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How Many Cats Can You Own in Ohio? Everything You Need to Know

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

a tabby cat sitting next to a bowl of water

There are strict restrictions, rules, and laws about how many pets you own and how you must care for them in some areas. Or maybe someone you know has what you would consider far too many cats in their home. If you aren’t sure about the regulations in your state, you’re doing the responsible thing by checking first. From the legal perspective, there are no laws on how many cats you can own in Ohio.

Whether you’re worried about safety, or you want to know for your own benefit, this article has the scoop on cat ownership in Ohio.

How Many Cats Should One Household Welcome?

This is a very open question, and the answers aren’t always definitive. Even with certain laws in place, realistically, you will want only to have as many cats as you can comfortably care for. That might be different for every household depending on a few factors.

Household Size

ginger cat with the owner
Image Credit: Yuriy Seleznev, Shutterstock

When you own cats, it’s essential to consider your household size. The smaller the space, the more challenging it can be to give your cats the space they need. This chart gives the minimum recommended space per cat.

Household Size Number of Cats
1,000 square feet or less 2 cats
1,500 square feet 3 cats
2,000 square feet 4 cats
2,500 square feet 5 cats
The general rule is to increase your household square feet by 500 square feet per extra cat.

Financial Care

When you buy a cat, you have to consider one-time and recurring costs associated with pet-owning. Cats need a nutritious diet, a safe place to sleep, supplies, and scheduled vetting to stay happy and healthy.

In a month, you should never falter in providing all the basics like:

  • Proper diet
  • Shelter
  • Any applicable vetting
  • Clean water
  • Appropriate exercise

Adequate Vetting

Affording general care is a must, but you should have other means of protection in place, too. Sometimes, our cats can need emergency care that can be costly. To avoid being slapped with a bill you can’t pay, consider options like pet insurance or separate savings.

If you can’t afford potentially pricy vet visits for treatment, you might limit the number of cats you should responsibly take on. You should also save for treatments and procedures like:

Lease/Rental Agreement Terms

When you move into a residence that you don’t personally own, landlords and owners can have a laundry list of rules for you to follow. It’s likely that when moving in, your landlord discussed any pet policies and, in some cases, additional deposits and a monthly charge to have pets in residence.

If you aren’t sure, you must check the policy to avoid rehoming your cats or paying penalty fees associated with the situation.

State & Federal Laws on Owning Cats

a black polydactyl cat licking its mouth
Image Credit: Casey Elise Christopher, Shutterstock

There are no set federal laws in owning cats in the United States. These decisions are come upon on a state level. However, there’s really no definitive answer, even at the state level.

Ohio Laws on Cat-Owning

There is no set law on how many cats a person can own at once in Ohio. However, there are stipulations and rules to keep pets safe and well-cared for. There are several laws addressing animal cruelty and prohibitions relating to keeping pets.

If someone is hoarding cats in an environment that is less than favorable, they may be violating animal cruelty laws. However, if someone is a licensed, responsible breeder, they would be allowed to own a similar number of cats permitting they receive proper accommodations.

No laws are set, but other factors might influence the number of cats you can own. You should check with local laws in your area for specifics regarding any specific numbers.

Can You Own Native Bobcats?

In Ohio, there is a native cat called a bobcat. You might recognize them immediately, as they are the beloved mascot of Ohio University. These cats are slightly larger than traditional domesticated cats, weighing roughly 6 to 18 pounds.

In Ohio, you might be able to own one of these cats if you meet certain criteria. In order to qualify, you must be:

  • An educator
  • A zoo worker
  • A researcher
  • Wildlife rehabilitation experts

To preserve the authenticity of the species, it’s best to leave any interaction between humans and bobcats at the hands of professionals. These cats are not pets—they are wild animals. If we can, Ohioans should preserve this environment, so they can live a natural life in the wild.

How to Own Cats Responsibly

a hand scratching the cat's butt
Image Credit: Christin Hume, Unsplash

When you or others commit to owning cats, it’s about more than just laws or regulations. You should feel confident that you have all the resources necessary to care for these animals in every way, from diet to emergency care.

To make sure you are doing everything correctly as a pet owner, consider this:

  • Keep the litterbox clean
  • Maintain proper diet and exercise
  • Provide beds and hideaways
  • Give them somewhere to be alone
  • Make sure they are properly socialized
  • Always have a plan for emergency vetting
  • Make sure you can afford unforeseen expenses, like medications

As long as you keep up with primary pet care and can give your cat attention, you can have as many as you feel you should have in Ohio.

Hoarding, Abuse, or Neglect

Hoarding is a mental disorder where people collect objects, pets, and just about anything in excess. It isn’t unusual to hear of people hoarding animals, like cats, in an inadequate living space.

Abuse is when you see someone strike, hit, kick, or physically assault an animal. However, it can also be in other ways, like tying a dog up in direct sunlight.

Neglect is when someone leaves an animal for prolonged periods without adequate socialization or basic needs.

If you suspect that someone is mistreating an animal in any way, you should report it immediately. Many animals suffer at the hands of irresponsible owners, even if they mean well or don’t understand the full extent of their abuse.

Still, it would help if you never let an animal suffer without speaking up when it cannot.


Now you know there really isn’t a set number of cats you can own in Ohio. Each city ordinance might have its own rules. But many will refer to the welfare of the animal, and not so much the total of cats you have.

If you need further clarification or would like to report a case of animal cruelty, contact your local animal services to find out.

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Featured Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

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