Get two cats if no one is at home during the day

You’d like to get a cat. Temple Grandin says that people should definitely get two cats if they are going to be out all day and no one is at home. Another reason for keeping two cats is if a cat owner has little time to interact with her cat. This well known animal expert is very firm in her advice on this. Of course, a person who is that busy away from home should also consider not getting a cat or cats at all.

Cat Friends

Cat Friends

We know that the domestic cat has developed a sociable character over thousands of years of domestication. Most domestic cats need friends and companions in order to be content. The human is the first companion but, in lieu of the human, another cat is the answer.

The difficulty with the recommendation is that you have to get the right cats. Any random selected couple of cats might not work out and may make matters worse. A cat caretaker shouldn’t make the assumption that bringing in a new cat to an existing single cat household will bring instant success because the cats might not get along. It is more likely than not that they won’t. This is common sense stuff, but a lot of people seem to ignore this.

The obvious way to ensure that two cats get along from the outset is to adopt siblings as kittens or even adults. You are almost assured of a successful pairing under these circumstances.

Sibling kittens

Sibling kittens. Photo by crsan

An alternative is mother and offspring or some other other family relationship. A further alternative would be to adopt two cats who are already known to be friendly in a cat shelter. Failing that, I would have thought it would be possible to test the new relationship by introducing a new shelter cat to the existing cat on the proviso that if it does not work out the shelter will take the new cat back. I don’t know if shelters do this but I would have thought they would as they should be keen to ensure their cats are well placed.

Some cats will be alright alone all day because they’ll sleep out the day and then become active when the owner comes home. However, it is almost impossible to tell how accepting of the situation a cat is when left alone. It is difficult to see when a cat is stressed until, perhaps, a health issues surfaces such as cystitis.

There are hundreds of thousands of web pages on how to introduce a new cat to a household with an existing cat. It may be more sensible to plan well ahead when adopting a cat or cats. If at the beginning you can be sure that you would like to keep more than one cat and/or you are going to be away all day, it would make sense to adopt a sister and brother at the outset. That simple bit of planning removes all the complications of introducing a new cat.

If you get divorced, my current thinking is that both cats should go with one of the parties rather than splitting them up. That is not what I did, although I know cats far better these days. I was ambivalent about it, but I have changed my mind.

Even with the best introduction techniques, it may the case that two cats don’t ever really get along that well. They may tolerate each other but I think we can do better than that. Planning before adoption in respect of cat numbers, cost and facilities is an important part of cat ownership.

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Get two cats if no one is at home during the day — 3 Comments

  1. I totally agree with this we had Ozzie then when he was about 5 months old we got Alfie to keep him company whenwe were at work. Ozzie kept hitting Alfie on the top of his head to start with then in no time at all Ozzie adopted him. They used to snuggle up and Ozzie would wash him, the funny thing is Alfie would try to suckle Ozzie (even though he was already 10 weeks when we got him) and Ozzie would let him until he got too close to his tender bits then it was game over!! lol 🙂

    They are 4 and a half and 4 now and get on well most of the time with the odd fall out then all hell breaks loose! They don’t snuggle anymore because the are big boys now.

    Honey came to us 18 months ago with 4 beautiful kittens (the local CPL asked me to help out) I found homes for her kittens and although we didn’t really want another cat because we were worried the Alf/Oz balance would be upset (I believe there is a fragile balance in all cat households) we kept her anyway as no one would take her and because she is very sweet natured. She has never so much as spat at either Alfie or Ozzie never mind hurt them. So my fears never materialised; the balance was maintained they all get along really well and its Honey amd Ozzie that snuggle now and yes! they keep each other company when I’m at work 🙂

  2. Yes it’s far better to have 2 cats to keep each other company, our cats have always chosen us and we have always had a male and a female come along together as if planned.
    Until our present pair broke the sequence, after we rescued Walter we chose Jozef as 7 kittens needed homes quickly. Although he did actually choose us in a way when he toddled across to us from the basket of kittens.
    I always used to think one of each are more likely to get along than 2 males or 2 females but then when Popsy came into our lives she and Ebony became the best of friends very quickly.
    Now I know it’s more about purr-sonality than which sex they are.

  3. For smaller animals it is law in Switzerland that you must take them in pairs. I think its a very good idea. When I look at classifieds he for cats many of them are in pairs and single ones are requested to go only to homes with at least one other cat. There are of course a few ‘only cat’ requests for those cats who prefer no other cats.
    I think the best way to avoid traumatising a cat ever is to adopt it with a littermate. I believe Molly and Gigi have never had any kind of fear or trauma – they have always had eachother even when they moved here. It was my intention for them to have eachother to play with growing up and generally it means you have a happier fulfilled pair of cats. I’m sure lilly would have played with just one but not as much and its not the same. It makes so much sense to take two litter mates. Especially for those who work like I do and are away all day. People think it means more work but it might just mean the opposite if you think about it. Gigi and Molly still chase eachother around my place and wrestle and its a joy to watch them and I believe they are much better for it.

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