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.
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.
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.