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One Cat or Two?

by Laurie Raymond

We have lots of cats! Young cats, mature cats, and every age in between. Think of long, chilly evenings with a furry body to snuggle with; a playful companion on gray days someone who will entertain you by hunting down the spiders that come in with the firewood. In fact, often if one cat is good, two are even better.

Two cats

  • Are company for each other when you are at work or away from home
  • Are twice as entertaining as they interact with each other
  • Are more confident and outgoing, in general, than single cats
  • Provide each other with exercise and mental stimulation

One thing that is decidedly not easier with two cats, however, is the financial responsibility. It costs twice as much, period, to provide preventive vaccinations and veterinary treatment for illness, food, equipment, licenses, and boarding over vacations, when you have two cats.

Can you ever have too much of a good thing? Multiple cat households (3 or more) can be tricky. Cats are not as solitary and unsocial as many people think. But they are territorial animals and seem to prefer to spend some time alone. They are individuals, and multiple cat households work or fail due to the personalities of the animals involved, and the “chemistry” among them. Adding a third or fourth cat can be either a piece of cake or an explosive mistake – and it may be very hard to predict which.

If the idea of a couple of cats appeals to you, should you adopt two at once, or…? If the animals you want to adopt already know each other and are friends, their relationship shouldn’t complicate their adjustment to your home. But keep in mind that you may have a harder time getting to know each individual that way. You come home from work and wonder, “OK, which of you has the hairballs?”

Young cats or kittens who don’t know each other can be adopted together, if the shelter determines that they are compatible and you are prepared to handle the introduction procedures at home carefully.

Adult cats may be safest to adopt one at a time. For the first cat, get to know his/her habits and personality, let them adapt to your home and feel comfortable there, and then choose a second cat with the same personality guiding your selection. We can help with suggestions for the introduction process to ensure success. Don’t choose a cat we have identified as needing to be an only cat if you think you may want another cat one day.