Sharing your home with a cat is a very rewarding experience. So, surely this means that the only thing that could be better than owning 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.
Cats are social animals that live in colonies in the wild. Another cat will provide more company, but there are no guarantees that the two cats will get along well. You must take into consideration the age, sex, and personality of your current cat before deciding to get two house cats.
We’ll be looking at whether cats need companionship, or if cats are just loners. We’ll then look at the most important considerations before introducing a second cat to your home. Your cat’s personality is crucial because some cats feel stress, anxiety, and jealousy more than others.
Do Cats Do Better Alone or With Another Cat?
Cats have a reputation for being aloof loners, disinterested in social interaction. This isn’t true 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’s a big difference between a feral cat and a house cat, though. Your cat is likely used to being an ‘only child,’ and having things its own way. Will your cat cope with the extra company?
Adult cats used to living alone prefer to remain that way. This is because felines are territorial and are not comfortable with sharing their space.
Your cat will have spent a lot of time and effort claiming its territory. So, it’s very unlikely to take kindly to an infiltrator.
Forcing a cat to share its living space against its will is never a good idea. Your cat 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 of its life.
This doesn’t mean that all cats are antisocial. If your cat grew up with siblings, then it might end up lonely by itself.
Different Things to Consider Before Getting a Second Cat
Before you start preparing for a second cat, you need to think about whether it’s really a good idea. The things to consider include:
- Age. If your current cat is getting older, you may think that a kitten will re-energize it. What’s more likely is that the different energy levels will create a difficult living arrangement. Here’s our guide to the challenges of introducing a kitten to a senior cat.
- Cat size. Two completely different-sized cats could lead to bullying.
- Personality. Ensure that both cats have compatible personas. If your existing cat is placid, a more aggressive second cat will dominate it.
- Sex. Will two male cats get along? Will two female cats get along? Most people find that two females are more likely to fight each other.
- Lifestyles. Are both cats happy being indoors? Will one of them want to wander outside? Mixing and matching lifestyles can be frustrating.
- Home size. A pair of cats both need territory they can make their own. Is your home big enough for two cats?
- Expense. A second house cat doubles your costs. You’ll need to pay for two pet 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.
Advantages of Getting a Second Cat
If you’re considering getting a second cat, there will be a good reason for it. Maybe you want more companionship and affection. There are some really good reasons to recommend a two-cat home:
- Company. Two cats will keep each other company while you’re out at work. Your cat is less likely to feel lonely during those times.
- Mental stimulation. Two friendly cats will keep each other mentally and physically stimulated. This helps them to stay healthy and happy.
- Grooming activity. Two cats will groom each other.
- Your own cat. If you have a partner, you can have a designated cat each. Domesticated felines often prefer one person to another.
- Teaches tolerance. Bringing a second cat into a home enables your cat to realize sharing isn’t so bad. New houseguests may become a less frightening proposition.
- Shelter. If you adopt from a shelter, you’re improving two feline lives.
Disadvantages of Getting a Second Cat
Problems that may arise from running a multi-cat household include:
- Disharmony. The two cats may not get along well. This is the most common problem. Conflict is likely if neither feline is not used to sharing a home.
- Insecurity. Your existing cat may become stressed and insecure. At worst, it’ll think that it’s being punished or replaced.
- Extra territory. If your two cats dislike each other, they’ll each need their own territory.
- Takes time. Even if the cats become friends, it won’t happen quickly.
- Trouble. If both cats do get on well, they may get into more mischief.
- Illness. If one of your cats gets sick, it’s more likely that both will become ill. That means two lots of vet bills and cleaning up.
- More space. Two cats need more living space than one cat.
Are Two Cats More Work Than One Cat?
Even if two felines get along and entertain each other during the day, they’ll still need one-on-one attention from you. If cats don’t get quality alone time with you, they can become distressed and withdrawn.
Your instinct may be to spend more time with the new cat. After all, you need to build a new bond. Your existing cat will not understand, though.
It’ll just feel stressed, neglected, and jealous. This could easily result in destructive behavior or aggression towards the new arrival. The other warning signs of jealousy in cats include:
- Clinginess. Following you around, being particularly affectionate. Your cat may become disruptive of any activity that doesn’t involve it.
- Bullying the other cat. Examples include needlessly path blocking and muscling in on playtimes.
- Hiding and becoming withdrawn. While it’s tempting to say your cat is just sulking, felines can become depressed and hide in dark places.
- Unfriendly to visitors. Acting aggressively towards visitors to the house. Your cat may become more intolerant of others.
- Behavioral problems. Eliminating outside its litter box and scratching expensive furniture.
Beyond managing your cat’s emotional needs, there are also the 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. This is unlikely, though. As cats are so territorial, they’ll probably refuse to use anything that smells like their new housemate.
Can I Get Two Cats of the Same Gender?
Let’s think about same-sex cat pairings. Should you pair up two males cats or pair up two female cats? Is a male and female cat pairing better?
Two Male Cats Living Together
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 Female Cats Living Together
Two females are ‘unlikely’ to tolerate each other well. Every cat is unique, though, so it can work. If you pick two placid females, you could be fine.
Female cats are known as queens. There can only be one queen of your home’s kingdom, and that could mean fighting over territory.
One Male Cat and One Female Cat
If your female cat has been spayed, a male companion is the safest option, according to Kitten Rescue. If your existing cat is male and neutered, you can usually choose a male or female companion cat.
Cat Breeds That Get Along with Other Cats
Personality is more important than the breed of cat. If your two cats have compatible personas, they’ll usually get along just fine. But some cat breeds are more likely to flourish in a multi-cat household.
The following breeds are among the best options for multi-cat families. These breeds tend to be more social and even-tempered:
- American Bobtail
- American Shorthair
- Devon Rex
- Maine Coon
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Scottish Fold
Feline compatibility stretches far beyond the breed. Return to our full checklist of different factors to consider before getting a second cat.
If your existing pet is agreeable, adding a second cat to your home could work really well. It’ll provide some company for your current cat when you can’t offer it the attention and affection that it needs.