We all know that if you’re getting chickens, two feathered friends are best - they are very sociable creatures, and it get’s a little lonely outdoors! But what about when it comes to our cats? Should you get them a friend of their own species to hang out with?
The answer really depends on your circumstances, environment and current number of pets. To determine whether you should have one cat or two, first ask yourself these questions:
How often am I home? Do you work full-time/is there someone at the house often?
Do I already have a cat? If so, how old is it?
What breed of cat are you looking to get? Is it one that’s happy in its own company, or is it one that craves attention?
If you currently don’t own any cats and are looking to buy/adopt one, you should probably start by asking yourself how often you are home to give the cat attention and affection.
How often am I home?
Some cat breeds like the Exotic Shorthair are purrrfectly happy potting around the house and amusing themselves for the day, other breeds crave attention, and will be lonely and sad unless they have someone to play with whenever they please.
If you’re looking at getting a cat, but aren’t going to be around the house for most of the day to dish out scratches and cuddles, then getting two cats is a good idea in order to keep the feline moral high in your household! Having a pal of their own species can be a comfort to cats, as most breeds find joy in socialising with a pal of their own kind.
If you are going to get two, then there are a few things you should consider:
The cats should be of similar age (read more about the importance of this in the next section)
The cats should be of similar energy levels. Generally this is dictated by their age.
Keep in mind what breeds of cat they are - most domestic cat breeds will get along fine with each other, just do a little research before you buy.
Am I adding another cat to a household that already has one?
Already have one cat, and thinking of giving it a furry friend? Choose wisely, and take care with the new addition. If you’ve got a chilled out, laid back adult cat, it may be tempting to get a cute little kitten - so small and adorable! However, you will probably make life pretty unpleasant for your poor old original cat. Why? Well, you know what it’s like having an energetic child run you ragged. The same goes for an adult cat with a kitten, however the adult might not react as understandingly as you do!
Parenting doesn't come naturally to an older cat that’s never been around kittens (which is most purchased cats) - the energetic, sprightly youngin’ will be an annoyance to the elder, and probably wear them down to the point of frustration. That does not a happy cat make! So, try and choose a cat of a similar age and energy level. If you are absolutely desperate to get a kitten, consider getting two of them at the same time. The old cat can watch the two little ones amuse and play with each other.
Also, in extreme cases, a new kitten can be viewed by an existing cat as a threat, so the cat may hurt your young feline friend out of jealousy or spite. Another reason why it’s important to choose a cat of similar age.
Is it hard to look after two new cats instead of one?
Looking after two cats takes about the same effort as looking after one! They can both use the same scratching posts, live in the same cat enclosure, share the same kitty litter box…
Also, if you’re buying cats of the same age, you can train them together and nurture the relationship between them at the same time. If you've bought cats of similar breeds, then their temperaments should match well - so training two takes about as much effort as training one!
What breed of cat are you looking to get?
The breed of your cat also plays a part in whether you should consider a furry twosome, or whether your cat will be happy being the lone feline in the family.
Some examples of breeds that can tolerate being alone include
A playful cat that doesn't mind amusing itself during the day. Just make sure when you get home that you devote some time to amusing your furry friend - they really do thrive off interaction with their human owners.
A shy, reserved cat whose playful side really comes out of their shell once nurtured by their owners. Once they’ve become used to their environment, they will happy amuse themselves as long as they’ve got a few toys to play with. Again, when you get home, give your cat some attention - if you don’t, the Russian Blue will feel somewhat...blue!
Cats that need attention (a feline friend if you’re away) include:
The Persian cat is a beautiful, fluffy breed that’s incredibly affectionate and does need a fair bit of attention. They love to play and relax with company. So if you've got your heart set on a Persian but aren't home for the majority of the day, they might need a feline friend to bond with.
The Manx is another breed that loves to snuggle and cuddle with their owners. They’re also renown for getting along with other cats, as well as dogs! Giving this breed a household friend will ensure their lives are filled with fun and company
So if you're thinking of getting a cat, consider the breed, your circumstances and any pets you currently have in the household. Also, if you’re thinking of adding a new cat to the family, keep in mind the temperament and age of your current cat - choosing an already suitable friend will save you heartache and disharmony.