By Laura Hopewell
I found myself taking this question very seriously after this past weekend revealed that many of my friends and family consider me the living example of a “crazy cat lady.” My fiancée and I have been living in a house with a blended family–his small dog and two cats, and my two cats all from before we met. Animal lovers to the core, we’ve always had a light-hearted approach to the situation, but we have to admit that we have a lot of pets!
So when our friends recently told me they had a kitten that needed a home, I naturally had to question my sanity in saying yes. I had always dreamed of having a calico, so was this fate? Remember Eleanor Abernathy from the Simpsons? A vision of her flashed across my mind, and I had to imagine, “What will people think?” Determining how many pets is “too many” turns out to be an interesting dilemma.
I took the most logical approach a “crazy” person could manage. My first thought was to corroborate my own notion of what’s reasonable with some information from a few reliable resources. I found a few great articles about bringing home new pets, what constitutes animal hoarding, and how to introduce a new kitten to our household. I was comforted to know that my considerations were supported by the opinion of some informed, non-partisan resources.
As I analyzed the situation, first on my list was checking for resources. We have more than enough room in the house to accommodate another cat. We have the means to provide food, veterinary care, toys, treats and the other material goods needed for the length of her full life. We spend lots of time at home with plenty of love to share with another animal. OK, great!
Next, I had to consider the wellbeing of my current family. How would another addition impact the social dynamics? I planned the introductions with care–cautiously keeping our kitten in a spare bedroom “nursery” for her first few days, making sure to expose the other cats to her smell and eventually allowing supervised one-on-one greetings. We introduced her to life with the other kitties, and it turns out she has become the best of friends with our dog Jacoby!
Two weeks later, our kitten is fully adjusted and happy to be pouncing, purring, and prancing all over the house. We know she’s one of us now, and there are no lingering doubts that she belongs. But, do I have an answer to my question? Well, for me, I know that having 5 cats is just enough, and 6 would be too many. Our little kitten represents the brink of a tipping point, and she will be the last kitten in our family for many years to come.
For me, I know how many cats are “too many,” and I don’t think I’m crazy for loving so many. On the other hand, we welcomed our new neighbor into our home last weekend and the first words out of his mouth were, “Wow, how many cats do you have? You guys are crazy!” I can smile knowing that “crazy” is just a matter of perspective.
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