A common question asked among pet owners is “should I get another cat?” You may already have multiple cats, and set your heart on another. On the other hand, you may just want to give your single kitty a playmate.
Whatever the reason, getting another cat needs careful consideration otherwise you may end up with constant fighting. Though cats are now considered to be social animals, problems can arise with those who are unrelated.
You see, just like people, feral cats live in family groups. This is similar to the way lions live in prides. A hierarchy also exists with dominant and less dominant cats. The bond between females in some colonies can be so strong that they actually act as midwife for each other!
It’s been shown in studies over the past few decades that domestic cats living together in households also have a hierarchical structure. However, it’s more complicated with neutered cats being more willing to accept those not closely related.
In this post you’ll discover the pros and cons of getting another cat. You’ll learn why some become best buddies while others hate each other, and why age differences matter. You’ll also learn the best way of introducing your new cat and common mistakes to avoid.
Why littermates form the closest bond
If you want to adopt two cats the best idea is to get them from the same litter. Siblings can form strong bonds and in fact many shelters won’t break up families. Although not all siblings will get along, those that do can become inseparable.
Being together with the mother for such a long period of time certainly encourages close bonding. Playing, grooming each other, and cuddling strengthens this bond.
Of course, there’s no guarantee they’ll get along as adults, but you have a far greater chance of it happening with those related to each other. Introducing a new cat to a bonded pair may spell disaster, so be prepared for a few challenges!
You may find your resident cats hate the newbie at first. However with patience you may discover they all end up tolerating each other. Having experienced this myself some years ago, I can honestly say that all ended well!
My parents took in two abandoned kittens, and a few years later I moved back home with a cat. After a few fights and squabbles they slowly began to accept each other and each seemed to know their place:)
Should I get another cat after one died?
If you have two cats who’ve formed a close bond and one dies it can be heartbreaking to watch the other grieve. Cats have feelings just the same as we do and experience a similar pain of loss. This grieving process can take several months during which time your cat may go off her food and sleep more.
You may think your poor grieving kitty will feel better with a new playmate, but she could end up hating it! Even though your cat may have spent years with another feline for company doesn’t mean she’ll welcome another.
The bond they had can’t be replaced and there’s no guarantee she’ll accept the newcomer. It’s important to wait until your cat recovers first before you consider getting another.
You also need to take into account your cat’s personality. An easygoing kitty is more likely to accept a new playmate. On the other hand, if your cat is always fighting with anything that dares enter her territory be warned!!
Why age matters when getting another cat
If your resident cat is elderly and you’re thinking of getting another one you need to consider their ages. This is because your senior kitty may find a kitten with bundles of energy very tiring.
Think of it like expecting your elderly great grandmother to look after a toddler. I’m sure she’d be worn out in a very short time. Energy levels matter, and older cats usually sleep a lot more. Having a youngster trying to get your senior to play when she’s dozing could be very agitating for her.
It would be far better to get a cat that’s at least 7 years old. That way you’ll have a far better chance of them getting on together. If your resident cat is still a kitten your best option would be to get another youngster. Even though they won’t be related there’s a high chance of them becoming best mates.
Every cat is different, and some seniors retain their youthful energy, just like some older people do. In addition, some breeds are known for high energy such as Siamese, whereas Persians have lower energy.
Should I get another cat of the same sex?
Do cats get lonely?
Many pet parents ask this question before adding to their feline family. The answer is providing both cats cats are neutered it doesn’t seem to matter. This is because there are no hormones floating around to cause aggression.
Having said that, personality is also a factor. For example two female divas under the same roof will be forever competing with each other!
Yes, some cats do get lonely and like being around other cats, but others seem to hate the company of fellow felines. Unfortunately, if yours is the latter it may be best not to get another cat.
Your kitty may be sociable with you but this doesn’t mean she will be with her own species. In some cases it may be best to accept the way things are and just be happy with your single kitty for company.
Kittens crave playmates and will get lonely if taken from their litter too early. If you want to add to your feline family it’s often best while your resident cat is still young. Ideally under two years old. Seniors may find it hard to deal with a newcomer especially if they’ve always been a single cat.
Do cats make friends outside the home?
The answer to this is it varies between cats just as it does people. I’ve often seen my cat sitting outside on the grass in the company of a cat that looks just like him! I don’t know whether either cat has looked in the mirror and compared himself though!
Sometimes they hiss at each other as if one of them has said something insulting, but I’ll never know the truth! Even my neighbor has noticed their friendship and how they sit together.
I have to laugh sometimes when I see this cat sitting outside the window as if waiting for Alfie to come out and play! They’re so much like kids ha ha!
There’s no reasoning as to why a cat will befriend another, yet chase other cats off their territory. I can only imagine it’s personality or just that certain spark. And, similar to human children, kittens will often make friends with each other outside of the family. This can extend into adulthood, but drifting apart as they get older isn’t unusual.
Points to consider if you decide to get another cat.
Before you dash off to your nearest shelter with cat carrier in hand there are a few points you need to think about. Firstly, is your home big enough for each cat to have it’s own space? If you live in a small one bed apartment it will be more challenging than living in a spacious house.
Cats need personal space and in multi-cat households it’s essential. Not only does it make each cat feel safe but improves social interaction as well. Something as simple as a cardboard box can provide a safe haven. In addition, high level perches give each cat a place to snooze or contemplate life!
If you live in a small space it’s still possible to have two cats, but you’ll need to plan carefully. Think about your space and any little nooks or crannies where a kitty could curl up in comfort.
Remember, cats can jump quite high, so even a book shelf can provide a private place to snooze. They can also squeeze in tight corners, so don’t be surprised if under the bed becomes a favorite spot.
Window sills make great perches, so providing you have more than one window, each kitty can have her own personal space. In addition,unless you live in a studio apartment you will be able to close off at least one room. This is enables a gradual introduction with the new house mate.
Cats and feeding areas
Many people don’t realise that cats like their food bowls to be in separate areas. If you’re getting another cat you should have enough space to put the bowls in different corners of the room. Each must have her own food and water bowl if you want to avoid squabbles
Why you need a litter box for each cat
Cats are very clean animals and won’t use a dirty toilet. If you expect two cats to share the same litter box chances are you’ll find a mess to clear up! As well as being clean, cats are also territorial and avoid “going” in places another feline has recently been.
In addition, cat poo and urine have very strong odors as I’m sure you know! Cats also have a strong sense of smell and will avoid a dirty toilet in favor of somewhere cleaner. Unfortunately, this could be your bed or laundry basket!
Avoid showing favouritism
Bringing a new cat home is an exciting time, and naturally you want her to feel welcome. However, be wary of fussing over your new addition in full view of your resident kitty! Jealousy can soon result in fights and your two cats hating each other!
How to introduce a new cat to your resident cat
The best and safest way to introduce your new kitty is by placing her in a separate room for a few days. Make sure she can’t escape and provide her with feeding bowls, water, and a litter box. Your resident kitty will pick up on the newcomer’s scent and hang around outside the door. However, don’t let her in at this stage.
After s few days open the door very slightly, but enough for both cats to see each other. One tip that can work is to rub a soft cloth over the new cat and allow your resident cat to smell it.
Also spending time with your new kitty and playing with her will leave a scent on your clothing. After a few days your other cat will have got used to the new scent and it may be time to introduce them.
Before you allow them to see each other face to face let your new cat explore her surroundings. Keep your other kitty out of the way in another room during this time. Your kitty will sniff everywhere as she gets used to this strange new environment.
I would then give it another day before finally allowing the two cats to meet. When you do, be prepared for any hissing or growling but act calmly and see how they get on. If all is well, reward both with treats.
Never intervene if there is any fighting as you could get badly scratched. It may take time for them to adjust as mentioned previously, but be patient. You could have two best buddies within a few weeks or months!
Should I get another cat or will it be a bad idea?
Now you understand some of the things you need to consider, do you think it’s still a good idea? Of course, you could ask your cat’s opinion but don’t expect a response! Seriously though, you know your own cat’s personality and her behavior around other cats.
If she’s always been a single cat she probably won’t feel lonely, and may have made a few chosen friends outside. Your cat may not appreciate a new playmate and there’s no guarantee they’ll like each other. It can take several years for a new cat to be accepted so you’ll need patience.
Replacing a deceased cat just to keep your remaining one company doesn’t always work out. If they were very close, she won’t form such a strong bond with any other cat. There’s always a chance they’ll accept each though, but it may take time.
The best idea is to get two cats from the same litter, but of course this isn’t always possible. Circumstances may change, meaning you can now have multiple cats instead of just one. Many cat owners start out with one but then decide they want another a few years later!
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Wishing you a purrfect day:)