Two Might Be Better Than One

A companion for a cat may help ease his loneliness and encourage him to exercise.

Q. I have a 2-year-old neutered cat. He lives strictly indoors, unless I take him out for walks on a leash. He loves to go outside and begs me to take him out.

Because I’m gone a lot, I was wondering if he would be happier with a playmate. He seems to just sleep a lot and I am wondering if he does that out of boredom. I am willing to get another kitten for him to play with if he would be happy to have one. Also should I get a female or male for a playmate?

A. It is always difficult to predict whether getting a friend is a good idea or not. Because your cat is young he will probably adapt to having another cat in the house more easily than if he were older. I do think that having two cats playing together is much better for both cats from an exercise standpoint. Like much of American society today, our feline companions are much too sedentary. Since 85 percent of the cats that I see in general practice are overweight (and about 15 percent of those are truly obese), I think that you should do anything that will promote fitness to keep your kitty healthy and fit. I do not think that it particularly matters whether you introduce a male or a female as long as they are young and spayed/neutered. Be sure to introduce them slowly as you can precipitate behavioral problems if either cat is stressed.

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