Are Two Cats Better Than One?
There are many benefits to having two cats, but they apply only when the two cats are well matched and have enough physical space to live together comfortably. Having two cats can provide one another with exercise, social interaction, and mental stimulation. Cats that live together have more opportunity to socialize and play; and this translates into less problematic and destructive behaviors that arise from boredom and isolation. For example, some single cats annoy their owners by trying to wake them during the night in order to play. Two cats might still wake the owner by tearing around the home, but at least the owner isn't getting up out of bed to entertain the cat. Another benefit of having two cats is that they are sometimes cleaner than “single” cats. This is because cats will groom each other, often time getting at places they can’t reach on their own.
However, the potential benefits of having multiple cats can be canceled out with cohabitation anxiety. Adult cats with a history of living alone are better off remaining so, unless you can prove enough space so that the cats have their own territories. It’s also important to remember that cats can take a long time to learn to like each other. Whereas dogs usually decide whether or not to be friends within a few hours or days, it can take cats upwards of a year to learn to co-habitate.
Space is essential for multiple cat homes. Providing access to an outdoor enclosure also significantly increases living space. Indoor cats do best with multiple areas to rest and hide so that each cat can control his amount of interaction with others. Cats always need to have spots for hiding, so they can be alone and undisturbed whenever they want.
Also, the amount of litter boxes should equal the number of cats in the home plus one. For example if you have two cats then three litter boxes would be ideal. Of course, provide plenty of scratching posts and toys to keep everyone happy. Food and water can be placed in a common area since cats seem to enjoy congregating to eat. However, if you have a highly timid cat, you may need to provide special accommodations for him.
Lastly, if you are considering adopting a cat who has already lived in a group setting (i.e. a shelter), consider adopting one of his friends. Introducing two friends to a new home can ease the transition, and you’ll be much more likely to have a successful transition.