Two Are Better Than One

CatChannel behavior expert Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, explains why it's a good idea to bring two kittens into a home.

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Q: My friends have rescued a cat and her six kittens. They are now 7 weeks old, and I will be adopting one soon. I don’t have any other cats. Would it be better to get two kittens instead of just one? I have heard that the cats will be less troublesome if they have another to play with while I’m at work. I’ve also heard that since cats are social creatures, it would be best to have more than one. And, I do feel guilty about separating him from his family.

A: You are correct that cats are social animals. Your new kitten will thank you for adopting one of his siblings. Bringing in a bonded pair is the best solution for fighting the boredom blues when cats are left alone. As you know, kittens are full of energy and trouble. Since you have to go to work everyday, it is impossible for you to be a full-time playmate. Adopting a sibling will also help socialize both kittens.

Cats do best when left with their mom and siblings until they are 12 weeks old. They learn important social skills as well as boundaries from their cat family. Many of the aggression cases I consult on concern cats that were pulled from their families before 12 weeks of age. If possible, please try to wait until the kittens are older before separating them from their mom and siblings.

Provide plenty of activities for the kittens while you are at work. If you don’t, they will choose hobbies that you probably won’t be pleased with. Interactive toys, such as puzzle boxes are always entertaining. Treat balls that contain delicious treats are fun for kittens and cats. Provide bags and boxes for the kittens to hide in. Just make sure that the toys are kitten/cat safe. Cut handles off of bags, and put plastic bags out of the kittens' reach. Toys should not have eyes or noses or other parts that can be easily chewed off and swallowed. I don’t recommend toys with tinsel types of material because if a piece is swallowed, it can cut the intestines. Watch out for toys with string. They are wonderful and fun for kittens and cats, but don’t leave them out when you aren’t home. Another activity that will keep the kittens busy while you’re away is a video or DVD made especially for cats. These tapes are full of animals running around, birds flying and fish swimming. Some cats are occupied for hours at a time, entranced by the activities and noises.

Have fun with your two little kittens!

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Reader Comments

john    chenoa, IL

7/7/2011 3:13:57 PM

I adopted a brother and sister from the Humane Society 18 months ago after the passing of my old and dearly beloved cat, and I have not regretted the decision. They are active, and loving kids and the keep my wife company when I am at work, and they are glad to see me when I get home. I would recommend two cats whether or not they are siblings.

Christina    Millbrook, AL

1/4/2008 11:44:47 PM

I agreed that two are better than one! Last year, my husband and I decided to get a kitten because we live in a small apartment in a rural community. We knew a dog would be miserable inside a small apartment with little room to run and play unleashed. A cat was much more suited to free roaming of our country setting and was more suited for small indoor spaces. Our neighbor had some kittens they were giving away so we decided to get one and named him Koal. After 4 days of hearing him walk through the apartment nearly moaning from the separation, we couldn't take it any longer. Our neighbor still had one kitten left and was about to take him to the local animal shelter when I asked if we could have him as a playmate for Koal. We named him Luckie and the two brothers have been inseparable! If one cat comes in and the other one doesn't, they will sit on each side of the door and meow until someone lets the other one in. The sleep curled up together, play together, and get into trouble together. They are precious!

Tori    A.G., CA

1/2/2008 4:35:41 PM

This is great advice! The DVD is a cool idea, I'll have to try it, because my cats already love to watch anything on T.V. with me.

kino    spring valley, CA

1/2/2008 2:20:14 PM

thanks for sharing

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