10 Reasons to adopt more than one kitten
Kittens love other kittens. A bold statement but we’ve found it to be true. Cats are family animals – they need the company of those in their family unit but are territorial towards ‘outsiders’. It’s a myth that cats are loners and don’t need company, although, of course, some prefer to be on their own (usually those that have been raised alone since kittenhood).
Unlike puppies (where adopting two simultaneously can be problematic), adopting two kittens is a great idea. No, it’s not because we want to home more kittens. It’s because it makes for happier cats and is actually less work for you. If you already have a playful cat-friendly cat, adopting one kitten is generally fine but we strongly advise people not only have one kitten all alone. Here’s why:
Around-the-clock playing is a crucial part of kitten development and they can’t wait until you’re in the mood. Having a ready playmate means they keep each other active, busy, and entertained which develops motor skills, problem solving, and socialisation. So, you’ll have cleverer kitties.
2.Observing and learning.
Growing kitties learn by observing each other. Your kittens will teach each other how to groom, use the litter box, climb, balance, and behave.
3.Having better boundaries.
Play aggression, e.g. biting and scratching, is natural in predator species like cats. Without friends to teach each other boundaries, this biting, scratching, kicking, etc. may end up directed at you.
4.Learning to speak ‘cat’.
By watching each other, kittens learn behaviour cues like when a bite is too hard, how to share space, how to communicate, best litter box techniques, how to ask another cat to play, etc. Single kittens often end up as adult cats that bite or scratch when you pet them because they just never learned that this isn’t ok. It also makes it easier to integrate new cats in future. Humans cannot teach cats how to speak cat – they must learn from other cats.
5.No double trouble.
Two kittens together are generally less trouble because they keep each other busy and work off pent-up energy. A single kitten may, out of boredom or loneliness, seek entertainment or energy outlets elsewhere, like clawing your couch.
6.It’s better for your old cat.
Kittens may irritate adult or senior felines, or make them hostile or anxious. If the kitten has a same-aged pal, they’ll leave the ‘old fogey’ in peace. This can make it easier for the older cat to accept the newcomers into its home, reducing fights later.
Cats love to snuggle with other cats but tend not to accept new ones once they’re grown up. Having two together means they always have a snuggle buddy and may be more likely to accept another one later.
Cats groom each other to signal affection, acceptance, and comfort, as well as to clean each other.
Cats are actually sociable animals…with those in their family unit. They get very lonely on their own (just look at feral cats – they live in colonies). BUT their early experiences teach them about socialising. Once they’re grown up, if they haven’t learnt to be with other cats, they’ll struggle to accept them. That means that, either you spend all your time with them or they will be in a state of frequent loneliness. Or you get another cat and your first one is constantly stressed. It’s better to raise them socially than try to force it later.
By keeping each other active, your kitty gets much-needed exercise. This is particularly important if your cats will be indoor-online felines and won’t have the great outdoors to work off their kibbles.
A big question people have about adopting more than one is cost. And, yes, it is a bit more expensive but, aside from the vaccinations, deworming, defleaing, etc. having two cats isn’t that much more. If you adopt, the ‘big-ticket items’ of sterilisation and microchipping should be covered by your fee, as will at least the first vaccination and deworming. Pet medical aids usually give a discount for more than one animal. Cats can share beds, scratch posts, catios, etc.
TIPS FOR ADOPTING TWO
- Ideally, they should be from the same litter but you can easily adopt kittens under 8 weeks from different places entirely. (Just make sure both have been vet-checked and quarantined so that you aren’t putting a healthy kitten with an unhealthy one.) If they’re older, you’ll need to introduce them more carefully – check out The Kitten Lady for how to introduce kittens that don’t know each other.
- Two males, or a male and a female tend to work better than two females. However, each cat is different. If you’re unsure, ask the animal welfare for assistance in choosing.
- One litterbox per cat. Cats don’t like to share toilets so make sure each one has a clean box in separate areas.
- Separate feeding. Some cats dislike eating close to other cats so give them some space.
- Don’t skimp on basic healthcare. Get all their kitten jabs done, and keep up with their recommended adult vaccination schedule. It may seem pricey but, if you skip them and one of your cats gets sick, they’ll both get it – leaving you with steep vet bills.
- Get medical aid. These days, having pet medical aid is a must to cover emergencies and illness, which can be pricey to treat. Get quotes from different pet medical aid companies for the best price, and look for those that offer discounted rates for a second animal. If you don’t want medical aid, set aside a certain amount every month for veterinary care or have a separate credit card only for pet emergencies.
© Copyright reserved Jennifer Davies 2021