Cat Behavior E-mail

Choosing a Second Cat

So you have reason to believe that kitty might be lonely for some added feline companionship around the house? Before bringing a second cat into your home, consider carefully your existing cat’s personality, gender,age and activity level before selecting a kitty companion. Cats are solitary and territorial by nature, so the introduction of another cat into the household is seen as a potential threat to existing kitty’s “top cat” status. Even the best choice will create inevitable jockeying for household power and territory; the wrong match will turn your house into an outright war zone. The following guidelines will be helpful when selecting your next family member, but remember these are only general guidelines and every kitty is an individual who might prove the exception to the rule.

•If you currently have an adult female who has been an "only" cat for awhile, she’ll do best with a younger female. Males(even friendly ones) can scare females with the implied threat of territorial dominance. Male kittens can be dominated by the female while they’re babies, but soon enough they’ll grow into obnoxious teens who insist on playtime games of pounce-wrestle-kill, which is not the average adult lady’s idea of fun.

•If you’ve got a young male, chances are he’ll really enjoy having a male buddy of a similar age or younger who shares his enthusiasm for rough and tumble play.

•An older, mellow, neutered male cat might enjoy "mothering" a kitten of either gender. As a rule, these gentle older men make better mother substitutes than spayed females do. While individuals may vary in this, generally females have a harder time in accepting newcomers of any age.

•Unless you’ve put together two dominant males, or a very dominant male newcomer with your very timid existing male (hell on earth for poor first kitty), males should tend to bond with each other relatively easily.

Whatever the combination, a slow and well-supervised introduction process will help to ensure that first kitty and the newcomer will eventually learn to coexist in peace. Read more on introducing a new cat to other pets.