- Cats are naturally solitary animals and are often happy without the company of their own species. They are territorial animals who don’t like conflict with other cats.
- Related cats tend to get on better than those who aren’t family, so getting littermates is best if you want more than one cat
- Provide one litter tray per cat, plus one more, to keep all your cats happy
- Introducing a new cat to an existing cat in the household takes time and patience – but don’t worry, we have advice for this!
Domesticated cats are descendants of African wild cats and although their social structure has changed slightly during domestication, most of today’s moggies maintain many of their predecessor’s natural instincts. Unlike social species such as humans, dogs, rabbits and rats, cats are naturally solitary predators and are often content without the company of their own species. But these animals have adapted to live in our modern world and, given the right circumstances and plentiful resources, cats can often co-exist peacefully with their own kind and some may even become good friends.
Related cats tend to get on better than those that are not, so if you want to have more than one cat, then it’s a good idea to take on littermates. However, to ensure their relationship is as harmonious as possible, you'll still need to make sure your home is set up in a way that will keep them happy. If you want to introduce a new cat to an existing cat in the home, then it’s important to do this carefully and slowly to let them get used to each other.
Getting a cat when you already have one (or more)
It is really difficult to tell whether a cat (usually a solitary animal) will be happy to live happily alongside another cat joining their household. There are some questions you can ask yourself that will help guide you to the right decision for your existing cat, but following a careful introduction process will help them get off on the right paw.
- How does your existing cat get on with others in the neighbourhood? If your cat doesn’t like other cats coming into their space and they become anxious or aggressive when this happens, this could be a sign that they wouldn’t accept sharing their home with another cat. Some breeds are best suited to being only-cats, such as Bengals.
- Neutered cats tend to get along much better than those which are not neutered because of the lack of hormones
- Related cats get on better than cats from outside the family line
- Cats can suffer from stress, so if your existing cat is unwell it’s not the best time to get a new one
- Younger cats are more likely to accepts new feline members of the household than older pusses
- Is your home of a size that can allow each cat their own space where they can get away from other cats in the home if they wish?
When a cat who has lived with another cat dies, it is common for owners to want to get another cat so their remaining cat isn’t lonely. Cats have unique social needs which means they may not feel the need for another companion, even if they have lived peacefully alongside another cat for many years. They may not bond with a new cat at all. If you wish to get another cat we recommend giving your surviving cat time to adapt to life without their companion and avoid getting a new cat or kitten straight away. Getting a new cat soon after the death of another cat could cause your pet even more stress. For more information about cat grief, read our advice here.