No chat room that I know of. There's a few of us who hang out on here almost all day, so it's almost like a chat!
As for me, I have a really slow job (most days) as a receptionist, so I am around a lot.
Since you brought up declawing...no worries about being slammed for not declawing your babies. That's probably the one subject someone is likely to get flamed for. A lot of us are pretty rabid about that subject (obviously against declawing), and try to educate anyone coming in asking about it what it really is. Sometimes we come across too strong on that one.
I'm glad you decided to stay. So tell us more about your 17 kitties. We would love to hear about every one of them.
(Oh, and don't worry about us thinking you have too many, either...Although most of us only have one to two, there are plenty with 5, 6, 12, etc. I think the most one of our members has is 54, she does rescue work with strays and ferals.)