Should I get a second cat?
Consider why you want another cat, the current cat's feelings, and how to transition
There are all kinds of reasons you might consider bringing home a second cat. For many cat-lovers, one simply isn’t enough. Once you’ve fallen for a feline, it’s hard not to want to share your life with another. Some people worry their cat spends too much time alone, especially if there’s a change in lifestyle and they are not able to be home as often as before. Certain cats have an energetic personality that lends itself to being sociable, making a second cat seem like a good idea. Of course, there’s also the spontaneous desire to bring home a cat in need, regardless of the logistics. When we hear about a cat who is in dire need of rescuing, it’s hard not to let our minds race with the possibilities.
Older Cats Are Less Adaptable
If you’re wondering whether or not you should add a new addition to your home, consider your current cat’s age. Older cats tend to be set in their ways and not too excited about the prospect of a big change. A senior cat has a daily routine that he won’t want to be disrupted. This is particularly true for older cats alongside kittens. Kittens just can’t help getting in your face. They want to roll around and pounce on everything in sight. Naturally, this is jarring and upsetting for a senior cat. Instead of lazing in the sun by the window, he has to be on guard for when the furry ball of energy is going to appear. Bringing an adult cat into the home of a senior cat tends to go smoother, but there’s still no guarantee that the original cat won’t be miffed at the change.
Personality is Everything
This is where the disposition of the cat also comes into play. Generalizations aside, there are older cats who enjoy spending time with other cats, even younger ones. It really depends on the individual cat. Gender is sometimes suggested as a factor in how well cats will get along, but it’s not stable enough to put much stock in. The personality is far more important than the gender. Knowing your cat best, it’s up to you to decide what kind of cat yours is most likely to get along with. What kind of energy level does your current cat operate at? Does he have any kind of history with other cats? Have you seen him react to a friend or neighbor’s cat? Once you’ve weighed the factors involving your specific cat, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of cat might match with yours. Just like with people, it’s hard to predict how different temperaments are going to respond to each other.
Consider Fostering or a “Trial Run”
Reputable animal rescues will often allow for a small trial period when adopting a pet. In fact, some shelters will even insist upon a “meet and greet” with your current pet(s) before allowing an adoption to be completed. Even the most thorough research can’t compare to actually seeing how your cat responds to an individual cat, so this can be a great option. You might also consider fostering a cat for a rescue. If things work out and your cats get along famously, you can finalize an adoption. If your best efforts at assimilating fail to work, the foster cat can move on to another home. Just be honest with any shelter, breeder, or other source about your situation and intentions. Hopefully, everyone has the best interests of the cats at heart and can work together to come up with a solution.
Make Sure You Want a Second Cat
If the only reason you’re thinking about getting a second cat is to keep your current cat company, be cautious about that. While cats can learn to appreciate the company of other cats, there’s no certainty that the new pairing will work. In some cases, the new arrival will only cause stress and irritation for the original pet. As noted previously, it’s hard to coax an older cat into sharing his beloved home with a new friend. What began with the good intention of making your cat less lonely can turn into an exasperating situation for everyone, people included. Since cats are not exactly known for their generous sharing, you’ll often have to supply two of everything, including litter boxes. You have to analyze your current cat’s lifestyle before committing to a new one. It could be that he is quite happy with things the way they are and does not need an extra feline friend.
Keeping a Solo Cat Happy
Though it can be tough to leave your cat alone while you’re at work, you can make this easier for both of you by providing a stimulating environment. Foraging toys create puzzles for cats to decipher, and once solved eject a treat. You can also hide toys or favorite objects – such as the classic cardboard box – around the house to be discovered. Perches or tall cat furniture are a must and are even better next to a window for bird and people-watching. Providing all of these perks is also a smart way to keep your cat from clawing or destroying things he shouldn’t out of boredom. While you’re away, your cat is going to do a hefty amount of sleeping. This is totally normal and does not mean he is depressed – he merely loves his cat naps.
Getting Two Siblings
If you’ve yet to bring home one cat and are already considering getting two, this is the absolute perfect time to be thinking about it. It’s considerably easier to bring two cats from the same litter into a new space. Animals from the same litter are much more likely to get along without difficulties. You also don’t have to worry about one of the cats being territorial over a space that he already thinks should be his. If you’re interested in adopting instead of buying, it’s extremely common for rescues to get an influx of kittens throughout the year. Simply let your nearest rescue know that you are wanting to adopt two kittens at once. If they don’t already have siblings available, they can put you on a waiting list for the next arrival. Considering the way that cats are tragically overpopulated, you won’t be waiting for long.
Think Ahead for a Gentle Transition
As exciting as it can be to get swept up in the planning of a new pet, think carefully before you bring home a second cat. For many people, the transition goes smoothly. It’s great fun to watch two cats play, or adorably fall asleep on top of each other. Not all stories go so well, so it’s best to be prepared. Weigh the pros and cons as they relate to your unique cat. All cats have their own needs, quirks, and ideal version of life. If you’re itching to get a second cat, make sure to do the introduction slowly and kindly. Hopefully, soon you’ll have two cats who are, if not good pals, at least accepting of each other.