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How Many Cats Can You Own in Ohio?

There are typically laws or ordinances in place in certain areas that restrict the number of pets a household can own. As an Ohio resident, you may be wondering how many cats you can own before reaching the legal limit. We scoured the current laws by going through the Ohio Revised Code and a host of other sources. Here’s what we found out. There are no state-wide limits on the number of cats you can own in Ohio, but you may want to check local ordinances before adopting.

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State Law in Ohio

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Since cat ownership laws are not covered under federal regulation, it is the job of the state and local governments to take on this responsibility. There’s no set law or clear answer on the specific number of cats you can own in Ohio on the state level, though there are many laws in place regarding animal cruelty situations, large-scale breeding operations, and the ownership of wild and exotic pets per the Ohio Revised Code.

If you are living in the state of Ohio, or plan on moving there, make sure you check with the local government of the city or municipality so that you can get a better understanding of what is expected of you as a pet owner and the limit of companion animals within the home.

City Ordinances

Ultimately, the number of cats and other domesticated pets that a homeowner can possess at one time is dealt with on a local level. If you live within city limits, you will need to check their specific laws. These laws can vary by municipality, for example, Columbus may not have the same animal ordinances as its suburb of Gahanna.

Since there are so many different cities and municipalities, the best way to get the information for your area is to visit the local government website. Most places will have all the information you need right on the site, if not, they will have contact information available for the department you need to contact to get that information.

Lease Agreements

If you do not own your home but lease it, your pet ownership regulations through pet policies are in the hands of your landlord. Your lease will typically include all the information you need to know about the property rules for pets. These types of rules will vary by the landlord, as some may not allow any pets at all.

This is something to keep an eye out for when you are searching for a home to rent, especially if you already have fur babies. A pet policy is something you will have to legally sign that you are in agreement with before the lease is made official. There are typically pet deposits in place for pet owners or those that wish to obtain a pet during the lease. It can be a one-time fee per pet or even an additional monthly charge.

Most landlords will enforce their rules by performing regular inspections within the home and any tenant that breaches the agreement will be at risk of financial penalties or even eviction from the residence.

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Big Cat Ownership Laws in Ohio

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Big cats should never be kept as house pets. In the state of Ohio, owners of big cats and other exotic animals must obtain proper permits, pass background checks, pay the associated fees, obtain liability insurance or surety bonds, prove they can properly care for and secure the animal, and register each animal in their care.

Ohio had some loose laws regarding exotic animals until the state government enacted an exotic animal law in the year 2012 following a tragic incident with numerous exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio in October of 2011. The new law banned private owners from acquiring, selling, and breeding restricted species within the state.

The restricted list includes the following, including hybrids unless otherwise specified:

  • Tigers
  • Lions
  • Jaguars
  • Leopards, including clouded leopards, Sunda clouded leopards, and snow leopards
  • Cheetahs
  • Lynxes, including Canadian lynxes, Eurasian lynxes, and Iberian lynxes
  • Cougars, also known as pumas or mountain lions
  • Caracals
  • Servals, excluding hybrids with domestic cats commonly known as Savannah cats

Being a Responsible Cat Owner

Regardless of where you live, cat ownership is a serious responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Irresponsible ownership has resulted in many cruelties and neglect as well as the severe overpopulation of homeless cats.

Most cat lovers likely feel they could never have too many cats, but even if you live in an area that has no limit on the number of cats you own, you need to ensure you set a healthy limit for your household. In addition to regular care commitment, cats are also a financial commitment.

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Things to Consider

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We’ve included a list of things to consider surrounding cat ownership that can make a significant impact on your life and finances if you have considered owning multiple cats.

Space

Before deciding to bring multiple cats into your home, you need to consider the amount of space you have for additional pets. While there is no space measurement required for a pet cat, the more cats you own, the more space you are going to need.

Cleaning

Pet owners take on the responsibility of more cleaning when the decision to bring home a new animal is made. Not only will you have regular litter boxes to clean in a multiple cat household, but you will be cleaning up food messes, potential accidents, and of course, hair.

Health Care

Each cat in your home is going to require regular veterinary care. Typically, your cat will visit the veterinarian 1 to 2 times per year for regular health checkups. If there were to be any other health concerns or medical emergencies, you’ll need to be ready to foot the bill at any given time.

Preventative Medicine

Cats will need routine parasite prevention and vaccinations to prevent disease. Most parasite preventions only last one month per application, you will need to ensure this is provided all year round to prevent harmful and irritating parasitic infections. These can be expensive and the more cats you have in the household, the higher the cost.

Food

Cats require high-quality cat food that has complete, well-balanced nutrition to fit all of their dietary needs. High-quality cat foods can be costly and the more cats you are feeding, the more money will be spent.

Bedding, Toys, Accessories

Of course, we spoil our cats with enriching toys, treats, bedding, and entertainment such as cat towers, scratching posts, and more. Expenses for these items vary greatly but you will require quite a bit of supply if you have a multiple cat household.

Litter Boxes

Did you know that it is recommended that you have at least one litter box per cat, plus an additional litter box? This is something to keep in mind when considering how many cats you’d like to have in your household. Cats are private animals and don’t prefer to share their bathroom space. You want to make sure you not only have the room for the number of litter boxes you need but are willing to put in the work to keep them maintained as well.

Litter

Litter is a recurring charge for all cat owners. After all, it’s an absolute necessity for indoor cats. Cat litter varies in pricing and type but the more cats you own, the more quickly you will go through the litter. This is most certainly an expense to keep in mind.

Boarding/Pet Sitting

If you travel frequently or like to take the occasional vacation, you may need to board your pets or hire a pet sitter. If this is the case, the more animals on the care list, the more expensive boarding or pet sitting charges are going to be.

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Conclusion

The state of Ohio does not have any laws that limit the number of domestic house cats an individual can own. These types of laws and ordinances are typically done at the local level, so anyone needing information on pet ownership restrictions should visit their local government’s website or contact them directly for more information. Ohio does have laws on the ownership of big cats and exotic animals, as well as laws against animal neglect, cruelty, and large-scale breeding operations.

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Featured Image Credit: Elisa Putti, Shutterstock

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