How many cats should one person have?

When it comes to the point where you must ask how many cats should one person have, only you can answer this question. No matter how much you love those hairy little creatures, cat ownership is a matter of logistics when it comes to how many you should have. Proper cat-caretaking depends on your time, energy, money, and desire.

Here are a few things to consider before you buy one or more cats.

Annual costs: $500 plus

Initial cat costs include purchase price, carrier, cage, bed, bowls, litter box, spaying, neutering, and other medical expenses. A shelter cat purchase may include the initial medical costs.

Ongoing expenses include food, toys, medical care, litter, regular vet checkups, and illness-related treatments. If you travel, you may pay boarding fees or pet-friendly hotel rates. The Pet Care Costs chart on has more details.

Litter box care

Litter boxes (an indoor cat’s bathroom) can present a personal challenge, especially when you own multiple cats. You’ll fill the box with a urine-absorbing material that’s similar to sand. It takes daily effort to keep a litter box as clean and odor-free as possible.

The more cats you have, the more time you’ll spend accomplishing this task. You must remove urine-soaked litter and feces, empty it into a bag and take it to an outdoor trash can. You must also periodically replace all of the litter.

A poorly maintained litter box releases unpleasant odors. Your cats may choose to “go” on your carpet, your shoes, or anyplace else they find more inviting.

The Humane Society article, “Preventing litter box problems,” recommends one litter box per cat. The article also provides tips on litter choice and box set-up. The Pets WebMD article, “Solving Cat Litter Box Problems” provides information to help you resolve litter box issues.

Quality cat time

Your daily cat time will also involve feeding, grooming, and interacting with your cat. A cat’s breed and temperament can give an indication as to what these activities will involve.

If your cat is affectionate, you’ll spend more time playing and interacting. Cats groom themselves but they sometimes need help. A long-haired cat will require more care than a short-haired cat. Purina’s Cat Breed Selector provides insight as to which breed might be right for you.

Home aesthetics

Cats make great pets but it takes effort to eliminate home odor and damage issues.


As a cat owner, you might get used to the odors they leave behind. Unfortunately, your visitors still smell them. Indoor cats often leave their odors throughout your home. This can occur due to poor litter box care, territorial marking, and sometimes illness.

Territorial marking can be particularly problematic in multiple-cat environments. The ASPCA article, “Urine Marking in Cats,” provides tips on identifying and dealing with these behaviors. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat is urinating in odd places due to a urinary tract issue or some other medical problem.


Cats scratch when they’re playing or feel threatened. They sometimes scratch when they’re simply sharpening their claws.

When cats scratch, they ruin furniture, carpets, and other surfaces. You can control some of this destruction by clipping their nails or providing alternate scratching surfaces. The article, “Destructive Scratching,” provides additional tips.

It’s up to you

Cats have different personalities, behaviors, and quirks. You may find that living with one is a delightful experience while two or more requires too big a commitment. Once you’ve calculated the personal and financial costs, it’s up to you to decide if you’re up to the challenge.

Call Hebron Veterinary Hospital

Call us at (860) 228-4324 if you want to know more about the challenges of multiple cat ownership. Or visit our contact page.