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Should I Get Another Kitten for My Cat? Things to Consider

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

woman holding a kitten

If you have a single-cat household, bringing home a kitten to give your cat a friend may be tempting. It’s a common misconception that cats get lonely and should have other cats to keep them company. Cats evolved from a solitary species, the African wildcat, and are happy to be alone.

Learn more about bringing home a kitten with a resident cat, what to consider, and some tips to ease the transition.

Does My Cat Need a Kitten?

While cats can and do live in the same household, sleeping together, eating together, and grooming each other, it’s just as common for cats to be intolerant of another cat outside their family group.

Adult cats are usually more accepting of a new kitten, however. Another adult cat may be perceived as a threat to your cat’s territory and resources, but a kitten is less intimidating and more likely to be viewed as something to be nurtured.

That said, conflicts can arise between adult cats and kittens as the kitten ages. Sex is less important than age and temperament. Pay attention to the temperament of the kitten you’re looking to bring home. Kittens that are hissing, growling, or fighting with littermates are more likely to add conflict to your home.

cat sitting on a carpet in a hotel room
Photo Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

Things to Consider When Getting a Second Cat

If you want to bring home a new kitten, it’s important to remember that even if your resident cat got along well with another cat in the past, that doesn’t mean they will appreciate just any new companion.

Here are a few things to consider:
  • Each cat will need their own resources, plus one extra. Cats are not known to share, so you will need food and water bowls, litter trays, scratching posts, beds, and toys for each cat, plus one extra.
  • Plan a neutral space. Cats like to have their own territory. If possible, give your cats separate spaces with their own resources to give them a chance to get away if they want to be alone.
  • Show patience. Getting two cats that tolerate each other can take a long time—even weeks or months. Don’t rush the introduction in hopes that they’ll become best friends overnight.
  • Accept that they may never bond. Even if you take introductions slowly and mitigate conflict, your cats may never become close and cuddly. If they can coexist and spend their time in their own space without stress, that’s perfectly fine.
  • Offer hiding places. Some cats are more confrontational. If your cat is the type to “ambush” other cats, offer hiding spots that your other cat can retreat to.

Is It Fair to Keep a Single Cat?

Cats can be solitary creatures. Most cats do well in single-cat homes as long as their needs are met. They need social interaction, physical exercise, mental stimulation, and playtime, all of which you and your family members can provide.

Keep in mind that getting a second cat means that you will still need to provide stimulation and enrichment. Your cats may bond and play together, but they will still want quality time with you and the family.

young cat owner playing with her pet at home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Conclusion

If you have an adult cat established in your home, think carefully before introducing another cat—even a kitten. Pay attention to your cat’s personality to determine if they would prefer to be an only cat. For cats that are fearful or aggressive toward other cats, such as feral neighborhood cats, bringing a new cat or kitten home may be a negative experience.


Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

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