Living in a Multiple Cat Household
Roll over, Fido. Cats now outnumber dogs as the number one pet in the United States. As more people discover the joys of cat ownership, they also realize the benefits and challenges of having multiple cats in their households. These points can help you decide if adopting another cat is right for you.
- Size of Your Living Space: Cats are territorial by nature, and some cats are more protective of their space than others. Especially if your cat has been the only one in your life for a long time, getting him to share his space with another cat may be challenging at first. Introductions should be done slowly. First, keep them separated and swap toys back and forth to get them used to each other’s scent. Once you introduce them, be prepared for some growling and hissing at first, especially if they are older. Be sure to have plenty of places for them to go, especially vertical and high spaces like cat trees and window perches. Even after the cats become friends, they will each need places to claim as their own where they can get away from the action.
Cats who are alone for long periods of time get bored. Your cat can get into some destructive behaviors, have separation anxiety, or overeat out of boredom and loneliness. Adding a kitty friend or two to his life will give your cat the stimulation he needs.
- The Boredom Factor: Cats who are alone for long periods of time get bored. Your cat can get into some destructive behaviors, have separation anxiety, or overeat out of boredom and loneliness. Adding a kitty friend or two to his life will give your cat the stimulation he needs. Instead of coming home to a needy and stressed out "only cat," you will have a household of happy purring kitties waiting to love you when you get home from work.
- Learning Cat Behaviors: When you live with multiple cats, you will learn more about cat behavior than you ever imagined. Observing how they interact with one another, both at play and when arguing, will both entertain and educate. It’s fascinating to watch, and even better when they include you in their playtime activities.
- Consider Their Ages: Adopting a kitten is great fun, but if you already have a much older cat, it can be stressful for your existing kitty. Consider adopting two kittens so they use their play energy on each other rather than on your cat, which could cause him to become hostile toward them. Even if you don’t already have a cat at home, adopting kittens together will give you two happy and well-adjusted cats once they grow up.
- Cost of Care: Cat care can be expensive once you factor in the cost of food, supplies, and veterinary care. Although you may want to have a houseful, only adopt as many cats as you can comfortably afford to handle. If you want more cats but cannot afford their care, consider fostering a cat or two for a local rescue or shelter.
Living in a multiple cat household can be hectic and busy, but it’s worth the effort. You will get so much more love, laughter, and purrs in return than you ever could have imagined.
The Michelson Found Animals Foundation's mission of saving pets and enriching lives is made possible by the generous contributions of Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson.