Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Should I Adopt Two Adult Cats at the Same Time?

By Langley Cornwell

My mother-in-law recently decided to add a heartbeat or two to her solitary life. We went to the animal shelter with her because she wanted our advice and moral support. I’m amazed that my husband and I didn’t come home with another four-legged family member, but that’s beside the point.

She set out to adopt an adult cat because she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to keep up with a kitten or adolescent cat’s high energy level. What’s more, we know that adult cats are harder to place and, as a rule, we try to help the animals like that.

When we entered the shelter, we told the staff what we were there for. They offered helpful advice on various adoptable cats that fit her criteria. After a brief conversation, we walked the aisles, surveying the available cats and watching my mother-in-law’s reactions. It was during this time that the shelter manager approached us and started in with her targeted and compassionate sales pitch. Mind you, this is the same shelter that has – thankfully - talked my husband and me into many pets that we didn’t intend to bring home. They’re good, very good!

We all know that adults and especially children gravitate towards the kittens and puppies in a shelter. Let’s face it, older animals just don’t radiate the same cuteness that the snuggly little kittens and puppies do, so adult animals often get ignored. Even so, there are real and measurable benefits to adding an adult pet (or two) to your family.

One of the top reasons that I personally would adopt two (or more) animals – not necessarily at the same time – is to save their lives and also to bring twice the amount of unconditional love into my life. But that’s just me, and you all know what an animal lover I am.

If you want to hear from a real expert, Christina Travalja, the North Shore Animal League’s cat behavior specialist, offers many reasons why adopting two adult cats at the same time is a good decision.

• Even though adult cats do not demand the same level of attention that kittens and adolescent cats require, they still flourish when they receive lots of stimulation and interaction. All animals are more likely to get destructive or into trouble when they’re bored. If you have two cats, they will appreciate the companionship of each other when you’re out of the house or just too tired or busy to interact.

• To further that point, cats are less likely to engage in disruptive behaviors like scratching, biting, chewing, etc. when they have another cat to socialize with. Two cats offer each other built-in socialization, exercise and playtime.

• Older cats have already developed their personalities, so the shelter staff will know if the specific cat you’ve taken a shine to prefers the company of other felines or not. Also, most adoption specialists are skilled at knowing which cats do best together. In fact, animal shelters often have pairs of adult cats who are already deeply bonded. Some are in shelters because their owner died or relocated to a place that didn’t allow animals. These pairs oftentimes grew up together and are already known to get along beautifully. Many of these bonded pairs would be devastated if they were separated.

• Veterinary studies reveal that when a cat shares his home with another cat, both cats are healthier. Just like people, animals with playmates do not get sick as often, and when they do get sick, they recover much quicker. Generally speaking, animals with companions live longer and happier lives.

What did my mother-in-law do? She chose a six-year-old brother and sister pair of long-haired precious mops. I’m happy to report that all three of them are much happier than they were before they united!

Top photo by chuckoutrearseats
Bottom photo by Lhoon

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell


  1. I'm thrilled your MIL adopted a sibling pair!

    I have the two boys with me now, Nicki and Derry, but have often thought that when they've passed and budget permitting, I'd adopt mature cats, preferably two together. Especially if I'm still working full time, because I'm gone so much of the day. Two black cats would be even better -- or in some other way "less adoptable."

    BTW, none of my four (2 have passed now) was a young kitten at adoption. Chumley was estimated to be 2-3, Annie was about a year, and the boys were 6 months each at adoption. I don't even have any experience with young kittens!

  2. Concats to your mother-in-law and her two kitties!
    I like happy endings to stories =^.^=


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