The Multi-cat Household

I’d be interested in people’s thoughts as to why some people like to keep lots of cats. I am not talking about the cat hoarder, which is something completely different, I think.

I am talking about people who keep say 15 cats but keep them well and sensibly. The cats are well looked after and the person is content and organized.

What makes this person tick? Most people find keeping one or two cats enough. There is, after all, the cost and responsibility that goes with keeping a large number of cats.

Personally I would be a bit stressed out by the responsibility. Are they all healthy? Do I need to take him to the vet? What is the best cat food for Fred? And will Samantha eat that cat food? Will Fred get on with Samantha? How can I get her to sleep over there? I’ve gotta get another cat litter box because she hates that one….

There would seem to a lot of organizing and thinking to do. It is work. So where is the pleasure?

There is one person who will leave a comment, Elisa as she keeps about 15 cats (at the last count). But Elisa runs a mini cat rescue organization part-time as far as I can see – is that correct Elisa? So that is different really.

It is the people who just keep say 10 cats for the pleasure of it that interests me Why do they do it? As I said beyond a certain number of cats it would seem that the pleasure of companionship with a domestic cat becomes…well, work, in a way.

Perhaps most people who live in multi-cat households just drift into it gradually. They arrive at the 15 cat household not by desire but by chance or a lack or control over their lives.

That may be too harsh an assessment. I am sure it applies to some people, though, but definitely not to Elisa. She is smart and well organised.

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Jun 03, 2011 Cats are for the Affluent
by: Sylvia Ann

A typical day in this household:

Breakfast for housecats: a jar of Gerber’s meat ‘pudding’: $1.05 One can of Fancy Feast: about 60 cents at Walmart. One can of gourmet stuff: @$1.35. The foregoing may be accepted or rejected.

Luncheon: One can of Fancy Feast: 60 cents. One can of Fancy Feast ‘Elegant Medleys’: about $1.00.

Late afternoon snack: one can of Fancy feast at 60 cents, another can of ‘Elegant Medleys’ – $1.00.

Supper: one-third pound minced raw steak: $1.70. Two cans of Fancy Feast – $1.20 and one can of ‘Meow Mix’ – @ 60 cents.

Leftovers served to horde of ferals, supplemented by two to four cans of Friskies per day, per cat, depending on size. Each stray costs between @$50.00 to $65.00 per month. This doesn’t include a splash of organic milk and cream every day.

Cats will eat cornmeal pellets goosed up with fake flavors – which they aren’t served in this house. To complicate matters, they tend to dislike the ostensibly more nutritious, high-end kibbles priced at @$24.00 for a 10 x 12-inch bag.

Vet bills can be disastrous, including tests for feline leukemia – and euthanasia for infected and very ill strays and ferals.

Why do people do this? The saintly souls do it because they love cats. The unsaintly because they also love cats, find them intellectually unstimulating, but deserving of unconditional kindness. Graham Greene bears being quoted again: ‘Pity is more promiscuous than lust and – unlike lust – it does not diminish in later life.’

There’s nothing admirable in people whose greed for acquisition is larger than their bank account – yet millions max out their credit cards, including film stars burdened with luxury houses whose mortgages are worth more than the house.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, people driven not by greed but by unthinking, compulsive compassion hardly deserve to be rejected. Their downfall is that no one will help them care for their cats for very long, and they’ve reached a point of being unable to do it alone. A cat can live for 20 years and beyond, and their cost balloons with the passage of the years.

Animal rescuers are a dime a dozen, and can end up carrying the cost of the enterprise on their own shoulders – with dribs & drabs, now and again, from a kind stranger. Or zero assistance. Been there. Done that. Still do it, in fact. Mother Theresa expanded her humanitarian outreach worldwide, but she was so lovably charismatic, she was deified even by atheists. If animal rescue folks are obscure, they can end their days in destitution.

Less dire, there are people who simply love cats, thrive on being surrounded by cats, and can afford to feed and care for the cats to the end – both the end of the cats and themselves, through a LWT. If there is a heaven – and a bunch of us hope to heaven there ain’t – these saints will be up there with their cats.

Jun 03, 2011 Too many is not good for them
by: Kathryn

Diane with 11 cats has closer relationships only with some and that proves a point,after a certain number of cats,some miss out on constant one to one love.
Brandy can’t imagine the smell of 4 or 5 cats poop,that isn’t a problem here in the UK where most cats go out.
Like other responsible cat loving friends we have a patch of earth kept freshly dug in our garden for ours to use but our limit is 4 cats to ensure each one gets the one to one attention they need as we are four in human family too.
Any more is unfair on the cats and while taking in rescue cats from death row is very commendable,if they are not rehomed then it would mean drawing the line one day and being unable to save more.
Rescuing cats should mean saving them for a better life,rehoming them,not hoarding them and expecting help to keep them,unless of course you run a proper registered Rescue Centre and take in unrehomeable cats.
But however many,we should put the welfare of our cats before any selfish desire to want more.

Jun 03, 2011 Too many
by: Barbara

Ruth has already said what has happened to our ex-friend’s 15 cats, but going back to happier times when we really believed she loved them, for a while she was in hospital quite often and Ruth and I looked after the cats while she was in hospital, sometimes for up to 2 weeks at a time and we both found it exhausting physically and mentally, worrying about each cat having his or her food undisturbed, worrying because some wouldn’t use dirty litter trays and we just couldn’t keep them clean, worrying because they all needed attention, love, grooming and checking over to make sure they were well. Worrying about them being alone and fighting amongst themselves, worried because one was a bully and some were scared of him, worrying in case a bee or wasp got in and one was stung in the mouth etc etc etc the list is endless. We were always so glad to hand responsibility back to her, thinking that she could cope with them, even admiring her for coping with them….. Unfortunately it wasn’t so. Obviously some people must be able to do it, but it’s only too easy to keep adding one and then another one, thinking one more won’t make any difference. But eventually it does make a difference, they are all to feed and care for
for the rest of their lives, come hardship, come boyfriends come whatever will – those cats depend on their human for their existence so to my mind no-one should take on so many cats without giving a hell of a lot of thought to the consequences of such a commitment, not least can they afford to feed them and get them the veterinary care they may need.

Not many people would opt to have 15 children, so why take on responsibility for 15 cats so lightly.

Barbara avatar

Jun 03, 2011 2 is just enough for us
by: Brandy

We have two and with a vet bill inching closer to $2000 grand this year I know we couldn’t afford to have any more cats. Not to mention 7kg of their food is $50/2-3months and then its another $45/month for their wet food. (that’s our fault on insisting to feed them high quality high protein food with no grains)

When I cat sit for my parents we have 3 cats and even with two boxes I can barely keep up with all the poop!! I really cant even start to imagine even 4 or 5 cats. i have a sensitive nose so I really smell the litter and end up doing it twice a day.

Jun 03, 2011 13 and counting
by: Gail (Boston, USA)

A fellow volunteer at our shelter, at last count, has 13 cats. He’s a single fellow (no surprise) and, initially, I thought he was bonkers. Over time and getting to know him, I have reversed that opinion.

He owns a very large ranch-style home and he has converted his home to be cat-friendly. He has the means, the time (retired) and the love of everything cat. He has vets at his disposal being a volunteer who’s also on the shelter’s board of directors. He chooses cats no one else wants – special needs, behaviorial problems, elderly. His home is a sanctuary for the forgotten/unwanted cats. He’s also provided for them in his (living) will. How can you not admire that type of dedication?

I asked him once why he does it. His answer was if he didn’t, some may never get a chance to know love.

Jun 03, 2011 Too many is unfair
by: Ruth

The most cats we’ve had at a time is 4, although being in rented property we are only allowed 2 officially. I love cats and would love to be surrounded by lots of them day and night, but my head tells me that we couldn’t afford to give any more the quality time, the good food and the veterinary attention they have a right to.
No one has the right to take in more cats than they can cope with for the above and then expect other people to help out with the work and the expense.
It isn’t fair on friends and most of all it isn’t fair on the cats.
If we had the space and the finances needed for more cats, I would gladly devote time to each and every cat,the 2 we have now come first with us and what money we can spare goes to our local cat Sanctuary.
Sadly, taking in too many cats often has an unhappy ending as we’ve recently found out !A ‘friend’ when they became too much for her, abandoned her 15 cats, some needing urgent vet treatment, she hid the truth from others and from herself by hiding those cats away. She knew some hadn’t the attention or quality of life they had the right to but she told herself it was better than no life.
Now we are picking up the pieces, the cats are in cages, most too old to rehome.
I’m not saying everyone who has a lot of cats is at risk of doing the same but I am saying cat lovers need to be very careful having too many cats doesn’t creep up on them, because then the cats are at risk because of too many to cope with physically and financially.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jun 03, 2011 14 cats
by: Diane

I and my husband are currently sharing our home with 11 cats and off to get 3 more tomorrow. We just kind of fell into it to begin with, but after 4-5, I just can’t get enough. I totally agree that it is a lot of work, but the unconditional love that I get from each one is irreplaceable. I have closer relationships with some, but spend time with all daily. There has been there challenges, such as the right litter and number of boxes and where, but everything is down to a science to stay organized. Otherwise it could be a disaster. I have 8 girls and 3 boys.6 long hair and 5 short. Only 2 in and out cats, but the rest have plenty to do inside. And lots of beds, pads etc to go around. I love them with all my heart, and don’t like to be away from them for more than a couple of hours. They are just special. Try it!!!!!

1 thought on “The Multi-cat Household”

  1. i started out with two. Then got 3 more as were rescued. Are down to 4 cats for now. My limit is 5 i dont know how other people can cope with anymore of that. Its expensive buying vet cat food plus the vaccinations when they are about $40 a shot. We are lucky that can pay things off, have a understanding vet. Our landlord is understanding, the house is on the market so i think it unfair to have any more than that. I knew someone that had 22 cats. All cats here are vaccinated and wormed and flea’ed and well looked after. We have a cat flap and the animals sleep anywhere in the house. Also make sure as the house is well venetialted and windows opened regularly and have an airomatic senser to make things smell nice. I dont think its fair having alot of cats as you cant give indivudual attention and love plus will cost alot of money.


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