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Is Adopting Another Cat The Right Choice For Your Kitty?

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It’s not unusual to wonder if our cats get bored when their entire worlds are only as big as our homes. We have an entire planet to explore and wander, and the thought of being confined to a house our whole lives is enough to drive us crazy! How do our cats stand it?

Just like people, cats require stimulation to live a happy life. This means more than just treats and TV. We can offer toys, cat trees, exercise, enrichment and love, but we can only do so much to keep our cats’ minds and bodies sharp. You may be wondering if what your cat really needs to be happy is a second cat.

There are a few things to take into consideration when wondering if you’re ready for another cat. Can you afford the responsibility of another cat? A second cat means more spent on food, litter, and veterinarian visits. He will also need just as much attention as the cat you already have. Do you have time to spend with two cats? And not least of all, is your cat ready to share his space with a second cat?

Your kitty isn’t able to tell you that they’d like to have a new friend, but if you pay attention to his behavior, you may be able to figure it out for yourself. Some cats may crave a little more fuzzy company, but other cats may prefer having their humans and their homes to themselves and don’t want to share! It’s important to know how your cat feels about it before you make a decision about adding a new member to your family – which would he prefer?

Your cat may demand more attention and affection than you have time to give, but don’t assume that another cat might deflect some of that neediness. Your cat may just want YOUR time and attention, and could feel that another cat is encroaching on what affection you have to give. Even worse – you may end up with two jealous, demanding kitties on your hands! The last thing you want is a cat fight!

The best way to determine how your cat will respond to a new cat in your home is to see how your cat responds to cats outside your home. Next time your cat is perched on his favorite windowsill, pay attention to how he behaves when he spots other cats through the window. It’s a great way to see how he really feels about other felines without risking a fight. Does he hiss, puff up, or run off? A fearful kitty that doesn’t want other cats hanging around outside his home is not likely to welcome a new cat inside his home. You may want another cat, but remember that your cat is a member of your family – one that spends all day in your home, and he deserves to feel safe and comfortable there. If he wants to be an only cat, there are other ways to make your home more exciting for him! Check out these DIY projects to build your cat a better life!

If your cat is one of those who enjoys seeing passing felines through the window, and remains calm in the presence of other cats, a new friend might be a good choice for your family! Should you adopt another kitty, be sure to get one whose personality won’t conflict with your cat’s. You’re adopting a friend for your friend, so be careful to look for one whose company your cat is likely to enjoy. You might be drawn to the fuzzy little babies with big eyes, but you can assume that if your cat loves to sleep and be lazy, he probably won’t be game for all the playtime an energetic kitten will want.

Shelter cats won’t always show their true colors while they’re waiting for new homes, but shelter staff may be able to point you in the right direction. Some shelters will even allow you to temporarily foster a cat you think might be right for your family, which is also a great opportunity to see if the two cats will get along. They may need time to warm up to each other, but you’ll be able to see if they’re friendly and curious, or fearful and aggressive.

The right second cat will ideally be one who enjoys the same activities your cat does and keeps him company throughout his day. If you choose wisely and give them time to get to know each other, your two cats could form a tight bond, and they’ll both have a new playmate, cuddle buddy, and life-long friend! See this video on how to introduce two cats safely (with Cole and Marmalade!)

In a perfect world, we could just ask our cats if they’d like a new buddy and they could tell us with words. But even though our cats can’t speak English, if we pay close attention, they’ll let us know.

 

H/T: Florida Veterinary Behavior Services

Written by Adriana Sandoval
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