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Is It Better to Have Two Cats (or More)? Factors to Consider & Tips

Written by: Chris Dinesen Rogers

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

two ragdolls cats lying on the floor at home

Is It Better to Have Two Cats (or More)? Factors to Consider & Tips

Cats are some of the most misunderstood animals. Many ideas people have about them are anecdotal or based on folklore. We know that they are closer to their wild side, and many of their behaviors are instinctive, such as chasing mice. However, the image of the lone feline stalking prey at night is only partially true.

It applies to most species, including your pet’s ancestor, the African Wild Cat (Felis silvestris libyca). However, domestic cats can and do live together in social groups. The caveat is that there must be abundant food and other resources for it to work. Interestingly, they share this trait with another feline, the African Lion.

Whether it’s better to have more than one pet depends on the home, the individuals, and the attention you can provide. For example, if you work away from home during the week, it’s probably a good choice for the cat’s well-being. Basically, you can definitely have more than one cat at home, but you need to take a few things into account since it might stress out an individual who’s already mentally and physically stimulated and fulfilled.

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Feral Cat Populations

Feral cats are free-roaming domestic felines. The estimated population is about 32 million animals in the United States 1. They provide the basis for answering our question. Contrary to popular belief, these felines can form social groups despite being wild cats. They may have escaped from somewhere or never have been socialized. The factors governing these populations are also resource-dependent.

The takeaway is that domestic cats are capable of forming social groups without human intervention. Remember that even though they are predators, other animals, such as foxes, coyotes, and wolves, are higher on the food chain than them. Abundant resources also remove the driver of territorial conflicts. The next question is how this evidence translates into keeping cats at home.

two Seal Bicolour Ragdoll Cats sitting on scratching post/cat tree looking up
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Domestic Cats at Home

Roughly 68% of cat owners don’t let their pets outdoors. It’s the best choice for the animal’s health by limiting exposure to preventable threats, such as traffic, wildlife, parasites, and disease. However, we must still consider the individual cat.

Cats are capable of long-term memory. They can observe and learn. You can also train your pet. These details are significant because they support the need for mental stimulation and enrichment in their lives. Life in the wild is filled with challenges, and life as an indoor pet is pretty dull in comparison. That makes play vital for your cat’s mental well-being.

Separation Anxiety

People often think of dogs as being the ultimate companion. However, research shows cats can become just as attached to their caregivers as canines. Playtime isn’t only about burning off excess energy; it also involves bonding and trust-building. Pets used to this attention can develop separation anxiety if the situation suddenly changes. Signs of this behavior include the following:

  • Excessive vocalization
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Destructive behavior
  • Excessive grooming

Some opt to get a cat for a pet because they believe they are self-sufficient. While that’s true to a degree, they are also somewhat social animals, as we’ve shown. They thrive with the companionship they share with their caregivers. Therefore, if you can’t devote adequate time to your pet, a second or even third cat is an excellent choice to prevent these unwanted behaviors and improve their quality of life.

Pet ownership isn’t like having a toy you take out to play with once in a while; it’s a serious responsibility. You must provide a safe and happy home for your pets. That includes a healthy diet and enrichment for the animal’s mental well-being. Another pet in the home can help ensure your cat’s mental health needs are met with social interaction and plenty of playtime.

Two cats are lying on the floor. Gray cats are playing with a laser pointer.
Image Credit: Wanda_Lizm, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

The nature of our feline companions has evolved just like our relationship with our pets. Their ancestors were solitary because of the survival benefits of this lifestyle. The domestic cat is another story. Cats can be social animals when they don’t have too many environmental pressures like finding enough food, water, and shelter. However, felines sometimes readily form groups on their own, as we see in some feral cat populations.

We can come to the same conclusion with our pets. Cats must have mental stimulation for a good quality of life. If you can’t devote enough time to the task, a second or even a third kitty can ensure all get adequate enrichment to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Featured Image Credit: xixicatphotos, Shutterstock

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