01/10/2014 08:00 BST | Updated 01/10/2014 08:59 BST

Why We Shouldn't Have More Than One Cat Per Family, According To One Ex-Purr-T

If, like us, you aspire to become one of those cat ladies (or cat men?) living in a house with dozens of moggies, drinking tea and just generally enjoying the company of your numerous feline counterparts, then we've got some news for you...

A leading animal expert has shunned the idea of having more than one cat per home. But don't despair, because Dr Sarah Ellis might actually have a valid point.

cats territorial

The reason why having more than one moggy per household is problematic?

Currently there's something of a crisis for the species due to territorial tiffs, which can be pretty nasty and can result in psychological harm to our furry friends.

For a new BBC2 series Cat Watch: the New Horizon Experiment, Dr Sarah Ellis - who is something of a specialist in the area of cats (we've read her bio) - followed 100 cats from different areas.

Her findings were conclusive. There's a serious problem caused by the density of feline populations.


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She told the Radio Times: “As humans, the more we love something, the more we want it and the greater the number of it we want. We love cats therefore we’re not content with one – we want two or three or four and if our neighbour feels the same and his neighbour feels the same, we suddenly have a huge problem – three households with nine cats.”

Though it might sound heavenly for you. It's not for cats - territorial wars ensue.

Dr Ellis added: “Although we feel really happy because we’ve rescued them and given them a home, we’ve actually created a situation where they’re not happy at all."

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So how would you know that your cat's not happy with how things are, territorially?

According to the Humane Society, there are varying signs that your cat is showing territorial aggression: "Typical behavior includes stalking, chasing, ambushing, hissing, loud meowing, swatting, and preventing access to places (such as the litter box, bedroom, etc.)"

They also note that female cats can be just as territorial as males, and that if your cat is showing signs of aggression then the last thing you want to do is add more cats.

"Some cats are willing to share their house and territory with multiple cats, but the more cats who share the same territory, the more likely it is that some of your cats will not get along with each other."


Meanwhile there are those who think that the notion of a multi-cat ban is not so great.

Celia Hammond, a former model who also founded the Celia Hammond Animal Trust, said that imposing this rule on households is “ridiculous”.

“The majority of cats are very gregarious – they love each other so much, they enjoy living together and grooming each other."

She added: "If someone was out all day, we wouldn’t give them just one cat because they would be lonely – we would give them two cats. Multiple cat households are a good thing.”

Yes Celia, we see your point. Plus we're not entirely sure that 'pigeon lady' has the same ring to it.

What do you think? Would a single cat quota (per household) be a good thing? Tweet us @HuffPoLifestyle.

[H/T The Independent]