Let’s face it; cats have some strong personalities, and there’s a reason many are called “finicky felines.” But, this is an inherent part of their charm and how they work their way into your heart in a matter of seconds. Therefore, it can sometimes be challenging to read what your cat wants and needs, especially when it comes to getting your kitty a feline friend.
Does Your Cat Need a Playmate?
Not every cat needs a friend, but when you think about it, many people with cats have more than one. So, it stands to reason that having multiple cats makes sense, right? Still, there are a few kitties that want to be alone. (Except they also want your constant attention, of course). Therefore, carefully consider your current cat’s disposition, routines, and behavior to decide if a friend is a good idea.
- If your cat loves to play and is active, then another kitty is likely a great solution to provide some extra attention, especially when you’re away at work. A cat companion could also be a good idea if your current pet is getting into more mischief than usual, as this can be a sign that they need to blow off a lot more steam. A playmate to have some fun with throughout the day could be just the ticket.
- If your cat lost a playmate recently, this could take a toll on your pet’s mood. Getting a new kitty could potentially help your cat deal with the loss.
- Another sign that your cat could benefit from a companion is if your feline friend is bored. This could especially be the case if your cat is restless, agitated, or seems to have a little less oomph than usual.
Signs Your Cat Feels Bored
If you think your cat is feeling bored, pay attention to your pet’s behavior and see if you notice any of these possible signs:
- Excessive Self-Grooming — Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves; it’s what they do. Besides keeping them clean, grooming also helps keep their skin cool, and it’s not uncommon for cats to spend up to half the day on self-grooming. However, if you start to notice signs of overgrooming, like thin spots in the fur or bald patches, your cat is doing too much. These symptoms could also point to other issues, like allergies, so rule this out with your vet, but boredom is also a likely culprit. Another potential sign of overgrooming is if your cat produces an increased amount of hairballs.
- Destructive Behavior — A bored cat is often a mischievous cat. Therefore, boredom is likely to result in your feline friend using your furniture as a dedicated scratching post or shredding your curtains.
- Overeating — You know how when you’re bored, you reach for a bag of chips or that leftover slice of birthday cake? Well, cats have similar habits; when they’re bored, they eat, and they eat too much. If your cat is scarfing down food like there’s no tomorrow, it can lead to obesity and other health issues.
- Loss of Interest — Cats are naturally curious. They love to explore, investigate, and discover as much as possible. Therefore, if your cat suddenly loses interest in things and doesn’t seem to have a desire to explore beyond her litter box, boredom is likely the reason.
If your cat’s displaying some or all of these signs, then a cat companion could be the answer to your furry friend’s problem.
Don't Get Another Cat If…
First and foremost, before you bring home another cat, ensure you have the time for another pet. Cats demand a lot of attention, and if you don’t have any more to give, then adding to your furry family probably isn’t the best idea.
Also, take an honest look at why you’re considering adding another cat in the first place. Is it, so your existing cat has a friend, or is it for you? It’s essential to recognize how your current kitty might feel about a new feline sharing the home and make your decision accordingly.
Choosing the Purr-fect Cat Companion
It’s vital to take your existing pet’s temperament and age into account when deciding on a new cat. For example, if you have a senior cat that loves nothing more than stretching out by the window, getting a playful, frisky kitten isn’t the best option. Likewise, if your cat is young and active, steer clear from bringing home a senior feline. Instead, find a cat that is similar in age to your current pet. Also, opt for the opposite sex. Although, if you have a female cat, two females tend to get along better than two males.
When it comes to disposition, a little bit of opposites attract could work well. For example, if you have a confident kitty, getting a new cat that is somewhat shy could create the perfect balance. Two confident cats could butt heads and get into fights. On the flip side, two overly shy cats might bond well but end up ignoring you, becoming co-dependent on each other.
Things Your New Cat Needs
If you got a new roommate, would you want to share everything? No, and neither does your cat. While things like a cat tree and toys in common areas are fine, each kitty needs a safe space. Your current pet likely has an existing setup, so scope out a place that can be your new cat’s personal haven. A good idea is to find a place in your home that your current pet tends to avoid. Set up your new cat’s bed, special toys, and other items in this space, and bring your new resident into it as soon as you come home. Your new cat should have a dedicated room, litter box, scoop, dishes (the Neater Slow Feeder is fantastic for cats who love to gobble down their food), toys, and so on.
If your cats eventually end up using a shared litter box as well, ensure you get a litter designed for multiple cats. You’ll also need things like a collar and ID tag and should seriously consider getting your new pet chipped (likewise for your existing pet if you haven’t already done so).
Introducing Cats to Each Other
Introducing animals to each other is a delicate process. When you’re ready for your cats to meet, don’t rush it. When you first bring your new feline friend home, head straight to the special haven you created. Let your new friend hang out there for a couple of days, bond with you, and get to know the lay of the land. Plus, make sure you continue to give your other cat ample attention as well.
This can take time, so prepare for a few days or maybe even a week or two to go by before you start introducing your cats to each other. You can start by sharing something with each cat that has the other’s scent. If all goes well, you could let each cat explore the other’s safe space for a few minutes (but not each other yet).
Then you can introduce the new companions by feeding them on opposite sides of a closed door. Cats love food, and this can help them establish each other’s scent with a positive experience. You can take it to the next level afterward and feed them on opposite sides of a glass door or window so they can start to see each other. Throughout this whole experience, ensure you keep spending adequate time with each of your pets and provide them with lots of love and attention.
If all goes well, your next step would be to have supervised play sessions. Keep them short and sweet at first, then gradually increase the duration. Always monitor the interactions closely, and end them if things start to get a little tense or either cat seems to become visibly upset. After patient and persistent effort, your new furry friends will get to know each other and can be alone together.
If you’re ready to bring a new cat into the mix, then check out the rest of our blog for more helpful tips and pet-parenting advice. Whether you’ve had your pets for years, or are thinking about getting one for the very first time, there are always new things to learn!