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 very appealing, there are pros and cons of getting a second cat that it is essential to know.
We will consider 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 household. 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 they are quite social animals. If you ever happen upon a feral or stray cat, you’ll see this for yourself. These felines live in substantial colonies.
There is a big difference between a feral cat and a domesticated house cat. Your pet is likely used to being an ‘only child,’ and having things their way. Will your pet thrive with a fellow feline to keep them company?
Adult cats used to living alone would 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 territory. So, they are unlikely to take kindly to an infiltrator, and potential usurper.
Forcing a cat to share their living space against their will is never a good idea. It can be dangerous. Your pet may become stressed, aggressive or depressed. If your cat has reached contented adulthood without company, you shouldn’t seek to change anything.
This doesn’t mean that all cats are antisocial, however. If your pet grew up with siblings, they might end up a little lonely by themselves. It’s common for a cat that loses a long-term companion to grieve. This suggests that your pet may relish the opportunity to have some company.
As with all things, it comes down to 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 them up. What’s more likely is that different energy levels will create a problematic living relationship. Here’s some advice on 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 bolshie and pushy second pet will dominate them.
- The sex of the cats. Finding the right gender balance is very important. Two females, for example, 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 vet bills. You’ll also require twice as much food and cat litter.
- Time. Do you have enough time to ensure that both cats have their individual needs met?
Take a good look at this checklist. If you’re convinced you can accommodate a second cat, you can assess the pros and cons.
Advantages of Getting a Second Cat
If you’re considering a second cat, there will be a reason for it. Maybe you want double the cat cuddles, or perhaps it’s something else. Whatever your thinking, there are reasons to recommend a two-cat home.
- Two cats will keep each other company while you’re out. This means that your existing pet is less likely to become lonely.
- Two friendly cats will also keep each other mentally and physically stimulated. This will help them both stay healthy and happy for longer.
- Two cats will groom each other, if they get along sufficiently. This means that they’ll both remain clean and pretty for you.
- If you live with a partner, you can have a designated cat each. Domesticated felines often gravitate more to one human. 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 saving two feline lives.
If all of this sounds good, then you’re ready for a second cat. Get your home ready, and prepare your existing pet for a new addition to the family. If you pick the right companion for your cat, they could become fast friends for life.
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. These 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 very stressed and insecure. At worst, they’ll think that they’re being punished and replaced. This can make them unwell.
- If your cats struggle to get along, they’ll need their own territory. You could be relinquishing all your spare rooms to feline houseguests.
- Even if the cats do become friends, it will take a while. You’re going to need a lot of patience, and setting time aside for training.
- 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, they’ll likely both get sick. That means two sets of vet bills. It also means more cleaning up, if they have stomach upsets.
If any of these reasons give you pause for thought, it’s best to abandon the idea. Taking on a second cat is a big task, and there’s no room for second-guessing yourself.
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 pet will surely understand. There’s just one problem with that theory. Your existing cat will not understand.
They’ll become stressed, and feel neglected. In some cases, they may even act out in jealousy. This could result in destructive behavior or aggression toward 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 them.
- Bullying the other cat, such as needlessly blocking their path or muscling into their playtime.
- Hiding and becoming withdrawn. While it’s tempting to say your cat is just sulking, be careful. Felines can become depressed, which has dangerous symptoms such as refusing to eat.
- Acting aggressively toward visitors to the house. Your cat is already dealing with one infiltrator; they don’t have the patience for more.
- Eliminating outside the litter box, scratching furniture, and breaking house rules. This will get your attention, if nothing else will!
Beyond managing your pet’s emotional needs, there are also cold, hard logistics to consider. Two cats are twice as much work as one.
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 get lucky, and 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?
There is an obvious risk associated with keeping two cats of the opposite gender together. 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 spare you this, 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 always 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, however, 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, though. 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 typically go either way.
Cat Breeds That Get Along with Other Cats
Personality is more important than 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 than others, though.
According to PetCareRx, the following favorite 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 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. They’ll provide company to your cat when you can’t, and offer you even more feline affection.
It’s not a decision to take lightly, however. You’ll be creating a lot of work for yourself, which you’ll have to take it seriously. You can’t phone in pet parenting, especially with cats.
Weigh up the pros and cons of adopting a second cat, and make an informed choice. If you’re confident that you and both animals will benefit, you’re all set.
Get out there and expand your feline family. If you’re on the fence, it’s best to step away for now. Unless you’re fully invested, a two-cat home will be too much work.