5 Signs Your Cat Wants Another Cat: How to Tell If They Need a Friend
Although cats have a reputation for being solitary and content on their own, they actually need social interaction as much as any other animal. However, cats can happily get all the interaction they want and need from their human family most of the time.
Getting a new cat can be a hit-or-miss process when you already have one. Some cats may never really enjoy another cat’s company, while others enjoy having a friend of their own kind and forming a close bond.
So, how are you able to tell if your cat is lonely and may be looking for another cat?
The 5 Signs Your Cat Wants Another Cat:
We love to be graced with the blessing of love and affection from our cats, right? But when we can’t walk anywhere without stepping on them, something may not be quite right. Excess attention-seeking behavior from your cat signifies that they are looking for more social interaction.
It’s okay if you can’t meet your cat’s high-maintenance social requirements! If your cat needs more attention and love than you have time to give them, then getting a second cat may be beneficial for your clingy kitty.
2. Odd Grooming Behaviors
All cat owners know just how important a cat’s image and hygiene are to them. So, if your cat appears to be scruffy and unkempt like they have given up on their appearance, they may be suffering from the stress or depression of being lonely.
Alternatively, over-grooming may also signal the same thing. Over-grooming can be a response to boredom or a form of self-soothing. However, it’s important to note that a big change in grooming habits can be a sign of medical issues, so a vet should rule out other causes.
3. General Signs of Stress
In addition to a change in grooming behaviors, you may also notice many other general signs of stress due to loneliness. This may include a change in appetite, either over or under-eating, extra low energy, strange vocalizations, or low moods.
Again, all these stress signs can be attributed to a range of other medical or psychological conditions, so seeing a vet can help to determine the cause. But, in conjunction with other signs on this list, the reason may well be needing a feline friend.
4. Negative Behavior
A lonely cat may have excess energy that can boil over to become a badly behaved cat. Poor behavior can include destructive behavior such as scratching furniture or soiling outside, aggression towards humans or other pets (like dogs) in the home or urinating outside the litterbox.
All these behaviors mean your cat is missing something in their life. In the absence of any apparent reasons, it could be a sign that they are feeling bored and lonely. Getting a second cat as a friend can help them redirect some of this energy into a positive relationship.
5. They Miss Their Old Friends
Many cat owners are reluctant to get a second cat because they are unsure if their current cat wants another cat around (hence, why you are here, right?) But, if your cat has lived with other cats before, then the sudden loss may cause them to be lonely. Examples include a young cat who has been recently separated from its littermates or the loss of a cat in a multicat household.
Cats will grieve their lost friends and family and may become stressed without the feline company they are so used to. You may find them becoming lethargic and depressed and wandering around the house searching for their friends. This is a clear sign they are looking for feline companionship.
Fostering a New Cat
Unfortunately, we cannot tell what our cats feel or want with certainty. Even with signs your cat wants another cat, it may not appreciate the introduction of a new cat into the home. Making the commitment to adopt a new cat is a big responsibility, so consider fostering if you are unsure how a new cat will mesh.
Fostering a cat from a shelter offers a chance for you to test out how a new cat will fit into your home with your existing cat without making any commitments. Additionally, fostering can help support your local shelter, particularly if they are short on space and recourses.
Getting a Second Cat
We can’t always give our cats everything they want (like a third serving of dinner). If your cat wants another cat, it doesn’t mean you should get one. A new cat means more responsibilities of a whole new life that depends on you. Only consider getting another cat if:
- You can afford one – Whatever your single cat costs you annually, double that! Cats have many regular expenses past their food, including vet visits, medications, and treatments. It’s irresponsible to get a pet you cannot financially care for.
- You have the space – Even cats that get along well need their own space. A small apartment may not be the best place to be keeping more than one cat as they will need places to be able to spend time alone.
- Your cat is healthy – Cats who are unwell are already going through a lot of stress. Adding a new cat to the household will add an extra layer of stress that can hinder your original cat’s recovery or even make them feel worse. Make sure your first cat is healthy enough to handle a newcomer.
The Multi-Cat Household
Cats are finicky and unpredictable creatures. Even the most relaxed cat who has enjoyed the company of many other cats in its life may meet a new cat and absolutely despise them. Keep in mind that when you bring a new cat into the home, they may never grow to be friends despite introducing them carefully . You simply must hope for the best and wait with bated breath to see if they will enjoy each other’s company.
To set the new friendship of two cats up for success, here are a few tips and tricks:
- Provide enough litter boxes. Cats are private creatures and do not like to share the same space for their “business.” Ensure there is a litterbox per cat available
- Feed them separately. Cats can display guarding behaviors or aggression around their food. It’s recommended to feed your cats in separate areas, so they do not have to visually see each other as they eat.
- Offer plenty of safe spaces and hideaways. Even social cats enjoy their time alone, so lots of beds, towers, and comfy spaces are much appreciated for multicat households. It also means that if they aren’t getting along, they are about to find places where they feel safe and secure.
- Desex your cats. Cats that have not been spayed or neutered often have a harder time getting along with other cats, particularly those of the same sex. Intact cats exude pheromones and hormones that add an extra layer of tension that’s not helpful when introducing two cats.
Getting a second cat is a big choice to make. Often cats can benefit from having another cat in the household as it offers more chances for social interaction, especially when you are not home to provide it.
Read your cat’s behavior to help you find out if they are lonely and looking for a feline companion and consider how a new cat will fit into your household. You can successfully bring a new cat into the home with lots of planning and care.
Featured Image Credit: Veera, Shutterstock