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Choosing A Second Cat

If you plan on getting two cats, get them at the same time if possible. If they know each other already – two kittens from the same litter, for example – that will make things much easier. If they’re strangers, they will take a little longer to settle down together. The same applies, of course, if you are introducing a new cat to an already established cat in the household.

Play fighting kittens

When meeting for the first time, cats are either aloof, nervous or aggressive. This phase soon passes, though.

It’s just as easy looking after two cats as it is looking after one. This is one of the great benefits of having such an independent pet. You’ll be filling two food bowls, but that’s about the only extra work involved.

It will double the money you have to spend, of course, with twice the food, twice the vet bills, and so on.

How Many Cats Is Too Many?

Many States and Counties set a limit on how many household pets you can have, so always check that first. For cats the number is often between three and five.

It’s certainly true that many owners get the cat bug. One a woman in California, for example, owns over 700 cats. Not many of us will go that far – and not many local authorities will allow it. But plenty of people have three or four cats.

If you live on a farm or smallholding, having a few cats around is common sense, given the inevitable rodent population that will seek you out. In a suburban house or city apartment, however, there’s less justification for a booming puss population. You are also likely to receive complaints from your neighbours if you keep lots of cats in a town or city.

They key thing is to make sure you can look after your pets, and can afford the added food and vet bills, giving them what they need in terms of comfort, stimulation, personal space, and lap time (if they’re that type of cat!)

A fighting cat is a stressed cat
A fighting cat is a stressed cat

If you have cats that fight, no one’s going to be happy. Fighting cats are stressed cats – and your own nerves will be shredded too. Cats are loners by nature, and they’re also territorial. If you have more than two cats, there’s every chance that you will have two separate groups - this may not be obvious to you unless you watch closely. Cats from the same self-imposed group will rub against each other and sit together, while the other - or others - will be ignored or chased away.

As a general rule, this isn’t going to work in a confined space. So always think twice before getting more cats – their happiness should always be your priority.

How To Choose Another Cat

Cats that live together need to be well matched. Temperament, age and gender all need considering – this will be a long relationship, and it’s important to get it right.

Two cats sleeping together one using the other as a pillow
Two cats - well-matched and happy

  • Temperament. Your pets need to be well matched in personality. If you have an aggressive one and a docile one, the docile one will suffer from bullying. They should have similar energy levels, and neither should be over-territorial: they will be sharing a confined space.

  • Age. The important detail here is energy. Younger cats have a lot more of it, and that might not mix well with the laid-back mature cat. Cats of the same age tend to be the best match. Having said that, older cats sometimes enjoy younger house friends, especially if they have spent most of their life with another cat. It can bring out maternal instincts in a female cat.

  • Gender. Cats of the same sex often fight for dominance. Their aim is to achieve the ‘alpha’ position. This will be less of an issue if the cats were acquired as kittens, as they will have sorted out the hierarchy in the course of growing up. Otherwise, it’s best to get a male and a female.

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Dahlia, 26 April 2021

I have a calico that's going to be 3 on my birthday may 25th she strong willed she's a leader and she does not like anyone that soft what kind of cat should I get she's a female there was a male here before which she used to play with but he passed away last year what do you suggest please help