The right number of kittens

Sometimes, we shouldn't get one kitten. We should get two!

Here are some examples of when it's better to get two kittens:
Who would they play with if each were alone?

  • When we are starting from scratch, and have no cats.
  • When our present cat is too old to keep up with a kitten.
  • When we have chosen a kitten who needs close companionship.

There are many shelters who encourage double adoptions, from offering a discount for a second cat to making sure cats leave the shelter in twos.

It's not just finding twice as many homes. It's much easier to get our cat's playtime and social needs meet when they have each other. This keeps our cats friendly and social with humans, too.

Some cats enjoy their solitude. But some cats really need lots of fellow cat playtime, like Alphas, or need a cat friend, like a Beta, or can use the reassurance of a fellow cat, like a Gamma.

If we are going to enjoy cats, we are going to want more. So getting cats two at a time create less friction and more fun... right from the beginning. To revitalize an older cat, or resolve a two cat conflict, Third Cat can be magic.

For an example of how this worked for a reader of mine, see Dear Pammy, It’s true about Cat Civilization.

How cats see us

Do cats see us as big cats?

Yes, they probably do. And we, sometimes. see our cats as small people, don't we?

Tristan will watch a movie. Without fish.
As seen at right, my cat Tristan is watching The Beast With a Million Eyes. It's not a a very good movie. It's also not a movie we would expect a cat to watch, being as it's not starring any fish, birds, or small rodents.

Tristan is also a talker, who asks for my attention with different "things" he says. When he wants to play on our apartment staircase, and then wants back in, he'll ring our hanging doorbells to let us know.

Certainly, Tristan can communicate his wishes, and he is a quick learner. It only took me showing him the bells twice for him to learn they would open the door.

I don't see his accomplishments as that different from a small, human, child. He asks for food and amusement and reassurance and for new things to be demonstrated to him.

When I'm not feeling well, he turns the tables, and tries to take care of me.

We are different species.

But in many ways, we are not that different.

For more, see Points of Engagement.

Multiple cat advantage: tattling!

One great reason to have multiple cats is how they will tell on each other.

Every family, classroom, or work group has at least one member who will tattle. Cats are the same way.

My three cat boys - James (l) is the tattletale
There are cats who come running to us when another cat is misbehaving. They are the kinds of cats who develop an understanding of our schedules and rules.

They find it uncomfortable to have these smooth routines disrupted. So whether it's a rowdy kitten or a cat who is taking over too much territory, these cats are quick to come to us when they feel other cats need policing.

This is a great advantage. We are in a better position to enforce fairness than the other cats are. But the other cats are in a better position to know what the other cats are up to than we are.

We should always encourage our cats to think of each other as friends. Maybe not best friends, but at least at the level of being social with each other.

Sometimes, like when another cat is sick or being bullied, we really need to know what is going on. So we can fix it.

For more about cats who like to supervise, see The Supervisor.