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How to Tell If Cats Are Bonded: 6 Vet-Reviewed Signs to Look For

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

two ragdolls cats lying on the floor at home

How to Tell If Cats Are Bonded: 6 Vet-Reviewed Signs to Look For


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There is no doubt that cats are mystical creatures that often march to the beat of their own drum. Some felines prefer to be left completely alone, even shunning their humans, while others enjoy the pleasure of their owners’ company. Having two cats can be even more interesting, depending on their individual personalities. They may get along, or they may absolutely despise one another.

As time goes on, you may notice a few changes in the behavior of your two cats, but does it mean they have bonded? If so, how can you tell? Read on to discover the six ways that you can tell whether your cats have bonded.


Don’t Rush It

Suppose that you already have one cat and are thinking of adding another. Don’t hold your breath if you’re expecting the two cats to get along right out of the gate. As we’ve already stated, cats are mystical creatures, and some prefer to be alone. You may get lucky, though, and adding a new cat may become one of the best ideas you’ve had in ages.

Realistically, that’s probably not going to be the case initially, but that doesn’t mean the two cats won’t bond and become best friends over time. When introducing a new cat, we advise you to do it slowly. Don’t expect too much at once because there will be—more than likely—snarls, hisses, growls, staredowns, and even slaps at first. Don’t try to pressure the cats to hang together. Instead, let time dictate if and when the two cats will become friends.

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The 6 Signs to Tell If Cats Are Bonded

1. They Play Together

If your cats are playing together and it’s not in an aggressive way, this is a sign that your cats have bonded. Sometimes when cats play, it can seem a little rough, and if growls and hisses last a long time or become violent, you’ll need to separate the two.

If you have to separate them, don’t stick your arm or hand in between them because you could get injured. Instead, drop something on the floor to distract them so you can divide them up and away from each other.

They may fight, but if they do, it will hopefully only be brief and playful. Cats usually fight over things like food, litter boxes, and beds, and if this happens, it’s totally normal. Remember that bonded cats may fight like siblings, and it’s normal as long as it’s brief. Pay attention to their body language and separate them if need be.

cats playing II_Gundula Vogel_Pixabay
Image by: Gundula Vogel, Pixabay

2. They Snuggle Together

When cats sleep or nap together, that means they are cozy and content. Better yet, they might have bonded. In the wild, bonded cats will sleep together for safety reasons against predators or keep each other warm in cold climates. When cats sleep together, that means they trust one another, and that’s a sure sign of bonding. If you can do it quietly, snap a photo and capture the cuteness.

3. They Groom Each Other

A sure sign that your cats have bonded is if they groom each other. Grooming can be a display of affection, and sometimes they can help each other out by grooming hard-to-reach areas for the other cat.

There may be times when your cats allogroom, which means one cat grooms the other in a dominant role or to establish social ranking. If only one cat grooms the other, do not be alarmed because it just means the grooming cat has accepted the other.

bengal cat licking each other
Image by: Ilona Koeleman, Shutterstock

4. They Vocalize or Call Out for Each Other

Some cats are more vocal than others, but bonded cats may call out for each other if separated or if one is injured. They may vocalize when they greet each other, but usually, cats vocalize with their humans more so than with each other. Still, that doesn’t mean it never happens.

Purring is also common among bonded cats. Remember that if hissing or yowling is the vocalization, though, this means aggression, anger, or fear.

5. Their Tails Touch

It’s a beautiful sight to see your cats snuggled up together, but if you happen to see their tails touching or intertwined, well, that’s special! When their tails touch, this means they are comfortable and content with each other. Cats do not usually like their tails touched by humans because they are sensitive, so when they allow their tails to touch each other, it means a true bond and trusting companionship.

two cats bonded, walking together, touching tails, positive interactions
Image by: Oleg Shishkunov, Shutterstock

6. They Rub Their Faces and Bodies Together

Cats have scent glands on various parts of their bodies, such as the cheeks, paws, heads, and their little butts. The scent glands release pheromones, which are chemical signals that provide communication.

When cats rub their faces and bodies together, they are signaling that they are comfortable and familiar with their surroundings. Have you ever wondered why cats rub against your legs? The reason is that they are saying you are theirs and no one else’s.

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Don’t Separate Bonded Cats

When searching for a cat to adopt or rescue, it’s important to know that if you spot a cute little cat that you know is a match for you, but the cat has bonded with another cat in the rescue or shelter, be prepared to take them both home or not at all. Separating bonded cats could be traumatizing for the pair, leading to anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems.

When you take the bonded cats together, they will be much happier. They also won’t be as lonely or sad when you’re not home. Your cats will transition better to the new surroundings when they can stay together, and you definitely do not want to end the special relationship between the two.

two white cats rub faces on the grass, bonding, positive associations
Image Credit: Piqsels

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Watching bonded cats nap together, sleep together, groom each other, and play means some of the cutest sights you’ll ever see. Bonded cats have something special, and you’ll never want to split them up.

If you’re on the hunt for a cat and spot one that’s bonded with another, don’t take one without the other because it will break their little hearts. They will be good company for one another when you’re away, and they both will adapt much quicker to you and your home.

Featured Image Credit: xixicatphotos, Shutterstock

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