CAT CARE INFORMATION
Why Kittens & Young Cats Should Be Adopted In Pairs
Kittens are curious and crave constant stimulation. A single, bored kitten will often entertain itself by chewing on plants, climbing drapes, climbing furniture, unrolling toilet paper, exploring electrical cords and sockets, etc. This is not to say that a kitten who lives with other kittens won’t also sometimes do these things, but if it has another kitten to tumble around and play with, it is less likely that it will need to entertain itself with behaviors like these, which are potentially destructive and can be dangerous for the kitten.
Kittens tend to be very active at night. A single kitten is likely to keep the owner awake with constant jumping, pouncing and other hunting behavior directed at any portion of the owner’s body that moves under the bed linens. With a companion to play with after the owner has gone to bed, this behavior is minimized as the two will occupy each other by finding interesting shadows to chase and games to play until they finally tire and fall asleep too.
Kittens want and need interaction with others of their own kind for healthy social development. A kitten learns a lot from its mother and litter mates in the first several months of life. Separating a kitten from its mother is often a necessity in order for it to be adopted, but taking it away from its litter mates and isolating it can delay the kitten’s development emotionally, socially and sometimes physically. Kittens who are able to remain with one of their litter ates or a similarly-aged companion tend to be healthier and happier and, in the long run, are better socialized pets than those who are isolated from others of their kind at an early age.
Provides Outlet For Aggressive Play
Anyone who has observed kittens knows they want to bite and wrestle with one another. This behavior is normal. You cannot prevent a kitten from doing what comes naturally any more than you can force a two-year-old toddler to sit still. Though it is not acceptable for a kitten to bite and wrestle with its human companions, in the absence of having a littermate or companion its own age to play with, this is precisely what a single kitten will want to do. Even if you are willing to allow (and can tolerate) this behavior from your kitten when it is small, by the time the animal matures, you will end up with an adult cat who has developed very bad habits (for example, biting and scratching as “play”).
Lessens Demands Upon The New Owner’s Time
A human, even a loving, caring human, is not an adequate substitute for a cat in lieu of one of its own kind. Even if the owner is fortunate enough to be home quite a bit, the amount of attention a lone kitten will demand is likely to occupy most of the owner’s waking hours at home. A pair of kittens will definitely still want to interact with the owner, but they can keep each other occupied while the owner is doing such necessary tasks as working, paying bills, conversing on the telephone, gardening, doing laundry, etc. Most cats, regardless of their age, are highly sociable and are truly happier living with other cat companions. This in turn makes them better pets, which results in happier owners. Adopting a single kitten or young cat is simply not a good idea. Trying to keep a single kitten occupied, stimulated, safe and happy while also going about the business of everyday life is much more of a challenge than it may seem upon first consideration.
Selecting The Appropriate Companion For Your Older Cat
If there is already an older cat in the household, a kitten should not be brought in as a lone companion. As mentioned above, a youngster has boundless energy, wants to play and run constantly, and requires very high amounts of interaction, all of which are likely to overwhelm and irritate an older cat in short order. Likewise, a kitten is apt to be frustrated that its companion does not have the same energy level as itself. This can lead to two unhappy cats. Behavior problems such as litter box avoidance or destructive scratching can occur if one or both cats act out their frustrations on their surroundings. It is possible that the two will never have a close, bonded relationship, even after the kitten matures, if their experiences with one another from the beginning of the relationship was negative. An older cat is better matched with one of his or her own age, who has a similar temperament
Adopt A Pair: A Happy Solution For Both The Cats And The New Owner
At Feline Network, our goal is to ensure that the cats adopted from our program are getting a home for life. Recognizing that even when a potential adopter has carefully thought through the decision to make the lifetime commitment of adopting a cat, bringing a new pet home inevitably creates big changes. Minimizing the factors that are likely to cause stress to an owner, both in the beginning and on an ongoing basis, is therefore the best thing we as volunteers can do to achieve that goal. With that in mind, Feline Network asks you to please think long and hard about forcing a kitten to become an only child. Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she created kittens in litters!