Catster recently ran an article titled Is Having Two Cats Better Than Having One. Naturally, my mind riffed right to whether having six cats was better than having none. Six is not a magic number — it’s simply a circumstance. It’s also a maximum. I have never had more than six, and usually, the number hovers around four or five. Is having six cats better than none? For me, yes! Here’s why.
It’s not that my husband and I are dull or uninteresting. I’m sure we could find plenty to amuse ourselves with were there no cats in the household. Heck, it would probably be a lot easier to get away, even for the day. It seems that lately in our lives, there’s often been an ill animal that we are caring for at the end of their lives. At this moment, our dog Corona still is interested in life, walking, eating and drinking, even though she has a tumor in her leg.
We spend a lot of time caring for these animals, but they have given us so much joy, laughter, fun, and love. I can’t imagine life without them. Perhaps this is what children do for some — our animals are our furrkids. Granted, life might be a little simpler if there were two or three cats instead of six. But it has been so interesting to watch their relationships mutate and develop among themselves. Before Zorro came into the household, Norton had no one who really wanted to roughhouse with him. Norton is a bit younger than most of the others (who are probably about 10 years at this point). Zorro and Norton are perfect buddies now and their energy level is well-matched.
I strongly believe that our cats and dogs have helped me become a better person. Through these loving and wonderful animals, I have learned to become more loving myself. I’ve learned to put aside my desires when the situation calls for it, to care for an animal in need. I’ve learned to appreciate their humor and their fun, and to turn to them when I want or need humor and lightness in my life. I’ve learned, through caring for my cats, how to be a more loving, giving person. Some of us may not have had such generosity modeled for us in our lives, and here’s where our animals can really be teachers without even trying. It’s a huge gift.
And six cats? Each cat has had different lessons to teach. You know that different people affect you in different ways. You might appreciate one friend for her great sense of humor, another friend for her integrity and trustworthiness. Cats are the same way. Each cat is so different. I love Kieran’s sweet quiet sensitivity, Chester’s kindness, Bluebell’s humor, Norton’s easygoing nature, Rama’s passion, and Zorro’s emotional expressiveness. They are each unique!
So many cats need help. We all know that. There are many ways we can help cats. While I volunteer for cat rescue or cat welfare organizations, I’m also so grateful that I can provide a home for these guys. I know my husband shares a special bond with Corona the dog, since he rescued her from certain death. All of the cats in our household have been either rescued by me or adopted from organizations that do rescue. We all want to feel as if we made some kind of difference in our lives, and I know that this makes me happy. Kieran would have likely frozen to death if I had not discovered him outside our house on a cold Minnesota winter day. Zorro is no longer feral — and everything that I’ve read about Ragdolls suggest that they’re too friendly to last long in the wild. I got lucky that Zorro tamed so quickly, and I’m so glad that he’s now a very happy domestic indoor cat.
Try feeding six cats — OMG! It takes definite organizational ability. After five months in the new place, I am finally getting a system in place for who gets fed where. The system ensures that everyone gets the food they need. But it took some time to figure out these logistics!
With six cats, you really need to be keeping an eye on all of them. If one cat is a little off, it can be easy to not notice that cat, if another cat is an attention monger. I try to remember to keep an eye on everyone and to make sure that each cat gets the type of attention they love. It’s a job! It could be a full-time job (and probably a pretty happy one, if the rest of life didn’t press in).
I never planned to write so much about cats — it just happened. When you find a good thing, go with it. Writing about cats has provided me with huge inspiration and insights, and allowed me to share it with others. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of inspiration from my cats.
Do you have several cats in your household? Why is having a lot of cats better than having none? Tell us your experiences in the comments!
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr (cat fantasy novel out June 1), the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.