I have a kitten, will get / recover two dogs (I used to have two dogs, stolen by my ex. I will either get them through courts or buy two new ones).

I am trying to figure out whether I should have one or two cats. What are the implications of having two cats?

Do cats need socialization with their own species like dogs?

Is there a risk of the two cats not getting along and having to be kept separated like extra-small pitbulls?


Cats are not generally social in the way that dogs are social. Occasionally, you might come on a pair of cats that's so bonded that they constantly cuddle, play, or groom each other, but I think it's more status quo for the cats to mostly just tolerate each other.

Cats can also not get along at all. They could outright attack each other. Adult male cats even have a reputation for killing kittens, though that is more common for unneutered males.

There are also less extreme but still undesirable dynamics, like one cat might bully the other by hogging access to necessities, or playing too rough.

With kittens though, their territorial behavior is less established. They're more likely than adults to actually get along and want to play with each other. Some people even advise adopting kittens in pairs, especially if you have no cats in your house already. With most adult cats, being alone is perfectly fine, as long as they get enough attention from their owner.

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Is there a risk of the two cats not getting along and having to be kept separated like extra-small pitbulls?

Yes, but usually this is a case of either cat having had bad experiences.

We had a 9 year old cat, who had lived under the rule of thumb of a very dominant male before we adopted her. She was beaten and generally forced into submission.

We soon added a kitten to the household, and the old one hated her. She turned violent, and after she realized that I'd intervene on the kitten's behalf, she resorted to more passive aggressive actions like claiming the litter box, or sitting by the food because the little one was too afraid of going near her.

Don't let that scare you off, it's not all that common. Most cats are known for their generally indifferent attitude, and this extends to their social interactions as well.

We now have two sister cats, and added a kitten into the mix. Here, you can see the difference:

  • One sister is very passive. She likes sleeping and loafing around. The little one tried to play with her. She would go and lie down somewhere else, but after he pestered her too many times, she would chase him out of the room. Result: These two mostly ignore each other now.
  • The other sister is more playful, and used to try and get her sister to play (unsuccessfully). She actually plays with him more often. But he has more energy than her, and she wants to loaf around at times too. Result: These cats interact much more. When he gets too playful or she isn't up for playing, she will hiss at him a few times until he gets the hint. But they don't ignore each other.

Unless you're getting two unfixed males or cats with emotional baggage, the odds of them violently disliking each other is minute. Even if they do, they will generally resort to ignoring each other instead.

If you're trying to put two males together, only put them together after they both been neutered for some time (so the hormones have left their system).

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