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Adopting a Kitten? Make it a Double!

adopting-a-kitten

If you’re thinking about bringing a kitten into your life, there are many reasons why you should actually consider doubling that and bringing home a pair. Yes, think two instead of one.  starting off with two may actually be much easier and more beneficial… for the kittens and for you.

kittens

I’ve done countless consultations over the years with people who had adopted a kitten and then a couple of years later realized they wanted a second cat. Since adult cats are territorial, the introduction process often requires some finesse and lots of patience. In many cases, the pet parents had originally thought about adopting two kittens at once but were concerned about the added work. In reality, a second kitten wouldn’t have added much extra work at all and the benefits of companionship would’ve greatly enriched both cats’ lives. Starting off now with two feline youngsters is much easier than adding a second adult cat down the road.

Here are some fun facts about adopting two kittens:

 

Twice the love

Twice the cuddles

It’s very entertaining to watch two kittens playing together

Two kittens can entertain each other while you’re busy or away at work

There’s not much added cost to having a second kitten

 

cuddling kittens

So if you’re thinking about adopting a kitten and are unsure whether to adopt a second one as well, let’s go a little more in-depth into the benefits:

Kittens Together

Kittens are still in the learning stages and they learn from their mother, their environment and from each other. Kitten-to-kitten interaction and playtime are actually valuable educational opportunities to help them develop important social skills that will be needed later in life. They learn how to communicate and interpret each other’s signals, how hard to bite during playtime and how to share territory. In the case of a litter of kittens, the siblings have been together since birth and are already well into this process. They’re already bonded by the time you come along as a potential adoptive cat parent. What a great way to start!two kittens

Another benefit when you’re considering a kitten, is that in the case of adoption and/or rescue, the kittens may have been without their mother. As is often the case in rescue, the kittens are even too young to be away from their littermates. So much learning and socialization take place in the early part of a kitten’s life. If you adopt a pair, the socialization can continue and they can create security and comfort for each other.

Kittens Learn From Each Other

If you’ve ever been around kittens you know they are on the move and into everything. Kittenhood is such an important time of learning about emerging skills. When jumping, the kitten is learning about how to gauge distances. When walking along narrow objects, the kitten is learning about balance. This time in a kitten’s life that looks to us to be mere play or curiosity is actually an important part of kitten education.  There are so many lessons taking place as kittens stalk, play, leap, climb, tumble, use their claws, practice posturing, etc. Since they also learn by observation, a pair of kittens will help each other through this education. This applies to everything from using the litter box to what objects are safe to land on and what ones aren’t. A more inquisitive kitten may help a more reluctant kitten to blossom.meowing kitten

Kittens and Life Enrichment

I spend so much time talking with my clients about environmental enrichment and the importance of providing a home environment that encourages playtime, exploration and security. For a kitten, the ability to have a companion for playtime can be one of the best forms of life enrichment. Let’s face it, you have to work and spend time away from home and a little kitten can get lonely and even scared. Many people are under the false impression that cats are solitary and don’t want companionship but they do have a social structure and most truly benefit and thrive when they have a feline buddy.

Books by Pam Johnson-Bennett

The companionship two kittens can provide each other may help prevent future behavior problems from boredom or separation anxiety. Very often, the bond between two cats who have grown up together becomes very strong and special. Watching two long-time cat companions curled up together as they nap in the afternoon sun is a precious sight.kitten looking up

Cost and Care of Kittens

After the initial kitten vaccinations, the veterinary costs taper off in most cases. You’ll most likely just be dealing with routine yearly appointments, until it’s time to spay or neuter. Many veterinary clinics offer multipet discounts as well so be sure and check that out to save even more money. You may even be able to adopt kittens who have already had most, if not all of their kitten vaccinations.

With kittens, you’ll initially just have the expense of one litter box until they grow bigger and then you’ll add a second box. Scratching posts aren’t expensive and if you’re handy, you can even make one for your kittens.  When it comes to food, even as kittens grow, you won’t have the same food expense as you would if you adopted puppies, depending upon the dog breed. Large dogs can go through lots of food. Cats, even the largest breeds, won’t require that kind of food budget.

When it comes to toys and cat furniture, your biggest expense will be a cat tree (I highly recommend that you get one) and you’d have that expense regardless of whether you adopted one kitten or two. And if you’re at all familiar with cats, you know that some of the best cat furniture are empty cardboard boxes. My children made a cat condo by using duct tape to connect several cardboard boxes. They cut holes in the boxes and created a fun kitty playground. Simple and very cheap.

When it comes to care, such as grooming, trimming nails, and so on, if you start training them to accept the process while they’re young, then the process will be very quick once they become adults. Train your kittens to enjoy being touched and handled and it’ll make life much easier down the road should you ever have to administer medication when they’re older. It’ll also enable you to do nail trims at home. The key is to start the training early, be consistent and be gentle. Make it a quick, fun experience that ends with a treat or other reward.Cats

It’s Easier Than You Think

Whenever people ask for my advice about getting a kitten, they may be looking for me to have a recommendation on breed, sex or personality type. Instead, my best tip is to open your heart up to two kittens. You’ll be glad you did.

Need More Information?

If you’re new to the world of kittens, here’s my New Kitten Checklist

For specific information on kitten care and training, refer to the book Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

Due to Pam’s scheduling demands, we’re sorry but she is unable to respond to questions or remarks posted in the comment section. If you have a question about cat behavior, you can find many answers in the articles Pam writes for the website as well in her best-selling books. Because of the large volume of emails Pam receives, we are unable to respond to requests for advice without a scheduled consultation.

Think Like a Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett

Due to Pam’s scheduling demands, we’re sorry but she is unable to respond to questions or remarks posted in the comment section. If you have a question about cat behavior, you can find many answers in the articles Pam writes for the website as well as in her best-selling books. Because of the large volume of emails Pam receives, we are unable to respond to requests for advice without a scheduled consultation.