I saw this thread earlier and opted to take some time to consider what I was going to say before jumping in and responding. That being said, I did choose to vote on the poll and did state my limit, at the present moment, is two cats. However, I would consider a third if an opportunity presented itself in the distant future and if it was in the best interest of all involved -- cats, other pets, and humans alike.
I very much agree with the poster above who made the statement that "the more the merrier" is a cavalier attitude to take in many situations. Of course, I feel that everyone's personal limits should be respected, but how often do we hear about pet hoarders (mainly cats and small animals) on the news? And, typically, in those situations, the animals suffer a great deal both before and after being rescued. Sometimes the answer is not to adopt another cat. I had a discussion with a friend this evening about her own cats and the fact that she's struggling with having four cats in the home. She told me that an animal shelter
had told her that having three or four (or more!) cats was no different than having one or two. And I think that's a thought process that is tossed around quite often. But, truthfully, having one cat is far different than having two, four, six, eight, or ten. There are some individuals (many on this site, in fact) who can handle this responsibility, but I think it's also important to recognize our own limitations because there are many people who believe they can adequately care for large numbers of animals, but who truly cannot. And then it's everyone that suffers.
For me, personally, two is my current limit. I also have two small dogs and a bird and that alone makes my home often feel chaotic. How many nights am I exhausted and wanting to go to bed, but instead need to feed the animals, check on the bird, walk the dogs, clean up vomit or an accident on the floor, scoop or clean litter pans, or any other number of pet-related duties? Sometimes my pets do not get 100% of my attention because, like most people, I have a life outside of the home as well as numerous relationships that need to be maintained. There are days that I struggle with health-related concerns and I cannot be as present for my cats that I'd like. Of course, all of my pets' needs are always met, but there are many times I'd like to be able to do more, but cannot. It's human nature, it's life, and if I were to add another animal to the mix it would be fair to no one -- most especially myself. Financially, being a responsible pet owner is expensive. There are adoption fees, vaccinations, spay and neuter surgeries, wellness visits to the vet, emergency vet care (including treatment for illnesses, injuries, and the like), medications, quality food and supplements, quality litter, the necessary supplies (dishes, litter pans, cat scratchers, toys and the like), and the incidentals that are sure to crop up. I only work part-time and finances are often tighter than I'd like to admit. Again, with the pets I have at home, I can be fiscally responsible for them. But adding another would be a serious drain on my finances and it's one I just can't afford at this time. Then there is the issue of space. How much room do I have? Cramped living quarters doesn't help anyone and actually promotes stress and illness in some cases. And let's not forget that not all feline personalities will match. Not only that...how would other pets in the home react to a new addition? My list (as well as others, I'm sure) could go on forever. And that's why I think this thread is so important.
Please know I'm coming at this post from my own personal perspective. I am not judging anyone for having what they feel is a fair amount of pets in the home (and fostering is a whole other matter from this one). This is just my opinion on the situation and what I feel is appropriate for me and my animals at this time -- this is certainly not meant as criticism.
Perhaps the short version of my reply should have been this: know and respect your personal limitations, trust your instincts, make decisions based on thought rather than impulse, and always keep in mind what is best for all involved.
Excellent thread and discussion. Definitely thought provoking for me...