with 5 cats and 2 big dogs, not too many as long as you can afford to pay for their needs. All 5 of my cats are rescues of one sort or another, and my one dog I adopted from a rescue.

The other dog came to visit 11 years ago, and ended up staying as a companion to the female dog I had at that point.

I do sigh every week as I grocery shop, I spend more on my pets than I do on myself. But they are all well taken care of and very much loved.

The cats all get along, or at least tolerate each other. There are 2 distinct groups ... the oldest sisters are together ... and then the newer group with the 2 boys and former barn cat "Momma". They do intermingle, and sometimes get on each others nerves, but they are all very tolerant.

Here are 4 of them ...

The dogs are good friends with the 2 male cats, Lily is best friends with Bailey ... they always sleep together ...

I believe it's all how you introduce them to each other ... slowly and carefully works for me, through a screen so they are separated at first.

Good luck ...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That would be too many for me but it's obviously not too many for some. I prefer two but at times I have three because I've taken in a stray - but that is my limit. All my cats are exclusively indoors and among other things, I don't have room for enough litter boxes for five cats. I've also found it really challenging having multiple cats when they develop health problems - hard to tell whose poop is what condition, whose barfing, etc. Also hard to make sure each one eats the correct food for their condition. And it is challenging to get all in for veterinary needs when you work during the day - not to mention how expensive it can become depending on how far you take things. So like others say, it depends on your circumstances I guess.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How many is too many varies with the person, I guess. It wouldn't be too many for me, but it sure would for my husband.

I don't think kittens upset the group dynamic much. For a week or so, the older cats may show annoyance or fear of it, but they seem to rapidly realize that it is a baby and harmless. I once saw a male cat we had give his new kitten companion, less than 2 months old, a sharp rap on the head with his paw, but he did her no harm and they were soon great companions.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 2:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think five is when you get the official Crazy Cat Lady designation, right? :)

Very seriously consider your fiance's opinion. My last cat acquisition caused strife in my marriage. In hindsight, I shouldn't have done it.

Also consider the cost of vet care. Can you afford that many pets? Even the routine care can feel expensive, but what if more than one of your cats is ill or needs surgery at the same time?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 9:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, as I've told you, I have 5. Never thought I'd see the day, but if you are a softie and you love cats, it happens. Unfortunately, there are so many poor little cats that need us! Each of my 5 is a rescue that I love dearly. I can't imagine not having any one of them. I downsized to a smaller 1400 sq. ft. house with a small yard, but when I did, my main priority was putting up a cat fence, so my cats could still be outside, but be safe and not roam. (Except that I bring them in after midnight, bc I'm afraid of owls) I love it. I can completely empathize with you, bc once you fall in love with them, it's very hard to let go. The key now is to not put yourself in that position again. Any more kittens falling out of the sky into your lap must immediately go to rescue! The vet bills are to be considered. You've already had experience with that, so you know. One of mine fell a year ago and hurt her spine, causing paralysis in her back legs. For 2 months, I had to do physical therapy with her, carry her to the litterbox, give her meds, clean up all the mess from the diarrhea the meds caused, keep her confined so she could heal, and take her back and forth to the vet, but, I tell ya, the day her little tail twitched, starting the road to almost full recovery, was a very happy day for me. The vet bills were over $2,000. Luckily, I had it at the time. I don't vaccinate my cats. I know that I'm running a risk, but since I was a kid, I've had cats and never vaccinated any of them and they've all been fine. From what I've read, vaccinations aren't always considered safe or necessary. As far as the cats all getting along, don't even worry about it; it will happen. Time, love and patience work miracles. I've integrated cats, dogs, and even potbellied pigs -- all with great success. Generally, let them see each other for awhile w/o interacting and while you are loving and holding them so the other can see that this a new, loved member of the family, then supervised visits, all taking as much time as needed. My animals cost me a lot of money, a lot of time and my heart breaks hard when I lose one of them, but in return, their companionship and unconditional love is amazing. My husband let me down, and my friends can let me down, but my animals never do. I can't imagine life without them. I'd rather be considered a crazy cat lady by some narrow-minded person any day than be a cold, hard-hearted person who thinks they know enough about others to judge.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just want to say also, after reading through all of the responses above a second time, that I'm so impressed at how each and every post offers some good advice. How cool is that? And don't discount your fiance in your decision - make sure you talk A LOT about it, so you KNOW he's on board. He's precious too and deserves time, love and patience. :)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 10:53AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Suddenly lost use of rear legs.
My 6 year old Golden suddenly lost use of his rear...
Excellent Animal Hospital in New England?
We are happy with our vet (actually vets, she has a...
Constipated Kitty (Warning - LONG)
Hi All - I haven't been on the forum in quite awhile,...
Kitty Xanax?
We have 6 cats, two are in desperate need of a grooming....
Dog training human.....
I am an intermittent dog trainer. I worked hard at...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™