When Two is Better than One
While we may pride
ourselves on how we pamper our animals with the
best of everything, we may be denying them what
they need most, the companionship of one of their
own species. Most feline behaviorists agree that
cats generally lead healthier, happier lives if
there is another feline in the household. Even if
the cats never become bosom buddies, just sharing
the house with another living creature while you
are away helps to break the monotony and loneliness.
Of course, if they become playmates, there is the
added benefit of exercise and entertainment that
is especially needed by kittens and young adult
cats. Many cases of playful aggression directed
toward the guardian as well as various forms of
household destruction can be prevented if the cat's
energies are focused on a playmate. Young males
(3-24 months) have an especially strong need for
a "buddy". While guardians of rambunctious young
males often hesitate to take on another cat, those
who take that "leap of faith" and get another young
male are generally delighted to see how much the
"boys" enjoy each other.
Choose the Companion
for Your Companion Carefully
When selecting a feline
companion for your resident cat, keep your cat's
personality and activity level in mind. If you are
too casual about this important decision, your house
may become a war zone. Consider the following guidelines
when choosing your next family member. Remember
that they are only guidelines and that there may
be exceptions to the rules.
. If you have
an adult female who has been an "only" cat for some
time, it is best to get a younger female. Males,
even friendly ones, can over-power and frighten
females. Male kittens, while more easily dominated
by the female, still grow up to be rambunctious
teenagers and engage in a style of play that involves
pounce and wrestle (not a female's idea of fun).
. If a young,
active male is your family companion animal, he
would really enjoy having a male buddy who shares
his enthusiasm for vigorous play.
. A laid-back,
older (neutered) male cat may enjoy "mothering"
a kitten - male or female. They usually make better
mothering substitutes than spayed females. Females,
in general, are less accepting of newcomers.
Males tend to bond
with each other, unless both have dominant personalities.
A dominant cat engages in a lot of rubbing - scent
marking - behavior, likes to rest in high places
(for surveillance purposes) and in doorways (to
control the entrance to certain rooms) and shows
little or no fear.
If you would like to
work with a Wisconsin Humane Society behaviorist
one-on-one regarding this behavior topic, please
call 414-431-6173 to schedule a consultation.