If you’re a cat lover you’ve probably heard it before – if you adopt one cat, you should probably think about adopting two so they can keep each other company.
At least that’s what I heard when I first adopted my cat, Penny, three years ago.
But is there really any truth to that statement? Penny seems pretty happy all on her own – so should I consider getting another cat just to keep her company, especially for the times when I myself am not there to do the same?
Turns out, there’s really not much truth to the idea that you should get two cats at once … with one caveat. “The general answer would be no, don’t get two cats,” says Oscar E. Chavez, DVM, MBA, Member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition. “Unless they are young and of similar age, and/or were raised together.”
If that particular caveat isn’t the case for your own cat, providing her with another feline companion could actually turn out to do more harm than good. “It’s more likely to stress your cat out than provide a companion,” says Dr. Chavez. “People assume cats do well in multiple cat households, but that’s far from the truth. Cats are not small dogs. They are not pack animals, and they prefer to be solitary most of the time.”
Cats also live for routine, and introducing a new cat into the mix – especially if you’ve already had yours for a while, as I have with Penny – will only most likely disrupt and confuse her. “If you do decide to introduce a new cat, the introduction must be slow, all interactions must be supervised, you must have at least one more litter box than cats, and each cat should have his or her own territory, climbing area, bed, etc.,” says Dr. Chavez. “Cats do not share readily.”
Cheryl Lock is an editor at Studio One. Her work has appeared online at Petside and Pet360, as well as in print in publications like Parents, Family Circle and Runner’s World. She lives in New York with her adorable rescue cat, Penny, and a rabbit named Nugget.