Cats have a reputation for being loners. So, many people think it’s only natural to keep a cat alone. But is that true? Are cats happier in pairs, after all?
Whether cats are happier in pairs depends on their personalities. Some cats like to live alone and don’t get along with other pets. Others prefer to have company. If you spend a lot of time out of the house or don’t play enough with your cat, there’s a chance she’ll get bored. You should consider getting a second cat if your cat relieves himself outside the litter box, stops eating, becomes noisy more often, is destructive, or seems unhappy. These are signs that your cat is lonely.
Deciding to get a second cat is not an easy decision. Your cats need to be a good match in terms of character so that they don’t fight or annoy each other.
Therefore, try to find another cat of similar age and temperament.
Do Cats Feel Lonely Without Company?
Whether or not cats get lonely without another cat depends on their personalities. Some cats prefer to be alone, while others prefer to be in pairs.
Cats that are used to being around other animals or have a friendly, playful personality will benefit from having another cat to play with.
However, if your cat has become accustomed to being alone, adding another cat to the household can be stressful and confusing.
Most cats are hostile to strange cats and may not like a new cat.
However, there are many other factors to consider when deciding on a friend for your pet cat:
- How much time do you spend with your cat?
- Does your cat seem lonely and sad?
- How often are you away from home?
- Does your cat spend most of its time sleeping or playing?
Unfortunately, there is no universal answer to whether you should get another cat. You can only do what is suitable for your cat and your situation.
In some cases, getting a friend for your cat may not be necessary. But in other cases, it is advisable.
Is It Wrong to Have Only One Cat?
Although most cats are naturally social animals, they also like to be alone sometimes. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with keeping only one cat.
Cats are not solitary animals, but they often need time to themselves. However, they equally need interaction with others.
Feral cats form loose colonies where they share food and resources. They also divide the care of kittens among adult females.
This shows that cats like to have company. However, they also form close bonds with their owners, so they don’t necessarily need other cats in the house.
However, leaving her to her devices is unfair to your pet cat. If you are away from home for long periods, there is a risk that she will become bored and stressed.
So, if you are often away working or running errands and don’t have enough time to play with your cat, you should consider getting a second cat.
On the other hand, cats that spend a lot of time with their owners and play with them frequently are usually happy enough not to need to be in pairs.
Depending on your cat’s personality, it may even prefer to be the only pet. This is the case if the cat is fearful, aggressive, traumatized, or very high maintenance.
If your cat exhibits any of these traits, adding another cat to your home comes with risks. You could create an unpleasant, hostile environment for your new cat, which is unfair to both animals.
Apartment cats tend to be quiet and peaceful by nature, but they still need lots of attention.
Provide toys, games, and scratching posts to give your apartment cat plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
Which Cat Breeds Can Be Left Alone?
While cats should not be left alone for too long, they can certainly be left alone for short periods during the day.
Veterinarians advise never leaving adult cats alone for more than 24 hours. If you must be away from home, ensure your cat can access fresh water, food, and clean litter.
The following cat breeds are uncomplicated and can be kept well alone:
- American Shorthair
- American Wirehair
- Maine Coon
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Russian Blue
- Scottish Fold
Your cat’s personality may vary, so you must consider this list as a guide only.
Every cat is different, regardless of breed. For example, you may have a cat breed that, on paper, should be happy alone but still needs more company.
Does My Cat Need a Friend?
To find out if your apartment cat needs a friend or is happy living alone, you could invest in a home cam.
These devices allow you to watch your cat while you’re away, giving you a comprehensive picture of their mood and activities.
When observing your cat, look for noticeable changes in her behavior or general mood. There are two possible extremes:
- Your cat rarely moves and sleeps all day. This indicates that she is bored and has no desire to play, suggesting depression.
- She remains very active throughout the day and becomes destructive, indicating that she has too much energy.
A middle ground is ideal, where the cat plays with her favorite toy at short intervals or roams the house to stretch her legs before sleeping.
This scenario suggests that your cat is happy on his own. Your cat probably needs company if you notice signs of boredom or discomfort.
How to Tell if Your Cat Wants Another Cat
It’s hard to tell if your cat is lonely or needs a friend. To find out, you’ll have to do a little detective work.
Therefore, you should observe your cat’s behavior and mood to determine if he is showing signs of loneliness.
Signs that your cat wants another cat include the following.
Changes in Activity Level
Watch for signs of activity as soon as you return home after being away. If your cat has destroyed your furniture or knocked over items in the house, he is trying to entertain himself.
On the other hand, if your cat’s bed or favorite sleeping spot is still warm, it probably likes to rest and conserve energy while you’re gone.
This suggests your cat is fine on her own and doesn’t necessarily want to be in pairs.
Lonely, bored cats over-groom for comfort. Cats that groom excessively do so because they are dealing with stress.
Cats are good at hiding negative emotions, so excessive grooming usually reveals their feelings.
In extreme cases of loneliness and boredom, excessive grooming quickly becomes OCD.
Excessive grooming becomes a ritual. Some cats then only do it when they are alone in the house. This helps them cope with being alone.
Giving your cat a friend to play with can help alleviate this behavior and keep them from pulling out their fur.
Some cats are naturally vocal. But if your cat is raising her voice more and more, she’s trying to tell you something.
In the case of loneliness and boredom, she probably wants more attention from you.
You should pay attention if your formerly quiet cat suddenly becomes loud and talkative because it could worry her.
Try to play with your cat more often when you are home.
If you entertain your cat while with her, she will spend the rest of the time sleeping and resting. She will not need another animal.
However, if your cat still seems stressed, it’s time to think about getting a second cat.
Changes in Litter Box Habits
Apartment cats use their litter boxes because they are not allowed outside. Therefore, they are usually clean when they use their litter box.
So if they have accidents outside the litter box, there is always a reason.
Before you suspect stress, boredom, or loneliness, rule out any medical problems. Sometimes, urinary or kidney problems are to blame, for example.
If your cat’s accidents are not medical, try to find out if your cat doesn’t like to be alone. Observe if there are other signs of boredom.
Lonely cats become aggressive when their owners are preparing to leave the house. This is because they know they will be alone for an extended period.
It’s easy to think your cat behaves like this because of being angry with you. But your cat wants to encourage you to stay because they don’t want to be alone.
Like aggression, cats that don’t want to be alone become destructive. They scratch furniture and bite objects such as cables.
This often happens when your cat is alone, leaving a mess for you to deal with when you get home.
This is a sign of boredom and loneliness and that your cat has too much pent-up energy.
Apartment cats need an outlet to be active; another cat can provide that. That’s why it’s sometimes beneficial to have cats in pairs.
Cats that stop eating are stressed. Sometimes, medical problems are to blame.
But behavioral triggers are also a possible cause. This should usually only last a few days and subside.
But your cat may not regain its full appetite until you combat its loneliness and boredom with more mental and physical stimulation.
It’s important to remember that cats stop eating when a newcomer enters the scene.
So don’t be alarmed if you get a second cat and your original pet loses its appetite and doesn’t return for a few days.
How to Choose Another Cat
Unfortunately, choosing another pet cat for your pet to play with is not that easy. It is not enough to choose the cat that you like the most.
Your cats must be well-matched to feel comfortable and relaxed in each other’s presence.
It is always easier to integrate your cats when they are kittens.
It is even better if the cats are from the same litter. Because then you don’t need to spend time getting them used to each other and socializing them.
However, if this is impossible and you already have an adult cat, it is time to choose the most suitable one.
Also, remember that if your first cat is an indoor cat, your second cat should also be an indoor cat.
Letting one cat outside but not the other can lead to behavioral problems such as jealousy.
Consider the following when choosing a new cat:
- Personality and temperament: ensure both cats are a good match in character. They should have comparable behavioral traits and energy levels.
- Age: If your original apartment cat is old, try to find another cat of a similar age. Keeping a kitten with an older cat doesn’t always work.
- Sex: Getting a male and a female might be beneficial so they don’t fight for dominance. However, remember to spay both cats to avoid unexpected pregnancies.
Research well before deciding on a new cat, and ask the owner many questions about the cat’s personality.
This will help you determine if they are a good match if you keep cats as a pair.
How to Introduce Cats Into a Household
You must deal with the problematic acclimation phase if you decide to get a second pet cat to keep the existing cat company.
This rarely goes smoothly, so go slowly to allow both cats to get used to each other. To make this happen, follow the steps below.
Please make sure both cats have their things to call their own.
This step is essential for getting adult apartment cats or a new kitten used to an adult cat. You can minimize the risk of the cats becoming territorial.
Items that both cats will need include:
- Food bowls
- At least one litter box
If it is impossible to buy your cats their individual items, they can share them. You will need to watch them more closely to stop conflicts early.
Set Up a Temporary Room for Your Cats
Please set up a room exclusively for your new cat and put her items in it. This will give her a place to retreat while your already established cat gets used to the newcomer.
Allow your original cat to walk up to the door to sniff and investigate everything. However, please do not give her access to the room, or she may start a fight with your new cat.
You can skip this step if you don’t have room to use it.
But at least ensure the two cats’ belongings are at opposite ends of the living area so neither feels threatened.
Please don’t leave your cats unattended; separate them once things get too heated.
Keep Your Cat Calm
Keeping your old cat calm will help him get used to the newcomer.
You know your cat better than anyone, so use proven methods to keep her calm and happy.
Cat-safe scents and pheromone sprays can help your cat feel calm. Brushing and cuddling her may also help, depending on your cat’s personality.
When you are ready to introduce the two cats to each other, do so when your cat is most relaxed.
This may be before she settles to sleep or after eating. Also, keep the environment in the house calm.
Introduce the Cats
Before letting your cats roam freely in the same room, you should hold your new cat and let your original cat sniff her.
Put your new cat in her temporary space and let her explore. Your original cat might need time to smell and explore, but don’t let her run around alone.
Your cats may try to assert dominance over each other during this interaction. Therefore, expect hissing and hitting.
However, do not try to intervene. As long as your cats don’t get too aggressive, everything is fine; this is how they establish their boundaries.
Over time, they will become more compliant and willing to compromise when setting and accepting boundaries.
Don’t force the cats to approach each other if they don’t want to. And give them both plenty of love and affection so they don’t get jealous.
Conclusion: Do Cats Prefer to Be in Pairs?
Whether you keep a single cat or prefer cats in pairs is a personal choice.
However, your cat will tell you when she is unhappy and lonely.
So, please pay close attention to their behavior and mood to detect signs of stress, boredom, or loneliness.