Should I Choose Two Cats from the Same Litter?

You've decided to bless your home with a feline but the question is: two cats or one? Adopting two cats has its benefits and its drawbacks. Here are some considerations:

Two Cats or One?

Cats, unlike dogs, don't crave packs. Imagine a cat at a cat park - they'd probably just ignore each other. Some cats do like the companionship another cat offers (especially when they're cold). Other cats prefer to be the only feline of the house.

Cat Breed Selection

When selecting a cat, the breed of a cat can make a difference in this decision. Aloof cats tend to be loners while friendly cats tend to welcome a companion.

Some Aloof, Introverted Breeds:

Some Outgoing, Friendly Breeds:

Age of Your Cats

Young cats or kittens are more likely to put up with a housemate than an older cat. Bringing them home together means there won't be a chance for one cat to declare himself ruler of the roost. However, though cats don't live in packs where one feline is the leader, sometimes one cat emerges as the alpha. These cats are natural leaders and are very demanding. They are likely to bully the other cat, at least until the other cat recognizes his place as a subordinate.

Comparing the Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits of One Cat:

  • Ease of assimilation: Bringing home one cat makes it much easier to assimilate him into your household, including other pets.
  • Expense: There is less expense with one cat, including food, toys, bedding, litter boxes, and health care.
  • Training: It is easier to train one cat to stay off furniture, use the litter box, etc.

Drawbacks Of One Cat:

  • Some cats get lonely: Consider how much time you have to spend with your cat. Will you be able to play with him everyday and cuddle him every night?
  • Behavior issues: Two cats are often better behaved than one, perhaps because they feel more secure.
  • Socialization: One cat households tend to have a less socialized pet.

Benefits Of Two Cats:

  • Company: Though cats aren't pack animals they do live in colonies in the wild.
  • The buddy system: Any change for a cat is stressful and having a buddy to help adjust to a new house is very helpful.
  • Indoor cats: It can be especially helpful to have cats in pairs if they are indoors. This helps them not to be bored or too isolated. As playmates, they keep each busy.

Drawbacks Of Two Cats:

  • Expense: More food, more litter boxes, more toys, higher vet bills.
  • Training: Cats often mimic behavior. If one cat is a bad cat who scratches your furniture and marks your bed, it's possible the other will follow suit.
  • Noise: There's likely more noise with two cats.

Choosing Cats from the Same Litter

  • If you decide that two is better than one, adopting two cats from the same litter can make things easier.

Benefits of Cats from the Same Litter:

  • Kittens: Kitten siblings have been socialized together and already worked on establishing a hierarchy. They've played together, tested each other's boundaries, and know when to stop in the inevitable kitten attack on each other. They've also slept together and should be very comfortable with each other.
  • Cats: Two cats who are siblings and are up for adoption have the same background. If they were house pets before, you'll see that behavior clearly. If they were junkyard cats together, they have a special bond of survival. They should be very attached to each other and you should have no problem with their integration with each other in their new home.

Drawbacks of Cats from the Same Litter:

  • Family squabbles: Sometimes siblings do not get along. They can even be hostile to each other.
  • Health issues: If you find a genetic disease or defect in one cat, the other probably has it as well. This is especially true if your cats come from a line of sibling in-breeding.
  • Behavior problems: Though cats from the same litter are by no means necessarily similar, there is the chance they'll both have personality issues such as aggression.

Cat selection can seem like an arduous process. Selecting two cats, even more so. But if you decide that adopting two cats is for you, selecting from the same litter definitely has its benefits.

Photo: Jurvetson