too many cats?

I met this guy, a friend of an old friend yesterday. We all went out to walk, and eat.
Today was his birthday, so my friend and another lady took me over to his house for cake and ice cream they got for him.
He has 19 cats. Is this too many? Naturally, the house smelled, and the new kitten was checked twice by a dr. and seemed to be getting better (it was about 2 months old).

If he has so many cats it impacts his ability to provide proper care for them, including simply by paying for their food, kitty litter and vet visits, then it is too many.

19 is way too many for my tastes, but then, right now I’m enjoying the benefits of “window kitties”–kitties who belong to people who live in various ground floor apartments in my complex. I get to see and smile at the kitties, but don’t have to feed them or clean their litter boxes. On the downside, I don’t get to pet them or hear them purr.

Well yes it is. He is what we call “at the far end of the curve” for this type of behavior. It is a skewed distribution because most people have 3 cats or less of course. The line for eccentricity starts at 5 cats (that are true house cats). Eight or so and the you can see the doors to loony-land start to open. You can see that your good friend here is well beyond that so normal words start to fail but the descriptive term “cat hoarder” has been coined to describe people that do this. In all seriousness, cat hording is believed to be caused by a mental illness like OCD or be a mental illness in its own right. Cases pop up in the news pretty frequently although the results for the animals can be ghastly as the hoarder loses the time and the means to take care of them properly.

Nineteen cats is too many. In my humble opinion. If you Ask Metafilter , the ideal number seems to be between one and three.

My girlfriend said he gets them all spayed or neutered, and gets all their shots, and front declaws. They are apparently all indoor cats. I can imagine his litter bill, and I suppose it would be unusual to not have a litter smell in the hours.
Only 5 of them came downstairs and near the guests.

I have 8 indoor cats - who have their own heated, air conditioned suite in a converted two car garage - and I do not see myself getting any more. Most of mine were feral rescues.

I don’t think I could comfortably take care of as many as I have if I hadn’t enclosed the garage. 8 cats are going to have a cat aroma, no matter how clean I keep the litterboxes, so this way I have a clean, odor free home and my cats have carpeted shelves and their own sofa, recliner and crib. No TV, but they never watched it anyway. My office is in the former tool room so I spend a lot of time out here with them.

My cats get annual vaccinations, flea treatments, and eat fairly high quality cat food. I will do without something I want to make sure they are taken care of. I don’t have (or want) children, so what little maternal instinct goes to my cats!
“Too many” is more than you can afford to take care of.

Yes, I am a “crazy cat lady”, why do you ask? :slight_smile:

If they are all well taken care of and the house is in reasonably good shape, no, I guess it’s not too many. But I do think that it would be pretty hard for most people to provide the attention, food and litter needed for that many cats plus keep the house presentable. I couldn’t do it.

However, once I adopted my two cats, I quickly realized how some people end up with so many freaking cats. If you’re getting one cat, it makes sense to get two so the first one has some company. After that point, it doesn’t seem like that much trouble to add “just one more” since cats are relatively low-maintenance. There are so many homeless cats out there to tug at your heart strings, and it’s hard to say no to a cute cat with a sob story.
I saw another cat at the shelter who was very sweet and I was tempted to add her as my third, but thankfully someone else adopted her while I was debating the issue. :slight_smile:

Was the kitten checked because it has a respiratory infection? Many cats get this when confined to small spaces with lots of other cats because all the urine they produce irritates their airways. I imagine that since the house smelled and the cats likely remain indoors, they don’t have ready access to fresh air.

For this reason and others, I believe that, yes, 19 cats are too many. Especially for just one person.

Sounds like he’s a hoarder. I think 19 is about four times too many.

We maintain a level of 3 with an “emergency slot” for a fourth, should a stray show up. And one did. We are at our max. We can’t even take in a cat from a family member. My husband is convinced that if we go over our self-imposed limit, tragedy will befall one of our existing kitties.

I vary between one and three cats, and I believe I read somewhere recently (can’t remember where so can’t cite immediately) that studies show three to be the optimum number.

Originally I only had one, but that was ok 'cos it was just me and her against the world. Then I moved into a house with someone else, and it seemed logical to do the “one cat each” thing. Then Cat2 got run over and died, so we were back to just me and Her Ladyship. So we got a kitten.

Sadly Her Ladyship succumbed earlier this year and now we have just the one cat again. Until January when we’re going to take in a kitten from the local rescue centre. My housemate won’t come with me to the centre because that would result in all the abandoned kitties coming to live at our house.

As far as I’m concerned, “enough” cats is as many as I can afford in terms of food, litter, vets bills, vaccinations, cattery fees and insurance. Given my wages, lifestyle etc, that’s never really going to be more than three. Besides, how many cats can fit on your lap at any one time?

They all need love, people!

That is another reason I won’t have any more than I do. If I’ve been away it takes forever to get caught up with ear scritches!

Nineteen cats is way too many. I have four and I thought that was too many. We were shooting for three but the last one had three kittens a month after we brought her home from the humane society. (Four for the price of one!) We adopted out two but couldn’t bear to part with all of them. So we have four, and are embarrassed to tell people that.

I think 19 cats is too many, and I love cats. We have 5–originally were going to have 4, but the little stray at the vet’s office was too cute to pass up, so now we have 5. No more, though. We thought we’d be a little overwhelmed by that many indoor cats, but really we’re not. They’re all happy, healthy, well cared for, well adjusted, and they get along with each other. The smell is only an issue right after somebody leaves a “deposit”–their litterboxes (four of them) are cleaned out daily so it hasn’t been a problem.

The only downside I can think of is sort of personal–since I don’t like having people in my house when I’m not home (partly because I just don’t like it, partly because I don’t believe that anybody, no matter how conscientious, will be as careful about not letting the cats out accidentally as we are), it means that any time we want to travel (which isn’t often, but I’d like it to be a little more often than it is) we have to take them to the “kitty resort.” They tolerate this okay (it’s a really nice place) but they don’t love it, so we don’t subject them to it very often. I can’t imagine the logistics of trying to organize 19 cats when doing things like taking trips.

I think one cat is one cat too many, but then I’m allergic.

Owning 19 cats, if all well cared for and healthy as overeasy4 describes, is eccentric at best. It is definitely more than one standard deviation from the mean.

(I had three and I am a cat person. However, Little Gas #2 is allergic so we don’t have any currently. We do have guinea pigs but I wouldn’t want 19 of those either.)

I vote for Too Many.

We’re now a four-cat household, and I keep wondering if we have gone over the line. But relative peace reigns, and the house doesn’t smell like a giant litter box. I’ve known of other four-cat households. I’d definitely be leery about adding to our menagerie.

When we bought our home, it had originally been lived in by the original owner from 1936 to the mid 70’s (another owner between her and us). Small home, small block of land. She is best remembered for having 32 cats <shrugs>.

When she died the refuge had a great time catching them all.

If all the cats are healthy and the house is sanitary, it’s nobody’s business but his. If the cats are neglected and the house is gross, then it’s not OK. IMO there is no set number of cats per se that is OK or not OK. It depends on the situation.

I do have 5 cats myself, and that is my limit. I would not want to have less than 3, though, and will maintain that number should some of the 5 pass on. That’s the number I feel comfortable with. How other people feel about it? Irrelevant. Except my boyfriend, who says more than 5 is riding the crazy train, and I do have to respect that, since he spends half the week here.

I agree entirely. There is no cutoff point at which you can say “this is too many cats.” For some people, one cat is too many. In extraordinary circumstances, a household might be able to handle a couple of dozen happy, healthy, well-cared-for cats. Having a multiplicity of cats does not necessarily mean a person is a nutcase or a “collector.”

There was a lengthy (and sometimes heated) discussion of the matter here.

I’m a big fan of “no more pets than hands to pet them” for free roaming house pets like dogs and cats. One person…two pets, two people…four pets. When I took girls to the humane society last year, they said that each pet should have at least an hour of quality time with a human every day. Can he spend 19 hours a day playing with kitties? Can he tell which cat is sick if he finds vomit on the floor? Will he notice if one cat isn’t eating? No, he won’t…until it is too late. He has too many cats, even if they are currently healthy.