By Julia Williams
“One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” When the rock band Three Dog Night belted out this memorable line in 1969, they weren’t singing about having an “only cat” versus a multi-cat household. Even so, it’s appropriate. When it comes to cats, one really is the loneliest number, and two can be so much nicer.
Many people mistakenly believe that cats are loners who prefer not to be around other cats. Sometimes this is true, but generally most cats actually like socializing and living with their own kind. Cats can and do form tight bonds with their feline housemates, and adopting two cats offers some pawsome benefits besides – not only to the cats, but to the humans as well!
Here are six reasons why having two cats is better than one.
Can you imagine how boring life would be if you were alone for most of your day, with no one to talk to, cuddle with or just “hang out” with? Even the most introverted among us would have to admit that they like to be around other people at least some of the time, right? It’s not that much different for cats. Oh sure, a housecat has at least one human who comes and goes and gives them attention; that’s all well and good, but it’s just not the same as having another cat companion around all the time.
I pet sit for a friend whose cat isn’t exactly what you’d call a “people cat.” She loves her human mom to bits but mostly just tolerates other people. She doesn’t engage with me the first few days I come to feed her, but by day four she is all over me. It’s quite clear she is lonely as heck. If you work long hours, travel a lot or are always out doing things, having two cats can help to make your absence less acute. Two cats can keep each other company while you are away, and they’ll be less likely to feel ignored, stressed or sad that you aren’t there with them.
Most cats don’t require as much physical exercise as dogs do. This doesn’t mean that they don’t need any exercise though. One of the biggest health concerns for cats is excess weight, and exercise helps them stay physically healthy as well as mentally sharp. When you have two cats, they help each other burn off energy by chasing each other around the house, engaging in play fights and just generally being more active than they would be if left alone all day. Plus, you know how one little kid sees another kid playing with a toy and they just HAVE to get that toy to play with it? Cats will do that too! Adopting two cats gives each of them a live-in playmate.
A cat that is left alone a lot with little mental or physical stimulation can become bored, which can lead to mischief. You might think that two cats would increase the chance for mischief making, but two does not always mean double trouble. Two cats can keep each other company and are actually less likely to engage in naughty behavior simply because they aren’t as lonely and bored.
Save Two Lives!
I dream of a day when there isn’t massive overcrowding at animal shelters. As it stands today, many shelters are at full capacity year-round and just don’t have the space for all of the homeless cats that need a forever home. Adopting two cats is doubly rewarding because you’ll be saving two lives instead of one. And you’ll be making space in the shelter for two more needy kitties to find their own warm, loving home and a chance for happiness.
Friends for Life
If you can adopt two kittens at one time, the probability is high that they will be lifelong friends. Shelters may have bonded pairs of adult cats available for adoption as well; these are often cats who grew up together but through unfortunate circumstances ended up homeless. It’s so heartwarming to see two bonded cats grooming each other, playing together or curled up in the same cat bed.
Having two cats increases the love that you can give and receive, and there is no such thing as having too much love in your life!
Although most cats will happily live with other felines, there is no guarantee that any two individual cats will be fast friends. People have unique personalities, quirks and behaviors and we don’t always get along with certain types. By and large, the same is true for cats. My article, How to Keep the Peace in a Multi-Cat Household, offers tips for increasing the odds that two cats will get along.