If you have a cat at home, you might be wondering whether they would enjoy the company of another cat, especially if you spend long periods of the day out.
It’s true that, with the right introduction, cats can enjoy social interactions with each other, and this can enrich their lives considerably.
However, every cat is an individual, and you’ll need to make the assessment of whether or not your cat would like (or even tolerate!) another cat carefully.
Before you get another cat, there are lots of factors to consider, including your cat’s age, temperament, any health conditions, and the environment you can provide for them.
Do you have enough room in your home that each cat could have their own ‘territory’? Are there enough spaces where they could rest/hide independently of each other?
Do you have the time and resources to care for another cat – that includes things like veterinary expenses, food, toys, and free time to spend playing with both cats?
If you do decide to get another cat, the introduction between cats will need to be taken slowly and carefully.
It’s often easiest to introduce a kitten to your adult cat – in an ideal scenario, cats living together will have come from the same litter, or have spent time together since they were kittens. When this isn’t the case, adult cats can sometimes respond better to a new kitten probably because they are smaller, younger, and less dominant.
However, cats introduced as adults can also grow to have positive relationships – the key is a well-managed introduction and compatible cats.
Begin by having your new cat/kitten in a room away from your existing cat, and start familiarising each feline with the other’s scent. This can be done by rubbing a cloth on each cat and swapping the cloths so each can cat smell the other without a face-to-face meeting.
Over time, you can introduce them to each other for short periods of time, initially with a closed screen door or baby gate between them so that they can see, small and interact with each other but without the risk of being able to physically harm each other, gradually increasing the length until they’re acclimatised.
If your cat responds to the new cat or kitten with any aggression, you may need to consult your vet for more specific behavioral advice.
Remember, it’s important to make sure both cats are healthy when introduced, to avoid the spread of any viruses or other illnesses, and to make sure they have multiple litter trays (a minimum of two per cat), individual food and water bowls, and lots of different spaces in the house to rest and hide in.
Another cat is also not a replacement for time spent with you – you will still need to give each cat individual attention and play time, to ensure their wellbeing and enrichment.
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