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.

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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