"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Friday, January 13, 2006

How many cats do you have?

Due to the fateful intersection of Catblogging Friday with Friday the 13th, I thought that it would be only too appropriate for me to post a picture of a black cat today. It's an old photo which I have scanned in, so please excuse the crappy color balance:

This is "Trapper", the first cat Mrs. Toast and I had together after we were married. He was the sweetest, most affectionate kitty in the world. One spring day we were doing major housecleaning at our apartment and had all the windows and doors wide open. Trapper strolled in out of nowhere, casually plopped down on our living room carpet like he owned the place, and basically said "here I am, love me". While this sort of behavior would be considered strange in humans (except, perhaps, in California) it seemed perfectly natural for Trapper and we adopted him on the spot. He was a beloved member of our family for several years until one night when he got into an unfortunate altercation with an automobile. As you might expect, the car won; we still miss him.

Mrs. Toast and I have occasional discussions about the optimal number of cats to have around the house. According to a recent pet ownership survey by the APPMA, the average number of cats per cat-owning household is 2.4, compared to 1.4 dogs per dog-owning household. We have two now, which we agree is the minimum number; a single cat needs a playmate so they won't get lonely. Besides, they must also have another feline co-conspirator nearby with whom to hatch their plans for world domination. Beyond this, my wife is concerned that there is a point at which the addition of one more cat will cause her to cross the line from "someone who loves cats" to "that crazy cat lady down the block", and we're not exactly sure what that number is. We're OK on three. Four is questionable, and things start getting dodgy when we're talking about five or more. We've had as many as six at one time, although we found homes for two of them fairly quickly so our maximum cat population has really been just four.

My idea is that since cats love to sit in windows, you should count the number of windows in your house, and that's how many cats you should have. Our home has eight windows: ergo, eight cats. Mrs. Toast has put the kibosh on this plan, but I still think it's a sound theory.


  • At 1/13/2006 11:29:00 PM, Blogger April said…

    We only have Mr. Fuzzybutt, and we've been thinking of getting another kitten. In your "expert" opinion, since you've owned many cats at one time, what kind of cat should we get.... young, old, male, female? Mr. Fuzzybutt is 2 1/2 years old, male (duh) and neutered. He's never sprayed, and is very vocal. He LOVES sucking on my hair and he insists on sleeping ON my head at night. I'm scared that bringing another kitty into the house will make him mad, or hurt, or agressive, or he might start spraying to mark his territory. What do you think?

  • At 1/13/2006 11:30:00 PM, Blogger April said…

    But will another kitty cat be good, since he'll have someone to play with and talk to when he feels like we're just not "getting him"

    yeah, I don't really believe that last thing.. just thought I'd throw it in the mix.

  • At 1/15/2006 12:18:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    I'd suggest a young (6-12 months) spayed female. In addition to the fact that males of all species enjoy the company of younger females (ooh, i'm gonna get in trouble for that one), you shouldn't have any territorial dominance issues going on that you might have with two males. Our two are a mixed pair, and they do great together.

  • At 1/15/2006 10:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In honor of "National De-lurking Week". I'll try to let you know what the "optimal" number of cats in one household is, just as soon as we stop adding them. We were at three cats and a six pound Lasa Apso that we hand reared from a two week old puppy, six months and two more cats and another coming in as soon as the others get used to her being in our spare bedroom. I wonder what I did before I had pets, oh yeah, I had kids. Never mind.

  • At 1/19/2006 05:47:00 PM, Blogger Moose said…

    My roommate has a black cat named Monkey. She's beautiful and crazy. If I so much as look at her funny, she'll bolt up the stairs and under the bed. Unless I'm holding a nice, fat steak. Then she loves me.

  • At 1/19/2006 09:31:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Moosie, if you were holding a nice fat steak, I would love you too. But to get me to be your personal slave, you'd have to throw in a cappucino and a slice of New York cheesecake too. I'm not a complete pushover, after all.


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