Despite their reputation as independent creatures, cats are social animals who thrive on forming intimate bonds with other animals. Here, our Crystal Lake veterinarians talk about bringing a second cat into your home, as well as how to introduce them to each other.
How to Tell if your Cat Wants Another Cat
Sudden changes in your cat's behavior can indicate that they're lonely. Consult your vet, and if they agree that you should get a second cat, here are seven signs that your cat would benefit from feline companionship.
If your cat meows a lot, follows you around, and won't generally leave you alone, it may require more social interaction. This very demanding conduct could signal separation concerns.
Obsessive grooming could be a self-soothing mechanism for your kitty. However, if they have odd grooming habits, don't immediately assume they are just lonely as this could also be a sign of a health issue. If you notice your cat is unkempt and not grooming as often, it could be an indication that they are lonely or sad, but you should always consult a vet first.
A Shift in Sleeping Habits
If your cat is sleeping a lot and no longer interacts with you, they may be lonely and depressed. However, as with any other habit change, it is vital to consult your veterinarian to rule out medical concerns first.
Litter Box Issues
Stress or loneliness can be indicated by unusual litter box behaviors. If your previously litter-box-trained cat starts peeing in other areas of the house, you should contact your veterinarian right away. Cats are creatures of habit, and when their routine changes, it's like a flashing neon sign to humans.
Odd Eating Habits
Is your cat consuming more food than usual? It could be the result of boredom or a lack of social stimulation. When there is nothing else to do, the cat, like people, may turn to food. Alternatively, the cat may stop eating due to depression. A change in eating habits, on the other hand, may indicate a medical problem, so consult your veterinarian first.
Getting a Cat When You Already Have One
Even if your vet confirms that your cat is lonely and could benefit from another feline friend, it's tough to know if they are ready for one. A cautious introduction process will help them get off on the right paw.
Here are some steps you can follow and questions to ask yourself when introducing your cats for the first time:
- What is your cat's relationship like with the other cats in the neighborhood? If your cat is agitated or angry when other cats enter their territory, it could be a sign that they would not accept sharing their home with another cat. Bengals, for example, are ideal as solitary cats.
- Cats who are related get along better than cats that are not related.
- Younger cats are more likely than older cats to accept new feline members of the household.
- Because of the lack of hormones, neutered cats get along considerably better than unneutered cats.
- Is your house large enough to give each cat their own space where they can get away from other cats if they want to?
What About if One of My Cats Passes?
If you had two cats and one unfortunately passed, it is natural for owners to want to get another cat to keep their remaining feline busy.
But before getting a new cat or kitten, we recommend giving your existing cat some time to adjust to life without its friend. Cats are intelligent creatures with unique social needs; it's possible that they won't feel the need for another companion so soon after their former friend's death.
How Do I Know My Cats Like Each Other?
Cats that bond well and get along will consider each other to be in the same social group. Indicators of this include grooming, sleeping, and lying next to each other. They may greet each other on a regular basis by touching noses or making a small meow as they pass.