Owning a cat is an incredibly rewarding experience. Surely, this means that the only thing that could be better than one cat is two cats. While doubling the feline fun sounds appealing, there are pros and cons of getting a second cat that you need to understand first.
We will start by looking at whether cats prefer companionship or if cats are loners. We’ll also explore the most critical factors to consider before introducing a second feline to your home. A cat’s personality is vital because some cats are more prone to stress, anxiety, and jealousy than others.
- 1 Do Cats Do Better Alone or With Another Cat?
- 2 Advantages of Getting a Second Cat
- 3 Disadvantages of Getting a Second Cat
- 4 Two Cats of the Same Gender?
Do Cats Do Better Alone or With Another Cat?
Cats are curious animals. They have a reputation for being aloof loners, disinterested in social interaction. This is erroneous as cats are quite social animals. If you ever come across a feral or stray cat, you’ll see this for yourself. These felines live in substantial colonies in the wild.
There is a big difference between a feral cat and a domesticated house cat, though. Your pet is likely used to being an ‘only child,’ and having things her own way. Will your pet cope with the company?
Adult cats used to living alone prefer to stay that way. This is because felines are territorial and are not comfortable with sharing. Your pet will have spent a lot of time and effort claiming her territory. So, she’s unlikely to take kindly to an infiltrator.
Forcing a cat to share her living space against her will is never a good idea. Your pet may become stressed, aggressive, or depressed. If your cat has reached contented adulthood without company, you shouldn’t seek to change anything at this stage.
This doesn’t mean that all cats are antisocial. If your pet grew up with siblings, she might end up lonely by herself. It’s common for a cat that loses a long-term companion to grieve. Your pet may relish the opportunity to have some company, but it depends on your cat’s unique personality.
Things to Consider Before Getting a Second Cat
Before you start laying the groundwork for a second cat, think about whether it’s a good idea. Things to consider in this situation include:
- The age of the cats. If your current pet is getting older, you may think a kitten will perk her up. What’s more likely is that different energy levels will create a problematic living relationship. Here’s our in-depth guide to introducing a kitten to a senior cat.
- The personality of the cats. You’ll also need to ensure that both cats have compatible personas. If your existing cat is placid, a more aggressive second pet will dominate her.
- The sex of the cats. Finding the right gender balance is vital. Two females will often fight.
- The lifestyles of the cats. Are both cats happy being indoors? Will one of them want to wander outside? Mixing and matching lifestyles can lead to feline frustration.
- The size of your home. Having two cats in an apartment can be a bit of a squeeze. They’ll both need territory they can make their own. Is your house big enough for two cats?
- Expense. A second cat doubles your existing costs. You’ll need to pay for two insurance policies and twice as much food and cat litter.
- Time. Do you have enough time to meet the needs of two cats? Affection, exercise, and care will consume many of your spare hours. This could be an issue if you have a busy lifestyle.
Take a good look at this checklist. If you’re convinced you can accommodate a second cat, you can then start to assess the advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Getting a Second Cat
If you’re considering a second cat, there will be a good reason for it. Maybe you want more companionship and affection. There are reasons to recommend a two-cat home:
- Two cats will keep each other company while you’re out at work or socially. This means that your existing pet is less likely to become lonely during those times.
- Two friendly cats will keep each other mentally and physically stimulated. This will help them both to stay healthy and happy for longer.
- Two cats will groom each other, if they get along sufficiently.
- If you have a partner, you can have a designated cat each. Domesticated felines often prefer one person to another. If you have two cats, they’ll likely prefer different owners.
- Bringing a second cat into a home helps your existing pet realize sharing isn’t so bad. Houseguests will become a less frightening proposition.
- If you adopt from a shelter, you’re helping two feline lives.
Disadvantages of Getting a Second Cat
While there are advantages to having two cats, there are also drawbacks. Some of the problems that may arise from running a multi-cat household include:
- The two cats may not get along. This is always the most significant risk when it comes to multi-cat households. Sadly, conflict is highly likely if either feline is not used to sharing a home.
- Your existing cat may become stressed and insecure. At worst, she’ll think that she’s being punished or replaced. This can make her feel unwell.
- If your cats struggle to get along, they’ll both need their own territory.
- Even if the cats do become friends, it will take a while for this to happen.
- If your cats do get along, they may encourage each other to get into mischief. Don’t be surprised if two cats gang up on you to break house rules.
- If one of your cats gets sick, it’s likely that both will become sick. That means two sets of vet bills. It also means more cleaning up if they have stomach upsets.
- More space is needed. Two cats need more living space than one cat.
Are Two Cats More Work Than One?
Two felines will get along and entertain each other during the day. They’ll still need individual one-on-one attention from you, though. If cats don’t get quality time with their owner, they can become quite stressed and withdrawn.
Naturally, this will need to be handled carefully. Your instinct may be to spend more time with the new cat. After all, you need to build a bond. Your existing cat will not understand.
She’ll feel stressed, neglected, and jealous. This could result in destructive behavior or aggression towards the new arrival. The other warning signs of jealousy in cats include:
- Following you around, being particularly affectionate. Your cat may also become actively disruptive of any activity that doesn’t involve her.
- Bullying the other cat, such as needlessly blocking her path or muscling into her playtime.
- Hiding and becoming withdrawn. While it’s tempting to say your cat is just sulking, be careful. Felines can become depressed. This has dangerous symptoms, such as refusing to eat.
- Acting aggressively towards visitors to the house. Your cat is already dealing with one infiltrator, and doesn’t have the patience/tolerance for anyone else.
- Eliminating outside the litter box, scratching furniture, and breaking house rules.
Beyond managing your pet’s emotional needs, there are also logistics to consider. Two cats are twice as much work as one cat. You’ll need to clean and manage at least two litter trays. You’ll need at least two sets of food and water bowls. You’ll need two sets of toys, scratching posts, and other essentials.
You may find that your cats are happy to share. If that’s the case, you’ll have less to worry about. You have to remember that this is unlikely, though. As cats are so territorial, they’ll probably refuse to use anything that smells like their housemate.
Two Cats of the Same Gender?
Unless at least one of them is spayed or neutered, two cats can quickly become eight or ten. Don’t think that adopting feline family members will make any difference either. If a cat is in heat, all propriety and standards go out of the window.
Let’s think about same-sex cat pairings. Should you pair up two males or two females?
You certainly should not keep two unneutered males together. Two intact tomcats will fight as an unfixed male is a raging tornado of testosterone.
Once they have been neutered, male cats calm down significantly. Two males will generally get along. Just expect the usual spats over a favored cushion or window seat.
Two females are unlikely to tolerate each other well. Every cat is an individual. If you pick two placid females, you may be fine.
You have to remember that female cats are known as queens. There can only be one queen of your home’s kingdom, and that could mean a lot of scrapping.
If your female cat has been spayed, a male companion is the safest option. This viewpoint is confirmed by Kitten Rescue. If your existing cat is male, you can choose a male or female.
Cat Breeds That Get Along with Other Cats
Personality is more important than the breed. If your two cats have compatible personas, they’ll usually get along. Some cat breeds are more likely to flourish in a multi-cat household, though.
According to PetCareRx, the following felines are among the best options for multi-cat families. These cats tend to be more social and even-tempered than other breeds:
- American Bobtail
- American Shorthair
- Devon Rex
- Maine Coon
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Scottish Fold
Compatibility stretches far beyond breed. Return to our checklist of things to consider before committing to a second cat.
If your existing pet is on board, a second cat makes a great addition to any home. She’ll provide company to your cat when you can’t and offer you even more feline affection than usual.