Why Two Kittens Are Better Than One

We're sure you'll agree with us when we say that kittens are adorable fluffs of fur! These cute balls of energy are quite a handful but so, so great. As a cat rescue, our first and foremost concern is the well-being and happiness of the animals in our care. Because of this, we wanted to highlight the myth - yes, myth! - that cats are completely independent and don't need a lot of attention. All cats need and crave some level of companionship, love, affection, and entertainment as much as dogs do.

To help our potential adopters, we outlined compelling facts on kitten behavior. Here are a few reasons why kittens should be adopted in pairs:

They'll learn how to behave properly in ways a human can't teach - AKA Avoiding "Single Kitten Syndrome"

Having an age appropriate playmate with a similar energy level is paramount to kittens’ social and mental development. Kitten-to-kitten play is something that cats need in order to develop into well adjusted adult cats and, unfortunately, cannot be replicated by even the most dedicated adopter.

Kittens rough house together and entertain each other. They learn from each other and form family bonds. By playing together, they learn bite inhibition and to retract their claws (otherwise they play with people the same way they play with their siblings–OUCH!) When a kitten is alone, s/he may develop Single-Kitten Syndrome.

Rescues regularly see solo kittens returned after a few months because they start developing bad or destructive habits – such as scratching furniture and biting human family members. It is a little counter-intuitive, but adopting two kittens at the same time can actually make your life easier. They will entertain and exercise each other while you’re at work. It is easier to train two kittens – it is kitten-see kitten- do with these guys. One will copy the rewarded behaviors of the other. Having two kittens reduces food pickiness as it increases competition. Outside the initial immunizations and exams which are already done pre-adoption (which our rescue covers as part of the adoption fee!) there is not much added cost. Both cats will eat the same food, use the same type of litter, and play with the same toys.

Kittens bite and wrestle with one another–this behavior is normal. You can’t prevent a kitten from doing what comes naturally, any more than you can force a two-year-old toddler to sit still. In the absence of having a littermate or companion their own age to play with, a single kitten will want to bite and play-wrestle with their humans, which isn't behavior that most people like or want to encourage. Even if you are willing to allow (and can tolerate) this behavior from your kitten, by the time the kitten matures, you will end up with an adult cat who has developed very bad habits (i.e. biting and scratching as “play”).

Similarly to dogs, kittens play-fight with their sibling and by doing so, quickly learn what is acceptable in terms of biting, nipping and gnawing (all very normal kitten activities). Pairs of kittens can understand cues from each other - in many ways, your pets will train each other. For example, coordination can be taught from wresting and hunting much more easily from an enthusiastic sibling than it can a human!

You can relax knowing that they have a 24/7 playmate

Kittens are curious and crave constant stimulation. Out of boredom, a single kitten will often entertain themself by chewing plants, climbing drapes and furniture, unrolling toilet paper, exploring electrical cords and sockets, etc. Kittens who live with other kittens may sometimes do these things as well, but if they have another kitten to tumble around and play with, it is less likely they’ll need to entertain themselves with behaviors like these, which can be destructive and dangerous.

Even loving, caring, humans are not adequate substitutes for kitten companionship. Even if a person is fortunate enough to be home quite a bit, the amount of attention a lone kitten will demand is likely to occupy more time than the person has available. A pair of kittens will definitely still want to interact with people, but can keep each other occupied. Most cats, regardless of their age, are highly sociable and are truly happier living with other cat companions. This in turn makes them better pets.

Kittens are very active at night. A single kitten is likely to keep people awake at night with constant jumping, pouncing and other “hunting” behavior. With a companion to play with at night, this behavior is minimized because they will have each other to chase and play games with until they fall asleep.

The kittens will already know each other

People often think it will be easier to start with one kitten and then, later on, adopt another. We understand that getting two might seem like rushing into a bigger commitment, but it's not much different. In fact, bringing in a second kitten later will likely be a much harder process. The reason siblings are sometimes encouraged to be adopted together is because that way, owners can be fairly confident that the kittens already know and trust each other from day one and can skip the (sometimes long and difficult) process of introducing cats to one another or a cat to a kitten. As well as having another kitten to play with and learn from, siblings can also offer affection to each other. By adopting in pairs, your new kitten will have someone to clean or to clean them as well as someone to cuddle during nap time. These are the cutest moments and something that you'd miss if you only had the one!

A pair of kittens are age-appropriate for one another

A single kitten is often-times not a good companion for an older cat. Kittens have boundless energy. They want to play and run constantly which typically overwhelms and irritates an older cat. Likewise, a kitten is apt to be frustrated that their companion doesn’t have their same level of energy. At the very least, this can lead to two very unhappy cats. At worst, behavior problems such as litterbox avoidance or destructive scratching can occur as one or both cats act out their frustrations on their surroundings. It’s not likely that the two will have a close, bonded relationship, even after the kitten matures, since their experiences with one another from the beginning of the relationship are likely to be negative. An older cat is better matched with a cat closer to their own age and temperament.

They get to move in together and explore the world together

By having two, our rescue knows the kittens will have a friend at all times and hopefully wouldn't feel too lost or confused at the beginning. In fact, the first night kittens are brought home, they often show little to no signs of upset or discomfort at the new environment. Why? Knowing and being with someone familiar makes the settling-in process much easier for everyone.

Not only that - they can learn about other objects, sounds and so forth as a team! Watching the two of them sniff around the house and the garden for the first time was (and still is) a lot of fun with the two of them. We often hear stories of one kitten helping encourage their sibling with these new experiences, such as helping each other relax when it comes to going to the vet!

Double the kittens doesn't necessarily mean double everything!

Having two cats isn't as overwhelming as it sounds in comparison to owning one cat. In fact, by having two, a lot of the 'effort' involved with caring for a kitten in terms of play and affection and training is helped by the other! It doesn't take much more time either, as you can feed them both at the same time and take them to the vets together and so forth. It may cost you a bit more in terms of kitten/cat food, but they will happily share their toys, so don't rule it out! Of course, getting two kittens is certainly not the easy option but it is very rewarding. Just keep in mind that each animal needs an equal amount of time and effort and that each kitten has enough resources (ideally a pair of kittens will need at least two litter trays).

Two kittens mean double the cuteness (yes this counts!)

Kittens will play together, they will groom each other then will explore together, etc. Our favorite kitten moments and photographs have been of a pair curled up for a snooze. It is adorable. Many adopters would have missed out on so much if they had only brought one of them home, and of course, so would they! Of course, you should never adopt an animal on cuteness alone but assuming you can care for them and provide them with everything you need - it's a bonus for sure! It's so fulfilling seeing them grow into cats together as two best friends. Our rescue wouldn't want it any other way!

Bonus reason: You'll save two lives instead of one :)

How fulfilling to not only provide a happy life for an animal but to do so for two! As long as the pair get on well/won't be stressed living together and you're in a position where you can commit to kittens - why not consider adopting two? You'll never regret it, we promise you! Our adoption fee includes spay/neuter as well as routine preliminary care (such as dewormers, flea treatments, and vaccinations). So, if you're eager to adopt or buy a kitten, our advice would be to make sure that you can commit to the full-on attention and care they need and to consider adopting a pair.

With these benefits outlines, why not check out some of the kittens we have looking for their forever home right now?