Is my cat lonely... and should I get another cat?
One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to cats is that they get lonely and need other cats for company.
Our pet cats have evolved from a solitary species, the African wildcat, and so are actually more suited to being the only cat in their home – they’re not keen on sharing!
Some cats do get along with each other but they will be a bonded pair and show certain behaviours, such as grooming each other, sleeping curled up together and play-fighting. This allows them to transfer their scent onto each other so they can identify the other cat as ‘safe’.
This pairing is something that each cat will have learnt through a slow and carefully planned introduction and it’s not guaranteed to last forever – any added stress can cause them to fall out later down the line. Even if they’re siblings, they may not be bonded for life!
If you’re thinking of adding a new feline to your family, it’s important to remember that even if your existing cat has got on well with another cat in the past, they will not necessarily be friendly with the new moggy you bring home.
Here are a few things you will need to consider before getting another cat.
1. Each cat will need their own resources, plus one extra
As cats don’t like to share, they’ll each need their own food bowl, water bowl, litter tray, scratch post and bed, plus a spare. So if you have two cats, you’ll need three of everything.
2. They should each have their own room too
Cats like to have their own territory so it’s a good idea to give each of them their own room with all of their resources in, so they have somewhere to retreat to when they want to be alone.
3. Be prepared to be patient
Getting two cats to like or even tolerate each other is often a slow process that can take weeks or even months. It’s important not to rush their introduction – it will all be worth it in the end when you have two happy cats.
4. Get a Feliway Friends diffuser
This handy device will fill your home with a synthetic version of the natural cat pheromone that encourages harmony between cats. Don’t worry, only your cats will be able to smell it!
5. They may never be best friends
Even with a careful introduction, your cats may never become best buddies who want to cuddle up together. They could decide to avoid each other and live in separate parts of the house, but so long as they aren’t stressed then it’s fine for them to have their own space.
6. Provide places to hide
If your cats do like to ‘ambush’ each other then make sure they have plenty of hiding places to retreat to – cardboard boxes or high shelves are ideal. Place these hidey holes along the route to the food bowl and litter tray so they won’t feel stressed when trying to eat or toilet.
If, after taking all of these points into consideration, you still have your heart set on getting another cat or kitten, you can watch our video for advice on how to plan a proper introduction.