Cat experts...one cat or two? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 04:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm thinking of adding a feline member to our family.

 

I had cats as a child/teen and cared for a few fosters before i had DD1 so i'm not totally inexperienced.

 

But, i'm wondering, should we get 1 cat or 2?  As a kid my parents always

 

Got 2 litter mates together.

 

Kept them indoors for the first 6 months.

 

Began to let them explore the garden from 6 months, after they had been spayed/neutered.  Of our 4 cats i had through childhood 1 was killed by a dog (aged 8), one was "taken in" by another family (they fed her every day, thinking she was stray, though she had a collar on(!) then moved house and took her with them), one died of leptospirosis (aged 7) and one died of old age (aged 15).  The two we got when i was 7 (those 2 were killed by the dog and died of old age) were from a litter of 8 and all the others were let out as kittens and got killed on the road.

 

I don't think they ever explained why they always got 2.  I think they felt having 2 meant the cats could rely on one another for company (rather than having to rely on humans in a family with kids who needed focus from the adults and might not be the first choice for a cat in looking for company).

 

So is it better to get 2 together, or just one?

 

 

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#2 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 04:38 AM
 
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I'm interested in this question too. I always had single cats growing up and they didn't seem to suffer for it. DH and I adopted a pair of adult brothers and while it was sweet to see their interactions, they fought a LOT too and it was sometimes really disruptive. The worst was that one of them had to go to the vet every so often with a UTI and when he came back his brother would relentlessly attack him because he smelled wrong. So on top of caring for a sick pet, we had to separate him from the other one.

 

We may never get another cat now that DH has realized how allergic he is (his hayfever was WAY worse when we had the cats and improved now that they are gone.) But if we do I'm leaning towards one, unless convinced otherwise.


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#3 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 05:10 AM
 
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I have found an interesting website with articles concerning children and cat education. Click here!

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#4 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 05:59 AM
 
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A lot of rescues won't even allow you to adopt a single cat, especially kittens, because cats apparently really need the companionship. I was also always raised with single cats. But we also usually had a dog at the same time. Of course, the cats I grew up came with from back in the day when you bought your pet at a pet store, so the environment was entirely different. 

 

For one thing, I would only ever have indoor-only cats. And if I did get cats, I would probably get two, but not necessarily littermates. 

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#5 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

A lot of rescues won't even allow you to adopt a single cat, especially kittens, because cats apparently really need the companionship. I was also always raised with single cats. But we also usually had a dog at the same time. Of course, the cats I grew up came with from back in the day when you bought your pet at a pet store, so the environment was entirely different. 

 

For one thing, I would only ever have indoor-only cats. And if I did get cats, I would probably get two, but not necessarily littermates. 


waaaah?

I have never heard of a rescue demanding you adopt TWO adult cats (or kittens but that is at least more doable for that matter) they have a hard enough time adopting out cats as it is without insisting you take 2... I don't think that is accurate at all..

Cats are solitary animals, highly protective of their territory. 

If you do get 2 and they aren't littermates do yourself a favor and get a male and female, less fighting generally..

 

Cats don't need another cat to be happy but if you are busy it is nice for them to have the interaction. You could get one and then eventually add another, thats how we ended up with 2 kitties.

 

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#6 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 06:39 AM
 
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I'm not a "cat expert" by any means, but we've had both solitary and multiple cats.  Of the multiples, we've had both litter-mates and unrelated ones.  I haven't really noticed a difference between how they interacted with each other, but of course, a lot of that could be individual personality.  Now, the cat we have now is our only cat.  She is highly social.  I never really considered whether cats should be in pairs or not, but this one might benefit from another cat.  She is indoor-"only," meaning that we try to keep her indoors, but she has snuck out about three or four times, and each time she has hung out in the yard with the same stray/outdoor cat.  And when she wants to come in, the other cat drops Ginger off and our door and moves on.  Odd.  I guess they're friends.  I always thought that two cats outside equals an automatic cat fight.  But...we need another pet like we need a hole in our heads.

 

When we adopted Ginger there were several pairs of cats at the shelter who were bonded and would only be adopted as a pair.  I always feel bad for those cats, thinking that their chances of adoption are lower because they're a two-fer.  You could always go that route if you want two now, or are thinking of adding another later.  I think it would be easier to get a pair than try to introduce two strangers.


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#7 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 06:42 AM
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if you do introduce two that don't know each other a cat harness and leash can be priceless on at least one of them.

Also accept that they should ideally be physically separated from each other but able to see each other for a while to get used to the idea of another cat being around. Don't be surprised if there is still some fighting. Totally normal, you just need to monitor it really closely to watch for when it crosses the line from feeling each other out to an actual brawl.

 

yeah I've seen bonded animals only adopted out together but never ever a blanket policy that you must take 2...I don't think any would ever get adopted out that way!

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#8 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 06:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

A lot of rescues won't even allow you to adopt a single cat, especially kittens, because cats apparently really need the companionship.



Sorry, I had to laugh because you made me remember just how clear the shelter manager was when he explained that if we adopted this cat she would always have to be a solitary cat.  She had expressed her personal preference fairly forcefully during her stay there.  She loves humans, but has no patience for other cats.  I'm not saying all cats are solitary, I've encountered lots of pairs and groups who seem happy together, but this one sure is.

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#9 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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waaaah?

I have never heard of a rescue demanding you adopt TWO adult cats (or kittens but that is at least more doable for that matter) they have a hard enough time adopting out cats as it is without insisting you take 2... I don't think that is accurate at all..

Cats are solitary animals, highly protective of their territory. 

If you do get 2 and they aren't littermates do yourself a favor and get a male and female, less fighting generally..

 

Cats don't need another cat to be happy but if you are busy it is nice for them to have the interaction. You could get one and then eventually add another, thats how we ended up with 2 kitties.

 


Eh. We don't have a cat now, we did, and then we had to put her to sleep and we were looking to adopt another. And that's what we encountered, at multiple rescues. It was in the DC area. 

 

We got a dog instead, and we're now very much 'dog people' and I don't expect we'll have a cat again, at least not anytime soon. 

 

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#10 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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The only advantage I can see for getting two cats over one is a cure for boredom. I moved in with a friend a few years ago and my mom's farm cat had kittens right before, so we each took one. She ended up moving out after about 6 months and after she left with her cat, mine became very destructive because he was so bored during the day when I was at class or work. If the cats you're looking at adopting are older and have been around other cats for some time, I would say get two to save your home and possessions from chewing and clawing. When I moved in with my boyfriend(now DH), he had a cat and the destructiveness stopped because my cat had someone to play with again and it hasn't been a problem since. I also grew up with a solitary cat and she did just fine on her own, but she was also a cat who really preferred to do her own thing and didn't really have patience for other pets, cats included. She actually came to us because my mom's friend had her and another cat and my cat was being really mean to her other cat. I guess she figured my mom would like a mean, bitchy cat? I guess what I'm saying with all of this is, it depends on the cat. A cat who is used to being alone will probably prefer to keep it that way, but a cat who has spent a lot of time around other cats will probably need a playmate.


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#11 of 22 Old 05-13-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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I agree that cats do fine alone, especially when they gets lots of loving from their people.  Personality is the biggest factor.  I think many people don't realize that cats have personalities, sometimes strong ones, just like dogs.

 

We had a single Siamese that was a maniac.  The solution was to get him a friend.  We added a female kitchen (same breed) to the house.  We added a kitten and specifically a female based on advice from a "crazy" cat lady and it worked out great.  (fyi, both were fixed)

 

Keeping cats seperated from a number of days is a great ideas.  Ours were absolutely desperate to have physical contact after a week of hissing at each other via the gap underneath the door.

 

Like doors, cats can have a pecking order.  Our other (by one year) male was definately the alpha male.   They were extremely bonded to each other.


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#12 of 22 Old 05-16-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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We started with one cat.  She did great alone, but *I* wanted another cat.  We ended up adopting two 7 month old sibling kittens from a rescue.  They just turned a year old yesterday.  heartbeat.gif  The siblings love each other a lot, cuddle together and clean each other all the time.  They never fight.  Our first cat, who is 3 years old, I would still consider a solitary cat.  She really doesn't want anything to do with the other cats, and spends most of her time alone or with us.  They don't fight, but she hisses at them if they come near her.  If I were to do it over again, I would get two sibling cats from the beginning.  At least our cats love the companionship.  There are interactions between two cats that they can't get from us.  Particularly if both adults work outside of the home all day long, they need someone there to interact with.  If you were a cat and the only interaction you got was a couple hours, maybe, at night, wouldn't you want company also?  


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#13 of 22 Old 05-16-2011, 04:03 PM
 
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I have had solitary cats who did fine.  I brought a new kitten in to a household with an adult cat, and it was fine.  I brought in a 3rd cat last year, and it was fine.  It just takes a period of adjustment.

 

My mother adopted two litter-mates from the shelter several years ago, and one died this winter.  After a period of mourning she adopted another shelter cat, and they played and cuddled together from the beginning.  The cat we had when I was a child lived as a solitary cat for 21 years, and he didn't seem to suffer any for it.

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#14 of 22 Old 05-16-2011, 04:59 PM
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We started with one cat.  She did great alone, but *I* wanted another cat.  We ended up adopting two 7 month old sibling kittens from a rescue.  They just turned a year old yesterday.  heartbeat.gif  The siblings love each other a lot, cuddle together and clean each other all the time.  They never fight.  Our first cat, who is 3 years old, I would still consider a solitary cat.  She really doesn't want anything to do with the other cats, and spends most of her time alone or with us.  They don't fight, but she hisses at them if they come near her.  If I were to do it over again, I would get two sibling cats from the beginning.  At least our cats love the companionship.  There are interactions between two cats that they can't get from us.  Particularly if both adults work outside of the home all day long, they need someone there to interact with.  If you were a cat and the only interaction you got was a couple hours, maybe, at night, wouldn't you want company also?  

the answer for a lot of cats is simply no.

Cats are not social by nature. Left to their own feral devices they would be solitary except for mating.
 

 

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#15 of 22 Old 05-17-2011, 06:06 PM
 
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My advice is to adopt only one now and then adopt another later if it seems right. There is no reason that the cats need to be littermates.

It would be harder to get two cats and decide one would be better and have to re-home a cat.

 

I have had 1 cat, 2 cats, 7 cats and 3 cats at a time.

One cat was awesome. Lots of human-cat bonding. The cat wasn't lonely or unhappy. The cat fit very well into our lifestyle and home.

Two cats was okay. They were not litter mates or the same age. One was an adult and the other was a kitten and we got them at different times. They still got along well.

Seven cats was chaos- not much human bonding going on. They were fun to watch but not fun being swarmed. I think they would have been calmer if there were just one or two cats.

Three cats is a bit too much for me to interact as much as I would like. They compete for attention all the time and I only have two hands.


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#16 of 22 Old 05-17-2011, 09:49 PM
 
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I would say go with what you are comfortable with handling at the moment.  Growing up, I had multiple cats at one time.  I never had any issues with them.  I currently only have one indoor cat and she is perfectly content to receive all my attention and not share it with another cat.  I'm pretty sure if I tried to introduce another cat or kitten into the house, she would flip!


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#17 of 22 Old 05-21-2011, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The thing is, i'm not sure that 2 cats is THAT much more work than 1, you know?  Like, one cat will need a litter tray cleaning every day, one cat will need feeding, watering and a catflap installing.  Another cat seems to me to make so little difference it's almost a "might as well" sort of thing.  I'm a SAHM so the cat (if i got one alone) would have a reasonable amount of company BUT i constantly have kids about me, so for that reason i wonder if 2 would be better, so they can cuddle up.  Plus i just like the idea of 2 cats for some reason.

 

Also FWIW, as regards feral cats living solitary lives except when mating, i have lived in several crofts and the farm cats do all live together, even when there's plenty of space for them to not do so.  At one point we had a truly wild Tom, and his 5 feral but domestic queens and all their mixed kittens went with him, even though they fought a bunch over stuff, wherever he went.  Do they perhaps live more like lions?  Or tigers?  Every now and then you'd get one born who wanted nothing to do with the rest, and went off to live in the hills (there was an abundance of wild food out there for a half-wildcat to hunt) but more often than not they stayed with the Tom.  I must add, we only fed the suckling females during the summer, though we put down food for all of them from November through to March. 

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#18 of 22 Old 05-21-2011, 07:24 AM
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From what I've read, feral cats ARE solitary creatures. They get together to mate and then mothers rear the kittens, but they all go separate ways eventually.

 

Thing is, cats in contact with humans do not develop in the same manner....especially when they are cared for continually since kittenhood. They never really stop being kittens. For example, it's my understanding that feral cats do not play. Play is something kittens (and other young animals) do to train for adulthood. Pet cats play. They also may like company to feel like their "litter" is complete.

 

I've had many cats in my life, and they have all enjoyed the company of other cats. They do squabble on occasion, but heck, so do the members of my human family. My middle cat is 6yo and is a much happier cat since we got the young one, who is now about 1.5yo. Our old cat is 15 and sort of crippled, so she's not much for playing or socializing other than being petted. My middle cat was originally feral but spent several months in a shelter, and nobody ever really taught him how to be a cat. The kitten lit up his life.

 

Here is a picture of him giving baby a bath while baby plays with his feet. They are BFFs. :)

 

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#19 of 22 Old 05-21-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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Our last kitty not only wouldn't allow another cat to be introduced to our home, but flipped out when a dog was in our home for a time and peed on EVERYTHING til the dog was gone and we got it all cleaned with natures miracle.  She was an ONLY pet.  She was a loving and sweet kitty but hated other cats and hated other dogs even more.

 

Depending on the cat you get, you might not even have a choice about whether you have 1 or 2.

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#20 of 22 Old 05-24-2011, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well i've talked to DP and it seems he's worried "they will stink and i'll have to get rid of them" and i was like "there will be no getting rid of them" and he (has never had a cat) re-iterated how it concerned him that they would stink and how to deal with that.  He cited a mutual friend's mother as the source of his worry.  She had 7 cats, did not empty their litter tray, and borderline neglected them.  I pointed this out but he still seems concerned about it.

 

Since the first six months at least (until they are spayed/neutered) they will need to be indoors, and will thus need a litter tray, and i wouldn't be able to clean it out myself if i was pregnant (although i'm POSITIVE i've had toxi by now), i'm now thinking i'll abandon the subject until our third and likely last baby has been conceived and born and grown a little.  As things stand i cannot promise i will always be able to do the needful as regards their care, though i will admit i resent the implication that i won't look after them (!? i'm a bloody grown woman!) and he'll end up having to do it/re-home them!

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#21 of 22 Old 05-24-2011, 07:45 AM
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Cats do not stink. Dirty cat litter stinks. If you keep the box clean, you will have no problem. My friend has five cats, PLUS she fosters cats that the shelter has no room for. Very seldom does it ever smell like cat in her house....usually if it does, it's 95 degrees and humid out. 99% of the time, you would not know she has cats.

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#22 of 22 Old 05-24-2011, 08:00 AM
 
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I'm really just going to end up echoing other PP's.

 

One cat is likely to be fine by itself, especially if other people are home to interact with.  If that isn't the case most of the time it might be a good idea to get 2 (you can always get one and see how they do by themselves - we didn't get our second cat until 6 months after our first, I started working full-time in that period and we could tell our cat was lonely and thought he'd appreciate a companion.  He ended up getting somewhat more aggressive with me like he was trying to cat-play and would do stuff like try to crawl up on my shoulder when I got home needing attention badly).  

 

Only 2 cats and people who change and clean the litter box will not mean your house smells like cat pee.   There are great litters and boxes that reduce the smell.  

 

(Maybe let your dh choose one of the cats, or find one that's attached to him, that helped the whole getting/having cat thing for us - one of ours is very dh's cat winky.gif).

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