While many people think of cats as solitary animals, some of our feline friends actually enjoy having another kitty around to keep them company. Whether your particular cat would like to have a feline companion depends on his personality and age. Spunky youngsters may benefit from having a kitty companion to play with, while older cats, used to being alone, may prefer to keep their status as an only cat.
When it comes to adopting kittens, two may be better than one. Young kittens who have a litter mate to keep them company tend to develop fewer behavioral problems later in life. They also learn important social behaviors from each other and experience better emotional development, according to Pets Are Worth Saving of Chicago. Having another kitty around helps to divert your little one's destructive behaviors and allows him to wrestle and play with his friend when you're not around so he doesn't get bored. It's not essential that the two cats be litter mates, however, because two young kitties of a similar age can bond just as well as two cats who are related.
Whether or not an older cat will accept or even want another cat around as a companion depends on his background. Well-socialized cats who were exposed to other cats earlier in their lives may appreciate the presence of another kitty to keep them company. On the other hand, a senior cat who has been the only feline in your home for most of his life may have a more difficult time adjusting to a new addition, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In general, cats don't like change and are territorial creatures, so if Fluffy seems content to be an only kitty, it's probably best to keep it that way.
Whether your existing cat would like to have a companion cat can depend on the potential newcomer's personality and level of activity. A young, rambunctious kitten may stress out an older, more sedentary feline, warns the American Humane Association. An active, outgoing cat may clash with one who is shy and reserved. To avoid conflicts, choose a companion cat for Fluffy who has a similar personality, activity level and age to ensure a good match. When adopting a kitty friend for Fluffy, speak to the shelter personnel who can give you a good idea of the temperaments and ages of their residents before you adopt one.
When choosing a companion cat for your existing one, make sure that both cats are spayed or neutered to avoid problems with aggression or the arrival of unwanted kittens. Two neutered males or a male and female cat tend to get along better than two females, recommends the Daily Cat. Take introductions between the two kitties slowly. Give each cat his own food and water dishes, toys and litter box; three litter boxes is actually ideal for two cats, recommends the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. This will avoid stress from developing over shared resources. Once together, it can take from eight months to a year for the two to form a friendship, according to the ASPCA.