There are different reasons to consider adopting another cat, but if you already have an aging feline at home you’d be correct to take pause over the decision. It’s possible your senior cat is out of sorts if they’ve recently lost a friend or littermate, but introducing them to another pet won’t replace their buddy. What’s more, the situation could be fraught with territorial tension that could profoundly stress them out.
All this doesn’t mean your cat wouldn’t benefit from another pal. Instead, with a lot of love, patience and encouragement it could be the best choice of all.
Domestic cats, like their wild, bigger distant relatives, hunt and eat alone. This is an instinct they’ve inherited, but it’s also one they seem to truly enjoy. Unlike dogs that hunt in packs, cats are incredibly self-reliant and solitary.
However, it’s well known that feral cats form hierarchical colonies and many cats develop friendships. In other words, your senior cat has social needs that, when fulfilled, add to their quality of life.
It’s All Mine
Cats have a reputation for being territorial creatures of habit. They can survive as the solo pet in a household, but being largely alone all day can be unsettling – especially if they were previously accustomed to company.
The Age Gap
Kittens seek out play with other kittens regardless of whether they’re from the same litter. In fact, they are remarkably open to forming bonds with anyone of a similar age and size. They are also interested in being out with older pets, but that doesn’t always work out.
For various reasons, some cats detest other cats. This can result from previous negative experiences and you might not even know they have a bias. For this reason alone, it’s critical to consider your cat’s history and preferences closely.
A Loving Senior Cat
A senior cat that misses having a furry snuggle buddy was obviously socialized early and doesn’t show any signs of fear, anxiety or clinginess. If they are matched to a cat with a similar temperament, age and size, the chances of success are much higher than, say, a kitten that will constantly pester them to play. However, do this only after ample grieving time.
Making the Move
If you’re thinking about adopting another older cat to befriend your resident senior cat, please move slowly. Keep them seperate for at least a week, allowing both cats to process the different scents and sounds. Keep their respective food and litter areas apart. Don’t forget the treats!
Lonely Vs. Stressed
A lonely senior cat is better than a stressed one. Because the bond they had with their late friend or litter mate cannot be transferred to another cat, it takes a great deal of time and patience. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, they might be showing you they need a friend:
- Clinginess/following you around
- Excessive vocalization
- Change in grooming habits (over or under grooming)
- Change in appetite
- Destructive behavior
- Sleep disruption
- Litter box issues
- Low energy/mopey