Two weeks ago my friend Savannah wrote about the social needs (or non-needs) of cats and she hogged the whole Pet Column talking about how some adult cats thrive more with other cats in the house and some do not, blah blah blah. Well she didn’t let me share my opinion at all so I have hijacked the Second Chance office and am submitting this Pet Column so you can learn about the social needs of kittens – which are different from the adult cat.
Bottom line is that kittens need other kittens. Cat’s territorial nature doesn’t typically kick in until adulthood and kittens crave playmates. It is the way we learn social skills, by interacting and playing with each other. We especially bond with our littermates but, unlike adult cats, even if you adopt kittens from separate litters, we will likely become instant besties.
However there are always exceptions. Although kittens tend to be more socially flexible, just with any species, some individuals are born not being comfortable around strangers and, particularly kittens separated from littermates at an early age, often will prefer to not to socialize with other cats.
So what about matching an adult cat with a kitten? That also depends upon whether you have a cat-hating cat who must be solo or a lonely cat who wants a buddy? It may be difficult to tell, as your cat might be clingy and needy with her human but not necessarily do well with another cat around.
I recommend that, when choosing a feline companion for your cat, look for one that is a similar age, and therefore has a similar energy level. If you have an older cat, a kitten like me will torment and pester him with my high energy and antics. My job is to be playful and explore the world for things that move and need to be attacked. The older cat’s job is to take a nap. Not a good match (especially if your cat twitches it tail while napping).
Thus my suggestion, if you have an older nap loving cat and want to adopt a kitten, get two kittens (and save two lives!) so that they can play with each other and let the older aunt or uncle relax in peace. Otherwise, look for an older best friend for your adult cat.
In summary, cats do form very close bonds with each other and even adult cats can become close companions if introduced correctly. The best approach being to keep them separated at first so they can adjust to each other’s sounds and smells and give their brains time to hopefully decrease the neuroendocrine stress response. Also make sure each cat has its own food dish and litter area, and positive experiences should come with introductions, like treats.
So with all my advice, if you think your household is ready for some fun furry purry energy please come visit me, Flower, and all the other little kittens scampering around the Kitten Room here at Second Chance. I am a beautiful 3 month young Calico with a gentle and sweet personality who really enjoys playing with other kitties.