Are two cats better than one?
Things to know if you are thinking of getting your fur baby a friend of their own.
It's an age old question to be answered - do cats get lonely or are they social creatures? Does your cat want a friend or do they prefer to live in a single-cat household?
It's more a more complicated answer than one might think.
In fact, in order to understand today's domesticated cat, one can observe similarities to their wild ancestors. Lions are known for living in prides and will go out hunting other lions, while tigers are known for being solitary hunters.
It is known that domesticated household cats are known for being social creatures with solitary hunting and eating habits. This means that the average household cat is an even mixture of its wild counterparts. Outside of meal time however, domesticated cats love to socialize with other cats (or other pets) depending on their individual personality.
Kittens for instance, are more likely to be social and crave the attention from other cats and kittens. This social behavior helps them learn how to act and behave like other cats, learning in a "monkey see, monkey do" kind of way.
Some cats like to build a colony, some cats like to be alone, some cats like equal amounts of social and solitary time. Kittens typically bond with their litter-mates, but can also bond with kittens from another litter with ease, learning social skills and play from each other.
A proper introduction is the key to having your pets get along.
Older cats tend to be more territorial and set in their ways; no matter the age of your current pet, a slow introduction is always recommended for the best results. Start with keeping the pets in separate rooms so that they can get used to each other's sounds and smells, without confrontation.
This can be done by "scent swapping" which simply means giving each cat something that smells like the other cat (bedding, toys, towel, etc) or by feeding on either side of a closed door. This helps each cat to be comfortable recognizing the other cat's scent without fear of territory when they finally do meet face to face.
Once the cats are appearing to be calm in their physical behavior (not hiding or hissing) they can be slowly introduced to each other, with human supervision of course. Sometimes, this way of slow introduction may take up to 7-10 days and may need to be repeated in order to ensure both cats are comfortable with the meeting.
Another tip for cohabiting cats is to have multiple litter boxes, we recommend 1 more than pets in the home as most cats may not want to share their litter box, as well as providing bedding or towers so that they have their own space to go to for some quality alone time.
A proper introduction is important to us and our cats.
So if you and your family is looking to expand this holiday season, keep in mind that two can be better than one. Please also keep in mind that many of these cats and kittens end up back in shelters each year due to "buyers remorse" after the holidays.
Only adopt if you are ready to provide for the lifetime of these adorable and loving cats. They will give as much (or more) back to you as you give to them. Imagine being able to give the gift of a warm home to a cat in a need and a best friend to someone to you love.
From my home to yours, I hope you enjoy the purrfect holiday with your new fur-baby!