Should I Get a Second Cat?
Cats have a notorious reputation for being feisty, but that doesn’t stop anyone from wanting to adopt just about every one out there. Cats are solitary creatures and hunters, so they’re just trying to survive in the wild just as humans try to do on a daily basis. But, while humans can function well independently, there are times when another human connection is necessary. The same is true for cats, which actually benefit from having another four-legged comrade in their space. Don’t just trust us — the APPA’s 2018 survey noted the average number of cats owned per household in the US is 2. Can you believe it?
These feline creatures need a little bit of physical and mental stimulation. Because of this, cats actually form bonds with what is to be referred to as preferred associates. With their preferred associates – typically other animals, but sometimes you − cats will groom and play all day long. You could almost say that cats are the Kanyes of the four-legged kingdom − ain’t nobody messing with their cliques.
However, before you get comfortable with the idea of introducing yourself to new friends as the cat parent of two, you need to know what you’re getting into. Casting for your own personal show of Cats, The Musical in your household could have certain ramifications, so here are some questions you should be asking yourself:
Does your cat get along with other felines?
There’s no need for a claw-ful situation. Don’t just assume that because your cat likes to sleep all day that he or she is lonely and in need of other cats. If they could talk – wouldn’t that be a dream? – they would tell you that they’re pretty blissed out when they’re all curled up in a little ball leaving fur all over your brand new duvet. This kind of behavior is pretty representative of a cat that could be laidback or one that thinks they’re the king or queen of their throne (re: litterbox). And, if they’re used to freedom, they might not be keen on the idea of sharing their space with a new brother or sister. It’s important to make sure your cat is ready and willing to get along with another feline. If you notice that your cat hisses at the sight of another four-legged fur ball or treats your guests with other cats differently, they might be just fine as solo road warriors on the journey to ultimate cat bliss.
Is it better to adopt littermates?
It is preferred that if you’re going to get two cats, you might as well get them from the same litter. Cats are huge on valuing kin, so the brotherly or sisterly love will be swell for your duo. This could possibly be the easiest transition. But, just as humans sometimes choose their own family, cats do the same. They love you, right? Littermates are ideal, but do not stray from the idea of getting your cat a partner in crime when they get a little bit older.
How old is your cat?
This is something to take into consideration. It is much easier to get a second cat when your first cat is still pretty young. Fun fact on Felinology from the Ologies podcast: Kittens become most familiar with people, places and things during their socialization window, which is in their first 2 to 7 weeks of being alive. If your cat is older and wiser, they probably don’t need (or particularly want) a youngster whipping at their tails and begging for attention. However, if you find a young cat that has a modest temperament, then your older cat might not mind the relaxing company. Age, personality and temperament work as a trifecta in decoding how your cat is going to behave around others. However, opposites do attract – even with cats. If you have a cat that is more rambunctious, they might need a partner who mellows them out.
Do you have the resources to provide for your fur babies?
Simply, there has to be enough to go around. The last thing you want is your cats to be reenacting a “you can’t sit with us” situation. Having enough litterboxes, food bowls and personal space to make your cats feel in control of their own space will help them transition into coexistence. If you don’t have the space or the funds to make sure your cats feel catered to individually, you might want to consider holding out on becoming a cat parent of two.
Would you be willing to separate your felines when the fighting becomes too much?
At the end of the day, if you notice that your cats just aren’t getting along and are constantly starting cat fights like Alexis and Krystle Carrington in Dynasty, you might have to separate the two by finding one of them another home. If you’re not willing to say farewell or be comfortable with making that decision, you might want to hold off on getting a second cat.
If you decide that you are ready to bring in another feline, remember to be smart about it. When you bring your second cat home for the first time, don’t be surprised to see that they are greeted with the tunes of hisses and scowls rather than a Hallmark card. Consider this a welcome greeting of sorts. As cats are territorial, they want to assert their dominance for as long as they can before they decide: hey, this schmuck isn’t so bad after all. Eventually, your cats will be best friends. Then you’re going to wonder, should I get a third cat?