Since having a cat is such a delight, no wonder many people decide to expand their family with an additional furry companion. The more the merrier, right?
Well, in theory, it should be, but, in practice, this experience might be a bit more challenging than simply enjoyable.
I can tell you from my own experience, as well as from hearing different stories from my acquaintances, having two cats can be a great decision, but is also something you should thoroughly think about before you act.
Reading these 5 things I wish I knew before getting a second cat might be very helpful for all of you that are currently trying to figure out should you welcome another cat to your household.
1. It Will Take Time For Cats To Get Used To Each Other
I hope you’re not expecting your resident cat to be thrilled about getting a furry friend in her household, especially if she has been alone for years. Life isn’t idyllic, you know!
Most cats will disapprove of the new pet, and your new kitten might also not be crazy about making friends with the cat who’s acting like the master of her new home.
Here it’s essential to give your two cats some time to get to know each other, and to get used to each other’s presence.
Some of the warning signs when introducing two cats, the ones that might indicate things will not go smoothly is seeing one of the cats hiding all the time, their eye contact lasting too long, flattering ears, shrieking and yowling, and territory marking behavior.
How To Properly Introduce The Two Cats?
Even if you have witnessed a bad start between the two cats, you shouldn’t give up just yet. What you should do is to properly introduce them, and give them space and time to get used to each other.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests the following steps to make this process successful:
• Gradual introduction is the most important step here, so, you should go slow with your cats
• Initially, keep your new cat in a separate room, preferably one that’s away from your resident cat’s favorite spot in the house
• Don’t force the new cat to come from her safe space in the beginning
• Smell is very important for cats, so provide each cat with a piece of clothing that carries the other cat’s scent
• Reward them with treats after they spend some time close to each other
• If your two cats have become comfortable with each other, you should see them sniffing their noses
• There shouldn’t be any growling or hissing between them
This process might take some time, but remember to encourage your two cats to interact with each other, and never punish or yell at them.
2. The Resident Cat Might Be Jealous
Your cat is used to being the master of her home. Imagine her surprise when you decide to bring her some animal company!
You’ve probably thought it would be a good idea for your cat to have some company while you’re away.
Well, you should know that your resident cat is likely to be jealous of you now dividing your time and attention on two cats.
No matter how independent and aloof cats seem to be, they still need to receive enough love and care from their owners.
And, suddenly having to share this love with another cat might make your cat become wildly jealous.
What To Do Here?
Even though there is an additional cat in your household now, your resident cat should still know how much you love her.
You’re the one who knows her the best, so you should spend time with her in the way she likes the most. This means playing with her, or giving her some pets, providing her with a nice new scratching post, etc.
Just make sure she doesn’t feel neglected, or that things between you two have changed as the new member arrived.
3. Their Things Should Be Separated
Cats are highly territorial, and this behavior is something you will certainly see in the beginning of two cats sharing their living space.
If you planned for them to share their supplies, this can make things worse, and increase the hostility between them.
In this situation, you might see your two cats getting into fights and demanding their own territory.
What Should You Do?
Your two cats shouldn’t share litter boxes, or food and water bowls. This might cause them to develop aversion to using the litter box, or their food.
Seeing any of your cats pooping on the floor is definitely something you want to avoid, so, it’s a good idea even to provide them with three litter boxes in different places inside your home, to make sure there will be less opportunity for them to fight over territory.
4. Two Cats Means Double The Expenses
Having a cat isn’t only about fun, but is also a great responsibility. This means you’re the one who will provide her with the items she needs.
Also, if the cat gets sick or injured, she might need veterinary care that can get to be expensive. Now, having two cats means doubling all these costs!
Taking care of a cat isn’t so cheap, especially if your cat has some specific demands.
What Should You Do?
You should make the decision in accordance with your finances.
If having an additional cat will mean you withholding yourself for some activities or things you’ll normally spend money on, you might want to reconsider.
You don’t want to get miserable about this when it gets too late. Also, every cat deserves adequate care, so your financial circumstances should be a deciding factor when considering adding another pet to your family.
5. The Two Cats Might Simply Dislike Each Other
One of the most important things I wish I knew before getting a second cat is accepting the fact that some cats will just never like having furry companions.
In most cases, two cats in a single household will learn to live with each other eventually. Many of them will just tolerate the other cat, but their owners at least won’t see aggression or hostility between them.
However, some cats might simply never accept the new member in their homes.
It could happen that your resident cat just doesn’t like the new cat at all, and shows no interest in changing her attitude.
This might seem harmless in the beginning, but, if time passes and nothing changes, it’s not good or safe keeping two cats that can’t stand each other in the same living space.
How To Act Here?
The conflict between two cats can get so bad that pet parents will have to consider separating them permanently.
Lauren Finka and Rachel Foreman-Worsley  explain how cats constantly using communicative strategies such as urine marking and scratching inside the home many times result in cat relinquishment.
Therefore, if you two cats just can’t get along, the only way out might be giving up on one of them.
Having an additional cat means double the adventure and fun, but could also bring some issues.
Your resident cat is likely to get jealous, and you’ll need to provide these two with separate things and places in the house, as well as think well about the financial side of this venture.
Finally, if you’re fortunate, your two cats will eventually accept each other, and even make great company for each other when their humans are away.
Still, there are cats that will never get used to sharing their homes and their owners’ attention with other pets.
I hope you’re the lucky one and you’ll be able to successfully welcome another kitten into your home!
Maybe our article on whether three cats are too many might also interest you. Catch you there!
References: Finka LR, Foreman-Worsley R. Are multi-cat homes more stressful? A critical review of the evidence associated with cat group size and wellbeing. J Feline Med Surg. 2022 Feb;24(2):65-76. DOI, Retrieved August 29, 2023.