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Two Kittens or One?
Nadia Crighton chats with Feline Veterinarian, Dr Kim Kendall, from the Cat Palace in Sydney about the benefits of inviting two kittens to share your home instead of one.
The pure delight of introducing a feline bundle of fluff into the family home is a cherished event. However, did you know that inviting two kittens could even be better? According to Dr Kendall, for homes that are looking to bring an indoor kitten into their lives, two kittens is a must.
“My mantra is; two kittens and a scratching post and keep them indoors for life,” Dr Kendall says. “Add a cat park if you want to, but two kittens and a scratching post and a reliable schedule will lead to a very happy set of cats.”
It has taken Dr Kendall 10 long years to finally have the backing of the RSPCA who now ask their kitten adoptees to ‘consider’ having two kittens.
Dr Kendall does warn about having more than two cats, as with three sometimes one can be left out of the action. However, if you do have three cats, ensuring that you have enough resources and things to do can help reduce this problem.
She is also adamant that when deciding to keep your kittens indoors, it is vital they have a second kitten companion right from the word go.
“The big issues that we see now is that people think they can be adequate cat mothers and they are getting single cats and keeping them in units, and this is an abomination, you can guarantee these cats will end up with problems.”
Dr Kendall points to the research she has conducted and also her experience dealing with felines who have grown up as solo indoor cats. She also advises that the smaller the unit, the more you need the second kitten.
“We’ve known since the 60s that if you isolate cats, they end up with very odd behaviour, so keeping a solo cat indoors is a bad thing,” she says. “They basically become agoraphobic.”
Dr Kendall also states that cats only really need a second companion until the age of 12-18 months old. Meaning if that you are only considering having one cat, perhaps adopting an older cat could be the better option.
“Two young adult cats being introduced can become friends, however not the type of friends two kittens will grow to become.”
Benefits of Two Kittens
- Constant playmate
- Keep each other well socialised and open to change
- Stop night attacks (think your feet or your face…OUCH)
- Can prevent behavioural problems and fear during high-stress times like out of house grooming or a vet visit.
Dr Kendall also suggests playing with your kitten for 20mins before bedtime.
“You also have to make a decision very early on to keep them in or out of your bedroom.”
For single kitten homes, having a small bundle of energetic fluff bouncing on your bed at 3am can cause significant headaches. When you have two kittens they are much more likely to play with each other. Even if forced to shut the door to get some shuteye, your kitten will have a friend.
Will your kitten need a playmate? If you answer yes to one or more of the following you may need to reconsider getting two kittens instead of one.
- Are you away from home a lot –work/socialising?
- Will you keep the kitten out of your room at night?
- Do you live in a quiet home (no children)?
- Do you live in a small space/unit/apartment?
- Will you be keeping the kitten indoors?
“You have to remember for the solo kitten, you are away for eight hours a day and then you get home and lock them in the bathroom all night so you can sleep. Then you go out and do your shopping and everything else,” Dr Kendall says “It’s basically solitary confinement.”
Budgeting is important remembering that two kittens will ultimately cost you more. Including vet bills, insurance, litter and food. However, with careful planning, you can ensure your two precious kittens are happy, healthy and provided for.