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Does my cat need a friend?

Most of the time, we think that cats do just fine on their own, but this is not entirely true. Many need companionship. Here, our Santa Barbara vets discuss how to tell if your cat wants another cat and how then adjust to life with a new friend.

Do kittens (or adult cats) prefer to play alone or with a friend?

While we think of cats as solitary creatures, domestic cats today enjoy companionship and may feel lonely if left alone. Plus, having two cats or kittens can actually help keep them out of trouble since they'll be entertaining each other.

Does my indoor cat need a friend?

If your cat's behavior changes, such as erratic sleeping or eating patterns, it could be a sign that they are lonely. Here are some of the signs that your cat may be craving companionship:

Separation Anxiety

If your cat meows a lot, follows you around, and won't leave you alone, they may be asking for more social interaction. This can indicate that they are experiencing separation anxiety and needs to be managed quickly and appropriately to avoid further issues.

Excessive Grooming

Obsessive grooming, often used to self-soothe, may indicate that your cat would benefit from a companion. If your cat has unusual grooming habits, don't assume he's lonely – it could indicate a medical problem. If you notice your cat is unkempt and not grooming himself as much, it could indicate that he or she is lonely or sad, but you should first schedule an examination for your feline friend.

Changed Sleeping Patterns

If you notice that your cat's once consistent sleeping habits are now all over the place, they may feel lonely. If the cat sleeps a lot and no longer interacts with you, it could be because she is lonely and has developed melancholy. However, as with any other habit modification, it is critical to rule out any medical issues first.

Litter Box Issues

Issues with using the litter box can point to a variety of possible concerns, including stress. You should contact your veterinarian right away if your cat, who was previously litter box trained, starts to urinate in other parts of the house. Because cats are creatures of habit, when they alter their routine, it appears to humans as though a neon sign is blinking.

Odd Eating Habits

Do you find that your cat is suddenly eating non-stop? This may just be boredom. When faced with a lack of options, cats, like people, may turn to food. Alternatively, the cat could stop eating because they are sad. Conversely, if your pet's eating habits change, consult your veterinarian right away, as this could indicate a medical issue.

Bring a New Cat or Kitten Home

If your vet has ruled out any possible medical reason for your cat's behavior, it's likely that they are just lonely. In this case, you may want to consider bringing a new cat into the home to keep them company.

Knowing how your cat will receive the new friend can be tough, but taking it slow can help ensure success. Following are some suggestions for actions and inquiries to ponder:

  • How is your cat getting along with the other cats in the neighborhood? If your cat dislikes other cats entering their territory and becomes agitated or angry when this occurs, it could hint that they would not accept sharing their home with another cat. Bengals, for example, are ideally suited to being sole cats.
  • Cats who are related get along better than cats who are not related.
  • Younger cats are more likely than older cats to accept new feline members of the household.
  • Because of the lack of hormones, neutered cats get along considerably better than unneutered cats.
  • Is your house large enough for each cat to have their own space where they can get away from other cats if they want to?

Should I replace a cat who has died?

While your first instinct may be to bring home a replacement if you lose a cat, this may not always be the best option. Before getting a new cat or kitten, we recommend giving your surviving cat time to adjust to life without their mate. Cats have unique social needs, so even if they have lived happily alongside another cat for many years, they may no longer feel the need for another companion.

How will I know if my cats like each other?

Cats with strong bonds will frequently exhibit clear indicators that they consider themselves members of the same social group. These indicators include grooming, sleeping, or lying next to each other. They may regularly greet each other by touching noses or making a small meow as they pass.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

You should bring any new additions (kitten or puppy) to the vet for examination and vaccinations soon after bringing them home. Please contact our Santa Barbara vets to book an appointment.

Welcoming Cats & Dogs to Our Animal Hospital 

San Roque Pet Hospital welcomes cats, dogs, and their people to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Santa Barbara companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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