Do Cats Need Other Cats for Company?

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It’s natural for caring owners to worry that their kitty might be lonely, especially if she is home alone all day. However, because every puss is different, taking your pet’s age, disposition and overall health into account can help you to make a more informed choice.

Two's Company

Kitties can “provide each other with exercise, social interaction and mental stimulation,” according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. If they get along together they will likely groom one another another’s coats and ears, including those spots behind the ears that are difficult to reach -- it’s the equivalent of getting a foot rub from your other half!

Making the Decision

Your pet’s behavior toward other felines is a helpful barometer of whether she will appreciate the company of another pet. If she hisses and growls at neighborhood felines, she’s probably happier with human company. Older pets who are unaccustomed to feline companionship might also prefer the status quo, particularly if they have health problems and need a calm, peaceful environment. Younger pets who show interest in other felines and are alone when you are out at work are more likely to enjoy the company of a furry friend.

Getting Acquainted

Your kitty is the No. 1 furry person in your life as far as he’s concerned, so bringing another furry pal into his home could seriously put his cute nose out of joint. Introducing them gradually increases the likelihood of a successful relationship. According to the ASPCA, it helps to begin by separating the established kitty from the newcomer, but ensure they can hear and smell one another. Let them see each other after a week or so and, if the fur doesn’t fly, allow them to spend time together. It’s best to supervise those tentative first meetings. You can make your resident pet feel more secure and minimize jealousy by making a fuss of him in the weeks after the newcomer arrives, and paying as little attention as possible to the new arrival when they are in the same room.

Feline behaviorist Anita Frazier suggests lavishing your pet with love and affection for at least a week preceding the newcomer’s arrival. “If you make a bit of a pest of yourself that’s all the better; it will help him to feel even more secure,” Frazier writes in her book, “The Natural Cat.”

The Compatibility Factor

It’s important to choose a friend who will complement puss’s personality, but don’t worry too much about finding a perfect match. Frazier suggests, for example, pairing a healthy but overweight pet with a playful kitten and matching a floor feline who perches under things with a high-flier who likes to hang out on shelves. An elderly or sick pet will benefit from the society of a mature and calm companion who is loving to other felines.

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