Single feline seeks friend? - Dr. Marty Becker

Single feline seeks friend?

Tuesday, Nov 8th, 2016 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Is it a good idea to get a second cat to keep the first one company? My daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker, and I teamed up to answer this question from a reader!

Q: I have a 3-year-old cat, and I’m wondering if I should get him a friend. I work all day, and I’m worried that maybe he gets lonely. Is getting a second cat a good idea?

A: Cats have a well-deserved reputation for being loners, but there are some exceptions. Lions, of course, live in groups called prides, and mountain lion researchers are discovering that these American big cats have more social interactions than was previously thought. Feral cats live in groups, but they have plenty of space to avoid each other if they prefer, and the option to leave the group entirely if they aren’t getting along with other cats.

It’s different for indoor cats. They are stuck with each other in a smaller space and may have “time-sharing” arrangements to facilitate use of particular areas without conflict.

Most cats are perfectly happy to live with only their person as company, especially if that’s what they’re used to. The addition of another cat definitely has the potential to create issues with personality and territory clashes. Experts usually recommend that if you want more than one cat, you should acquire two kittens, not necessarily from the same litter, so they grow up together and bond at an early age.

If you’d like to add a second cat, though, it can be done successfully. Your cat is still young enough that he may enjoy tussling with a kitten or accept the presence of a cat his own age or older. The following tips may help:

— Choose a cat with a laid-back temperament.

— Provide plenty of resources for both cats: multiple beds and food dishes, and duplicate toys, all placed throughout the house

— Have one litter box per cat, plus one extra, and place them in different areas.

Read more, including who gets the cat, dog or other animal if a relative dies or can no longer keep a pet, in this week’s Pet Connection!