Categories: ownership

How many cats can you have legally? I’ll tell you.

How many cats can you have legally? On this planet, extremely rarely a local authority discusses and perhaps creates a law which limits the number of cats that you can own. In general there are no limits although, in effect, the limit is dictated by animal welfare law which states that you must look after your cats well because if you don’t you may be in breach of the law and prosecuted.

Animal Welfare Laws

You can see, therefore, that the limit on the number of cats that you can have legally is not dictated by a specific number as created in law but by the general animal welfare laws which includes looking after domestic cats. Therefore, in theory and indeed in practice you could keep 1000 cats and be within the law provided you were extremely industrious, extremely careful, extremely mindful of the law, extremely mindful of the welfare of your cats and completely sane!

Cat House on the Kings

There is a person who does this and her charity is: The Cat House on the Kings. This is California’s largest no cage, no kill lifetime cat sanctuary and adoption centre. It is an amazing place and probably the world’s largest cat sanctuary. All the cats are cared for beautifully. The lady who started it and manages it is Lynea Lattanzio. She gave over her property and her house for the benefit of the welfare of stray and unwanted cats. What a lady!

Federal Law on Cat Limits

There are no federal or countrywide laws dictating how many cats that you can have legally. Any laws governing a limit on the number of catch you can own will relate to local laws such as city or perhaps county laws but I’m unaware of any county laws in this regard.

A country concerned with domestic cat ownership and the alleged damage done by feral cats is Australia. They have a tendency to be more proactive about domestic cat ownership and therefore their state legislatures are more inclined to discuss laws regarding limits on cat ownership be that in terms of numbers of cats owned or with respect to cat confinement and curfews and the like.


As I recall, Florida may have some pockets of local authorities where they have discussed limits on cat ownership but by all means look this up on Internet. As I’ve said, it is extremely rare to place legal limits on the numbers of cat within a household. Marion County has a cat confinement policy.

The Future

But pressure is mounting on cat ownership, particularly irresponsible cat ownership. This is because there is a greater pressure on environmental issues and the lawmakers i.e. the politicians need to take heed of the voices of their citizens who they represent. This pressure on cleaning up the environment in all manner of ways also includes how to humanely deal with feral cats which are a byproduct of irresponsible cat ownership. Working backwards one solution is to limit the number of cat that people have to stop cat hoarding situations and owners who carelessly adopt cats and then discard them soon afterwards being unaware as they are of the responsibilities concerned and the funding required.

Therefore, I would expect in the long term future for there to be the introduction of more legislation regarding restrictions on cat ownership unless local governments can obtain the commitment of their citizens to resolve the matter voluntarily through education.

Source: Myself.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • In my county you may have a combination of 5 cats and dogs on properties smaller than a few acres. And yes they enforce it. Animal Control won't enforce the leash law or nuisance barking but they'll enforce how many you can have.

      • In New Mexico. Few restrictions except for livestock on bigger properties. It's not a bad thing as most people can't take care of more than that properly. I believe it was a backhanded approach to the roaming dog packs and noise from a hundred barking dogs in neighborhoods. Since current pets were grandfathered in there was little to protest.
        Kennel permits can be purchased for a few hundred but they are not allowed to be a noise or odor issue.
        They have not passed mandatory spay and neuter ordinances and an intact dog or cat can be licensed for under 20 bucks. I often refer to the Heart Ordinance in Albuquerque as the ideal model for the rest of the state and the nation.

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