Too Many Pets?

Jul 27, 2019

Looks like everybody gets along just fine!
Credit cgwcool [Flickr]

Multiple pets in the same house, even when they are different species, can get along with each other.  Two things matter - that you don't take on more pets than you can reasonably care for, and that you make sure no one becomes a bully in the group!

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How many pets are too many? Currently we have one cat, but we have had as many as four cats at our house. For some folks, four pets is a lot. For others, it’s just a start.

I have an elderly friend who could not resist a homeless cat or dog. At one time she had fourteen animals, knew them all by name and personality and loved them each dearly.

I have a much younger friend who has more than twenty pets – a combination of inside cats, barn cats, dogs, even a couple of horses. She also works at a professional job, so most of her free time is spent caring for the animals.

A number of years ago I had a friend who had forty-two cats – yes, you heard that right – forty-two. He owned a large house with lots of bedrooms, so he basically set up cat colonies indoors, segregating them in such a way that they could all get along with their roommates. When he went out of town on vacation or a business trip, he had to hire someone to clean and feed in his absence.

So, do any of these friends have too many pets? I think my elderly friend did. She had to move into a retirement unit that would not allow so many animals. It was difficult for her to find homes for them all and painful to part with them.

My younger friend with all the different types of animals is certainly able to take care of them. They are all healthy and happy. But she has had to forego most of her social life in order to take care of her pets.

And my friend with the forty-two cats? Although he provided food and clean housing, there was no way for him to give all of them the kind of attention that makes any animal a pet.

So maybe that’s the determining factor in deciding how many are too many. If a person has space and time and resources to keep two or ten or twenty animals as pets, then that’s not too many. For someone else, just two (or even one) may be more than they can reasonably care for.

Remember, it’s not just about the numbers – it’s really about the relationship, when you’re speaking of pets.

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