Whether it’s for you or for your feline friend, if you’re considering adopting a second cat, it’s important to not only consider how you feel, but also what it means for your other animal.
Many feline owners toy with the idea of adopting a second cat. For some, this is not an option and not another thought put to it. However, for those who do, there are often many questions thrown around: Why do I want another cat? Does my cat want another cat? Do they want the company? How do I know if they want the company? What happens if they don’t get along?
If you’re worried about whether your cat needs the company, that they may not be stimulated and entertained enough during the day, then getting a second cat won’t necessarily fix this. In fact, it could make things worse for everyone.
Is adopting a second cat the right choice?
It can be hard to know if your cat wants or needs a companion separate to their human parent. How do we, as humans, work it out? What we do know is that, like all animals, cats need stimulation, social interaction and downtime. Behaviours become key to learning more about your animal. It’s therefore important to observe your animal closely so you can make the best decision when it comes to deciding if getting a second cat really is right for you and your cat.
Here are some key points to consider before making the leap to adopting a second cat.
Costs of a second cat
First of all, it’s vital to be honest with yourself and review whether or not you have adequate finances to accommodate a second cat. In addition to food and litter costs, you will also need to consider regular vet bills, as well as a suitable plan should either of your cats require expensive medical care. Unexpected costs of pet ownership can take people by surprise, so it’s not a bad idea to set aside a contingency “in case of emergency”.
Time needed for a second cat
Cats are quite independent creatures, which suits many peoples’ lifestyles. However, they also require love, attention and care, which equals time. While this will vary from cat to cat, a second cat will likely require just as much time from you as your other feline. It’s possible this extra time may need to be taken from elsewhere, and this can often come at the expense of the original cat. Therefore, how do you think your other cat will respond to having less time with you? This is an important consideration in determining where your time will come from to look after two cats.
Your cat won't be able to sit down and have an honest conversation with you about your desire to adopt a second feline. Therefore, it’s important to consider how you think your cat will respond to sharing their space with another. This means learning more about your animal.
While independent when compared to dogs, cats also vary in their dependence and social requirements. A cat who is incredibly affectionate and requires regular interaction, playtime and snuggles with you may be less likely to receive a second cat well. It’s possible that jealousy may develop from both animals, and hostile or even aggressive behaviour may result.
On the other hand, you may have observed your cat watch and interact with other felines and the result is clear - little to no fuss, or even displays of affection. If there are other cats in the neighbourhood and your cat often ventures outside, try speaking to your neighbours to see if they witness interactions involving your cat that you might otherwise miss. Observing your cat watching other cats from inside the house can also give you some valuable insight.
Alternatively, you could also ask a friend to come by with their kitty to see how the interaction goes. Cats of differing personalities will help here, as it may be very clear you shouldn’t get a dominant alpha male, for example.
Key territorial behaviours to keep an eye out for include running off, hissing, or puffing up. If this happens regularly, it’s likely your cat won’t tolerate a second feline friend.
Introducing a second cat
If you decide that getting a second cat is right for you and your feline friend, aim to make the transition as seamless as possible. Try choosing a personality your cat is more likely to appreciate. For example, if your cat prefers a more peaceful and calm lifestyle, getting an energetic cat (most of all a kitten) may upset the tranquil lifestyle your first cat once enjoyed. The reverse applies.
If you are adopting your second cat from an animal shelter, take note that a cat’s personality may differ in your home from that which they display at the shelter. This is not uncommon given the enormous change in environment for the animal. It will also depending on how long the animal had been living there. Staff at the shelter may be able to provide more insight into a cat’s personality, especially if they have been there for some time. Some facilities will even let you temporarily foster an animal to see whether or not the new arrangement is suitable for everyone. This can be a great way of seeing whether or not a second cat is a good idea.
When it comes to deciding whether or not to get a second cat, the right consideration, time and preparation will allow you to make the right decision for you and your feline friend.
If you're simply worried about ensuring your cat is well entertained and stimulated each day, here are seven ways to help solve that without adopting a second. However, if the decision is right for you, the right approach will increase your chances of seeing your two kitties find a snuggly friend and playmate in each other. And thus a new feline love for you.
What was your experience introducing a second cat?
Source and photo credits: I Heart Cats