I have been a cat lover all of my life, but I always had just one cat at a time until four years ago. Currently, my household consists of one husband, two teenage girls, a 10-year-old female cat and a 4-year-old male cat. We got Angel, the female, at eight months old and Shadow, the male, at four months old. I love having two cats at the same time. They both bring something so different to our family. Angel is sweet and cuddly, while Shadow is crazy and funny. If possible, I encourage anyone who is considering getting a cat to get two instead. And yes, they are both fixed.
Having two cats is definitely double the fun and laughs, but is easier when the cats are raised together from the start. With an age difference of over five years between our two cats and them being female and male, it is kind of like a big sister/little brother relationship. Shadow annoys the heck out of Angel sometimes, yet in the next moment, they are snuggled up on a chair together grooming each other.
Considerations When Introducing a New Cat into the Household
If you have made the decision to get a second cat, consider your current cat’s age and personality and try to match it with the newcomer if possible. Most cat experts recommend getting a kitten if there is already an adult cat in the house because this is less threatening to the resident cat. On the other hand, a kitten’s boundless energy may be annoying for an older cat who is set in his ways.
Do the best you can to match the personality of your two cats, but it’s not the end of the world if they end up being nothing alike. We like to joke in our family that the only thing Angel and Shadow have in common is that they are both cats. They do still fight a bit too much for my liking, but they also have moments where they genuinely love each other’s company. It also helps that we have a large enough house for each of them to get time alone. We let them work out their differences without interruption as long as neither of them is getting hurt.
Bringing a new cat home when you already have one is similar to bringing a new baby home from the hospital. The resident cat is going to experience a lot of different emotions and behaviors, ranging from jealousy to curiosity. It is important to give both cats plenty of time to get used to the situation. Before you arrive home with your new fuzz ball, set up a separate space for her litter box, food and water. Cats can be very territorial and requiring them to share a litter box or food dish could be asking for trouble. However, they may eventually start using the same litter box and eating and drinking out of the same bowls on their own.
The new cat should be placed in a bedroom for the first day or so after returning home to allow him or her time to adjust to your home. Cats love to smell everything in sight, but it can be overwhelming for them to check out an entire house at once. When you take this approach, your older cat knows there is a newcomer in the house and will have time to adjust to the idea. Your cats will have the opportunity to vocalize to each other through a closed door without running the risk of hurting each other.
Once both of your cats seem more relaxed with the changes, you can bring them into the same room together. Don’t be surprised if there is hissing, growling and other aggressive behavior. In your cat’s mind, she is simply defending her territory. You should only intervene if one of the animals actually attacks the other one. After a while, the cats will probably start sniffing one another and work out their relationship on their own.
Benefits of Having More Than One Cat
In the four years that we have had Shadow, we have noticed that Angel is more active and playful than she was before. They seem to enjoy chasing each other around the house, and activity is important for Angel as she ages. When there are two or more cats in the house, they can keep each other company while the family is away during the day. While cats can be solitary creatures, they also enjoy the ability to interact with their own kind. Humans can only go so far in keeping them happy and entertained.
Veterinary research has shown that cats in a multi-cat household tend to have fewer destructive behavioral problems that can come about due to boredom. Instead of clawing up your furniture for something to do, feline siblings are more likely to interact with one another.
Before you commit to bringing another cat home, make sure that you can afford the added expense of more food, litter and veterinary bills. You will most likely find that any added expense is outweighed by the joy of having two cats in your household. As for me, I plan to always have two cats. When Angel passes away, I won’t go years having just one cat like I did before Shadow came into our lives. I just hope that day doesn’t come too quickly.