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Will a Second Cat Help with Separation Anxiety? Vet Reviewed Facts

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on March 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

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Will a Second Cat Help with Separation Anxiety? Vet Reviewed Facts


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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Cats can get lonely and bored when left alone for long periods, which can lead to destructive behaviors. Separation anxiety in cats can include destructive behaviors, but if your cat has a feline friend to play with, it could help diminish the unwanted behaviors. So, will a second cat help with separation anxiety? The answer is that it depends on your cat.

Let’s explore this topic to find out if adding a second cat to your tribe would be beneficial or not.

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Should I Get Another Cat?

Cats are instinctively territorial, and adding another cat may take time for your pet to get used to, especially if your current cat has been the sole feline in the household for a long time. However, that doesn’t mean your cat will not eventually accept the new cat in time. Cats that are more affectionate with their owners may be more accepting of another cat sooner than a cat that prefers being alone.

On the other hand, if your cat is more independent and doesn’t have separation anxiety, you probably do not need another cat in the first place unless you want one for other reasons. Cat owners must consider the costs before committing to adding another cat. You must double your expenses for everything, from litter boxes and cat food to veterinary expenses.

Adding another cat should benefit your cat, but you must ensure you can financially add another kitty. If it’s not cost-effective to add another cat, ensure your pet has plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep separation anxiety at bay.

The bottom line is if your cat is left alone for long periods due to everyone being gone all day for work or other responsibilities, adding another cat can greatly benefit your lonesome kitty.

two ragdolls cats lying on the floor at home
Image Credit: xixicatphotos, Shutterstock

How Will I Know My Cat Wants Another Cat?

Of course, if your cat is displaying signs of separation anxiety, it is a sign they can benefit from having a feline friend to play with. Cats are social creatures and form bonds with other cats or pets, and knowing the signs your cat may be lonely will help you determine if adding another cat is in order.

Signs to look for are as follows:
  • Clinginess
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Excessive grooming or change in grooming habits
  • Destructive behavior
  • Unusual sleeping habits (sleeping too much)
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter box

If your cat shows any of these signs, take them to the vet for a checkup to ensure a medical issue is not causing the problems.

cat scratching owner
Image Credit: Anna Kraynova, Shutterstock

How to Introduce a New Cat to Your Cat

As we’ve mentioned, cats are instinctively territorial, and your cat may initially view the new cat as a threat. However, you can take steps to make the introduction smooth so that a bond can form between the two cats. First, consider your current cat’s age. Try to adopt a cat that is close in age to your current cat and has the same energy level.

If your cat has never been around other cats before, it may take a little longer for the two cats to acclimate to one another. It’s important to go slow with the process, as it will pay off in the long run. When you plan to bring the new cat home, you should get them checked by a veterinarian beforehand.

After the vet has cleared the new cat, the next step should be to separate the cats for a few days. Keep the new cat in a room your current cat doesn’t spend much time in. This allows the two cats to get acquainted with each other’s scent and for your current cat to get used to the other one slowly.

Switch the cats’ bedding from time to time to allow them to get used to each other’s scent. Be sure to play and give attention to both cats during this separated stage, which can reduce their stress.

After a few days, try exposing the cats but keep them separated by a baby gate or other contraption so that they can see each other. You may notice hissing and growling, but that is normal in most cases. Praise both cats if they seem tolerant of each other off the bat. Repeat this process several times a day. If the situation ever goes south, separate the cats and repeat the steps above.

Remember that it may take a few weeks or even months before the two cats get used to each other. As long as you go slow, the two cats should eventually become pals or at least tolerate each other, but you never know with cats!

two cats playing
Image Credit: AdinaVoicu, Pixabay

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Adding a second cat can help with separation anxiety and ease boredom and loneliness for your current cat. No one wants their kitty under stress and anxiety, and if your cat has a feline friend to share the home with, it can help immensely.

Remember to go slow with the introduction process, and with time, the transition should go smoothly. If you run into snags, consult your veterinarian for more suggestions.

Featured Image Credit: g3gg0, pixabay

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