How To Tell If Cats Are Bonded?


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How To Tell If Cats Are Bonding

You truly have to wonder at the contradictory nature of cats!

They can be social creatures but prefer to hunt alone. Some might never want to share you with another cat, while others enjoy the company of their fellow felines.

What’s even more remarkable is that some cats are capable of creating strong bonds with each other that can last for life!

But how can you tell if cats are bonded? Once a pair of cats develop a strong bond, they become dependent on each other and they’ll spend the majority of their time together. They usually show their affection, by grooming each other, playing, sleeping, and lounging together. Bonded cats view their companionship as a source of comfort.

There are ways to tell if two cats are bonded, and together with my fur babies, we made a list to guide you through them.

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

Can Cats Bond With Other Cats?

Contrary to many popular beliefs, cats aren’t solitary creatures. In fact, some studies indicate that cats are social animals that, in feral conditions, live in groups consisting mainly of queens and their litter. The size of these groups depends on their hunting resources and not on their social skills.

The same study also explains that during a cat’s socialization period the exposure to other cats, animals, and people will determine their relationship to them. This means that if a kitten didn’t come in contact with other cats or humans, for the first three months of its life, it’ll most likely associate strangers with danger.

If kittens, on the other hand, grow up in a friendly environment where they interact with other cats, they can definitely create bonds. This shows that cats are very flexible when it comes to companionship and that they’re capable of creating friendships. Of course, Dr. Dantas points out that it also depends on the individual cat.

Signs That Your Cats Are Bonded

Whether you adopted a pair of kittens from your local shelter or you brought a second cat into your home, the signs of two bonded cats aren’t easily missed. There are of course cats that can live in the same household and simply co-exist, but there are also cats that simply can’t get enough of each other. If you find your cat snuggled up, grooming each other and sharing that little spot of sunshine there’s a good chance they’re bonded!

When Do Cats Become Bonded?

Cats usually develop strong bonds when they’re kittens. According to Marilyn Krieger, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant, “for most kittens, the way they learn social skills is by interacting and playing with each other.”

Adopting litter mates usually results in a strong connection, but this doesn’t mean that two kittens from separate litters can’t be bonded. Their first interaction might end up in baby hisses, but that shouldn’t last long.

Introducing older cats might be challenging, but it’s not impossible! It might also depend on their character compatibility. If an older shy cat is introduced to a very social and domineering, there is a chance that the shy cat will end up feeling anxious.

It’s important to remember that cats are individuals, and they might not get along with every cat out there. The process of bonding matured cats could take longer, and it might also demand a great deal of effort on your side. As a cat owner, you’ll have to draw boundaries between the two cats and help them create that magical bond.

Things Bonded Cats Do

How To Tell If Cats Are Bonded

  1. Exchanging their scent: A great sign that your two cats are bonded is when they rub their bodies and faces on each other. Cats have scent glands almost all over their body, like their paws, heads, and even their butts. These scent glands release pheromones, a chemical that provides information. One of the ways cats use sent is to create familiarity. The scent glands around their face are identified as friendly or low-intensity. It’s a bonding gesture and a comforting behavior used by a cat to show how secure and familiar they are with their environment.
  2. Touching tails: If you notice your cats sit next to each other, perhaps you should pay some attention to their tails. If you see their tails intertwine, it means that they’re comfortable being close to each other. It might also be just another way of pheromonal exchange without all the face rubbing.
  3. Allowing grooming: If you see your cats grooming each other it’s a sign of bonding! Allogrooming (which is a special term that describes social grooming) is just another display of affection and chances are that they’re truly a bonded pair.
  4. Playing together: Another way your cats might be showing you that they’re in love is playtime. When cats play it oftentimes means that they’ll find themselves in vulnerable positions, like with their belly uncovered. If they enjoy a good chase around the house, or they do a bit of wrestling it means that they trust each other.
  5. Calling each other: Cats can be quite vocal when it comes to humans, but they can also use their voice to call out to their cat-buddy. A bonded pair might call on each other if they’re apart. They also vocalize their distress if one of them is in trouble or missing.
  6. Sleeping and napping together: Finding your cats sleeping together might just be the biggest sign there is. Cats are most vulnerable when they’re asleep, which determines where they sleep, the foot of your bed for example, and with who they sleep. If your two cats sleep together, then it means that they feel safe and comfortable in each other’s presence.

Things Bonded Cats Don’t Do

  1. Hissing: Bonded cats have many ways of displaying affection, and there are a few things their established friendship codex forbids them. One of them is hissing at each other. Hissing is a sign of hostility and bonded cats rarely display such behavior.
  2. Avoiding/ignoring each other: You won’t find bonded cats avoiding one another. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your cats won’t seek some alone time. If you don’t see any signs of aggressive behavior or hissing, then it’s completely normal.
  3. Act aggressively: Bonded cat pairs don’t show extreme signs of aggression. Of course, sometimes cats might get into a fight, but it usually doesn’t get violent.
  4. Be territorial: You won’t find bonded cats fighting over territory. In a multi-cat household, rules, boundaries, and territories are set early on, between your feline companions. Bonded cats do the same thing, but because of their strong connection, they have a bigger sense of sharing and being in each other’s spaces.

Benefits Of Having Bonded Cats

Whether you’re thinking of getting a second cat or a bonded pair it’s important to consider the effect this choice will have on your life and your kitty’s life. Cats do bring joy whether they come in pairs or if they’re by themselves, but they could also bring major change.

Pros

  • Some suggest that cats that form bonded pairs tend to be healthier because they have less stress as a result of positive social interactions.
  • Bonded cats usually feel more comfortable playing with each other, together they’ll always get the exercise they need. This way your cats are less likely to become overweight, which can add years to their life.
  • Having a bonded pair will make it easier for you to leave them when they’re still small, without them feeling abandoned.
  • Bringing another cat into your home has the potential of increasing your current cat’s happiness and there’s a great chance they could become a bonded pair.
  • Most of us lead busy lives, whether it’s taking care of our family or spending long hours at work. A single cat household could have a negative impact on your kitty. It could cause anxiety and boredom.
  • Lastly, having a bonded pair of cats also means less stress and guilt for cat owners. Two cats can help soothe each other, by showing affection and they can also entertain one another.

Cons

  • Having two cats usually means more expenses, on food, litter, toys, and of course vet visits. If you’re on a tight budget, you should make a yearly plan of cat-expenses before deciding on adopting a bonded pair.
  • Two cats also mean double the responsibility. You’ll have to keep a close eye on your cats and their relationship to make sure they’re not fighting or that one isn’t stealing food from the other one. You could always purchase an automatic cat food feeder to help you with their diet or stealing.
  • Finally, there’s a chance that their personalities may not be compatible. This of course is only a possibility and it’s in your hands to create the right environment for your cats to co-exist.

How Long Does It Take For Cats To Bond?

Usually, cats that are from the same litter are bonded from the beginning of their lives. It of course makes sense that two siblings share a strong bond. Kittens that have been raised together could have a similar kind of attachment because their characters are still flexible, and they have a high tolerance for one another.

Grown cats on the other hand may take a while to like each other. If you want to adopt two grown cats, perhaps ask your local shelter if they have bonded pairs. It often happens that some cats might develop a strong connection to each other during their stay at the shelter.

Just check out this video with these two lovely foster friends! How adorable are they?

If on the other hand, you already have a cat and would like to get them a companion, a kitten might be a good choice for you. As mentioned before, kittens are flexible and they’re not intimidating. It also should be easier to control any fighting that might occur between a kitten and a grown cat.

Before choosing a new cat or kitten make sure their personalities are easy to match. Be patient when introducing them. Remember that each cat is unique and there’s no set time frame to introducing two cats. It could take a week or even months before they even get to tolerate each other’s presence.

Do Bonded Cats Fight?

Just like two people in love can have disagreements, so can bonded cats. Usually, such fights come and go, leaving no hard feelings behind. The common reason behind cat-fights is territorial or it could simply be a play-time gone wrong.

Since our feline overlords tend to have their claimed spots around the house it’s important to maintain an equilibrium. Some cats like high places and some prefer closed spaces and soft beds. According to Maria Grazia Calore, a Veterinary Surgeon, these spaces are part of a cat’s field of isolation, where they rest. It’s important that each cat has its own cat-bed and cat-tree, so they don’t end up fighting over one spot.

There are ways to reduce fighting or any kind of hostilities. Any rough play can potentially escalate to a real fight, so it’s important that you don’t let them fight it off. Instead, calmly separate them from each other, or distract them by some positive play instead. If you find your cats suddenly fighting, perhaps take them for a vet check-up. According to Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, cats can show aggressive behavior when in pain.

What Happens If You Separate Bonded Cats?

Bonded cats are like soulmates. They seek comfort and affection from one another, and when one of them is gone it means that they lose their safety net. I’ve noticed that any time one of my cats is taken to the vet the other one is just crying his heart out by the door.

The most common reason for two bonded pairs to be separated is the passing of one of them. As heartwrenching as it might be for a cat owner, it’s also a struggle for your cat. There’s a great chance that your cat might experience depression. It’s really important to give your cat more attention, to make them feel less abandoned during those times.

Be aware of signs like the loss of appetite. They might also avoid playing or interacting with you. Some mourning kitties spend most of their day sleeping. They might vocalize their pain by crying at the door or where they feel their cat-buddies scent is the strongest. With separation, cats lose the most important part of their communication. That’s why there’s a possibility your cat will become clingy or in some other cases more reclusive.

They could also develop obsessive behaviors like extreme grooming or excessive scratching to cope with the loss of their cat-buddy. So, make sure you spend time with your cat. Buy their favorite treats, show them affection, and spend a good amount of time playing with them.

Closing Thoughts

Who knew that cats could develop such strong feelings for one another?

Of course, as cat parents, we know how loving our little furballs can be. One slow blink is enough to reassure us, but there are a lot of signs that show if cats are bonded to each other.

I remember the struggle to introduce my cats, but I’ll never forget the first time they fell asleep next to each other!

Let us know if you’re a happy parent of a bonded pair and how do your furballs display their affection?

Marina Titova

Marina was cat-struck 8 years ago. It was early autumn when Dante, her grey cat, found her and adopted her. They’ve been inseparable ever since. Dante has been a great cat-teacher and BetterWithCats.net seemed like the perfect place to share his cat-knowledge.

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