Does My Cat Need a Companion?

By Tom •  Updated: 11/04/20 •  10 min read
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Are you trying to decide if your cat needs a companion or not? It can be a difficult decision on whether or not to adopt another cat. And it’s a decision that should take some time and consideration before making a final decision.

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You may be facing the issue of your cat just having lost a companion due to illness. Or perhaps she just seems lonely while you’re away all day. Whatever is driving the question, you’ll need to take time and do your research into adopting another cat.

Does a Cat Need a Companion?

 

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The short answer is it depends…on your cat and other considerations. There’s a myth that cats are generally loners. While this is true of some cats, it’s not true of all cats. Each of fur baby has her own personality, temperament and needs. There are many cats who really would be better off with a companion, rather than being alone.

Sometimes it could be a matter of siblings preferring to stay together. Other times, perhaps two cats have shared a trauma together and can’t be separated. They only thrive when they have their buddy near. There are many reasons that cats prefer to have a companion, including cats who love to be social butterflies. On the other hand, there are cats who do prefer to be loners. These might be street cats or cats who once lived feral lives.

They’ve had to fight for food, territory and even mates. All of this goes a long way to making them more scrappy and able to live solitary lives

Is It Cruel to Have Only One Cat?

 

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In some cases, having only one cat is certainly fine. As we’ve already seen, there are some cats who prefer to live alone and grab all the attention from their pet parents. However, if you’re considering getting a kitten, it might be kinder to adopt two together. It’s difficult for kittens to be separated from their mothers and siblings, then go to a new home with new people and other pets. Having two kittens, from the same litter, helps the kittens adjust to their new home and family. The process is a little easier when there’s a companion, after all.

Should I Get a Second Cat Quiz

To help you make the right decision, we’ve put together a short quiz that includes questions to think about before getting a second cat. Let’s get on with the questions!

1). Does my cat like other cats? It’s good to know if your cat likes or gets along well with other kitty friends. You want to avoid bringing a territory battle into you and your kitty’s home, which is what would happen with an unwanted companion! How does your cat react to other cats she sees outside? Does she react to smelling cats on you or family? Does she become upset, hiss, etc.? Then this would be an indication that she’s not ready or not at all wanting/needing a companion. Listen to her—you won’t regret it.

2). Is the new cat for your or your cat? Sometimes, we’re not aware of our own feelings when it comes to considering a second pet. Before you bring a new fur baby home to your cat, be sure to explore your own motivations. Do you want another cat? Are you making this decision because your cat seems lonely? Really stop and consider the reason you’re thinking about another cat. If it’s only for your own wellbeing, then it may be better to put your fur baby ahead of your own needs. If it’s best for her to have a companion, then go ahead! If the motivation is only that you’d like a second cat, then hold off. This way you won’t cause WWIII in your home, if your furry feline doesn’t particularly want a new addition.

3). Willing to do what it takes? If you’re determined to get another cat, are you willing to do what it takes to help both cats get along? If both cats have been spayed or neutered, then sex doesn’t matter. Instead, you’ll need to pay attention to the cats’ ages and temperaments. It’s a good idea to get a cat that’s the same age as your fur baby. They’ll share the same stage of life, energy levels, etc. And if you have a cat that’s very outgoing, you might want to consider getting a second cat that’s a bit more retiring. Just try to balance the mix between the cats, and you’ll be OK.

 

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4). Can you play referee: OK, now you have two cat and you can expect there will be fights every so often. Now you’ll have to learn how to play referee to your fur babies. You could face trouble over food, territory, etc. Just be prepared to break up any disagreements quickly.

5). When to call it quits—do you know when: The answer can be easy and fast, or will take time to decide what works…or doesn’t. If the two kitties are obviously unhappy, you’ll have to find a new home for the second cat. Either way, your second kitty will find a good home. It’s not your fault if the cats don’t get along; the issue will be knowing when to call it quits and finding a new home for your second kitty.

Does My Cat Need a Friend?

There are signs your cat needs a friend—let’s take a look.

1). Consider your cat’s age, temperament and sex: as we mentioned previously, kittens may have a difficult time adjusting to their new home and family; however, it can help to include a sibling from the same litter. This way, they’ll be company for one another and will have a close relationship for life. If you choose a brother and sister, you’ll need to make sure to have them spayed and neutered, in order to avoid bringing inbred kittens into the world.

Older cats, who are used to living alone and seem happy, may or may not enjoy having a companion. Another thing to consider is that female cats often get along better than two males.

Pairing a kitten with an older cat might work, as long as the older cat is accepting of their new little companion

2). Size of your home: take into consideration the size of your home. Cats are notoriously territorial, even indoor cats. They can especially be finicky about sharing their litter box with a new comer. Is your cat too territorial to accommodate a new addition?

3). Remember to be practical: don’t forget that you’ll need two of everything: food and water dishes, litter boxes, possibly kitty beds, etc. Another thing to remember is that your vet bill will also double, as will your food bill. Can you afford to feed and care for two cats?

 

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4). Companion for a grieving cat: if your fur baby has lost her companion, it can be helpful to get her a new companion. Cats will go through the grieving process, but the addition of a friend can help. Keep in mind that your grieving cat may reject the newcomer, but this is the case regardless of her being in grief or not. Just watch over the cats to make sure they’re getting along.

5). Clingy cat: this may be a sign that your fur baby needs a companion, especially if she’s lost a beloved friend. She may follow you around meowing for attention and may not leave you alone for a minute.

6). Change in eating and/or grooming habits: you may notice a change in your kitty’s eating or grooming habits, especially if she’s recently suffered a loss. Other habits that could change—maybe she’s become more destructive or is sleeping more. This can be due to lack of socializing—your cat can become depressed. A new friend could help.

7). Lack of energy: cats have low energy when they’re depressed, lonely or bored. If you notice your cat is not as full of energy as she used to be, it could be she needs a companion to get her going again.

These are a few signs that your fur baby might benefit from some company. However, some of these signs could also indicate your cat has a health problem. Either way, it would be a good idea to take her to the vet for a checkup, just to make sure there’s no underlying medical problem making her feel badly.

Introducing Two Cats

 

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If all the indicators seem to say yes, then go ahead and try to adopt another cat to be a companion for your current fur baby. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before introducing the kitties to one another.

1). Make a gradual introduction: keep the new kitty in a room by away from the other cat for about 3 days to a week. Make sure she has her own litter box, food, water and a comfy bed to sleep in.

2). Scent swapping: let your kitty get next to the room where the new kitty’s living. Encourage her to smell the door and the area to become familiar with the scent of the new cat. In addition, you can use a towel to help introduce each cat to the other’s scent. Rub each cat’s cheeks and the base of the tail (on top of their backs) to gather their scents from scent glands in these areas. Then let the cats smell the other’s towel and rub the cats with the towels to introduce the scents.

If one of the cats reacts in a negative way (hissing, biting, swatting, etc.), then wait a few more days and retry this process. It may take several tries, but the idea is to get the cats used to one another’s smell.

3). Let them see each other: this can be tricky but can be done using two pet gates (stacked one on top of the other), a glass door or something similar. Let the cats see each other through the barrier—do this for 7 days. You can also keep using the towel method to introduce their scents to one another through this period.

4). The first meeting: sometimes cats will decide to get along from the very first meeting. Other times, they may fight. You might try letting them meet, but have another person in the room to help in case the cats fight. Try to feed the cats and let the cats come together. You can even use leashes on each cat—this will help you separate them in the event of a fight. Treats can also be helpful.

If the cats don’t get along at first, you’ll have to be patient and retry this introduction process again. It may take a few tries. Don’t despair—your kitties may decide to come together quickly, or it could take a few months. Just be patient. We wish you and your kitties all the best with this process!

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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