Thursday, May 14, 2015


Shocking, I know, but it seems to be a pretty good rule--based on research I've been doing. Katherine Houpt, retired professor at Cornell vet school, says, firmly, "If you have a cat, there are lots of things you can do to improve the quality of his life--but getting another cat is not one of them." If you want two cats, two littermates are the likeliest two cats to get along, but even they may end up fighting as adults. Of course I'm sure everybody reading this knows an exception. And there are plenty of people who have already added a cat and believe the new and the previous are getting along fine when in fact they're barely tolerating each other because they have no choice. The ASPCA adds that many adopters don't calculate the financial cost until they're paying it, which is usually a good thousand dollars a year. A lot of ill-informed adopters also think the new pair are going to play with each other and relieve them of that duty. In fact, if you understand that a cat needs mental and physical stimulation, you're going to have to double your effort. Stress, fighting, and the occasional aggressive chase (That's my litter box!) don't count.

The fact is that about half of all cat-owning households in this country have two or more. This is why there are so many books, TV shows, websites, and lore about solving cat problems. I haven't found the precise percentage yet, but I do know that a goodly number of cats brought home from shelters to be new companions to existing cats are soon back in the shelter.

Okay, okay, exceptions by the yard. But I'm going to be studying this question in much greater depth as I work my way toward my book, and I'll be happy to find my mind changed. Any of y'all want to start changing it, please have at it.

Just a quick few headlines from Googling "multi-cat household":
  • Hey You, Get Off of My Cloud! Keeping the Peace in a Multi-cat Household
  • Aggressive Cats in Multi-Cat Households
  • Litterbox Behavior Solutions - Multiple Cat Households
  • Solving Behavior Problems In Your Multi-Cat Household
  • Multi-Cat Household: Is It Right For You? Humane Society of the United States
  • Urine Marking in a Multi-cat Household....