Should You Get Your 7 Year Old Cat A Buddy? Why It Might Be A Good Idea

The Benefits of Getting a Second Cat

There are several potential benefits to getting a second cat for your existing cat. Some of the main advantages include reduced stress and anxiety, increased playtime and exercise, and companionship.

Cats are social creatures and enjoy having other cats around for play, affection, and stimulation. Studies have shown that cats with a companion exhibit less stress behaviors like aggression or anxiety. They can keep each other company when you are away, reducing loneliness and boredom.

A second cat provides a playmate which means more exercise and activity. Cats love to play and chase each other, which satisfies their natural hunting instincts. With another cat at home, your first cat will be encouraged to be more active and energetic. Increased playtime also strengthens the bond between the two cats.

Adding a second cat allows your current cat to have a feline companion. While cats do enjoy human interaction, they also benefit from the camaraderie of another cat. Living with another cat can provide comfort, affection, and security. Additionally, grooming each other promotes caretaking behaviors.

Potential Downsides of a Second Cat

While there are many benefits to getting a second cat, there are also some potential downsides to consider. One concern is the introduction of illness. Cats who go outside and interact with other neighborhood cats are more likely to pick up common feline viruses and illnesses. Bringing a new cat into your home runs the risk of exposing your resident cat to these diseases if the new cat has not been properly vet checked and vaccinated. This could mean increased vet bills to treat your existing cat if they become sick.

Another potential issue is conflict and fighting between the cats as they work to establish hierarchy and shared territory. Serious fighting that leads to injuries can also ramp up vet bills. Cats can be territorial, so you’ll need to properly introduce the new cat and be prepared to separate them if needed while they adjust. Taking time to introduce cats slowly and properly supervising their initial interactions can help avoid fights. But some cats never fully accept a new feline housemate. According to, “Your cats might not get on, you have an increased risk of spraying and destructive scratching.”

Is Your First Cat Social?

When deciding whether to get a second cat, it’s important to assess if your current cat is social and open to having a feline companion. Look at your cat’s personality – does she readily approach, greet, and sniff visitors? Does she rub against legs and want attention? Or does she hide when guests come over? Social cats will likely accept a new feline friend more easily than independent cats who prefer being alone.

Additionally, consider your cat’s age and activity level. Kittens and younger adult cats tend to be more energetic and playful, so introducing a similarly lively companion cat often works well. Older or less active cats may prefer a mellow cat closer to their age and temperament. Observe your cat’s personality carefully to determine if a new friend would be welcomed or cause stress.

Have Realistic Expectations

When bringing a new cat into a home with an existing cat, it’s important to have realistic expectations about their relationship. Some cats will become bonded companions, while others may never fully accept each other. Cats are territorial by nature, so clashes over resources and preferred areas are common.

Give your cats enough time and space to gradually get used to each other’s presence. Some hissing and swatting during initial meetings is normal as they establish boundaries. Separate feeding areas, litter boxes, scratching posts, and bedding can help minimize conflicts.

While close bonds do form in some cases, even cats that tolerate each other may not become friends. As long as they respect each other’s space and your home remains peaceful, a cordial coexistence may be the best you can hope for. Don’t force interactions in hopes of accelerating the adjustment period.

With patience and proper introductions, most cats can learn to accept a new feline housemate. But it’s important to recognize that their relationship may range anywhere from playful companions to indifferent cohabitants who lead separate lives under the same roof. Manage your expectations and let their interactions guide the process.

Introduce Cats Slowly

When introducing a new cat to a resident cat, it’s important to take it slow. As the Humane Society advises, “A proper introduction requires time and patience.”

Initially, keep the cats separated in different areas of the home, ideally in spaces that each cat is already familiar and comfortable with. This allows them to become accustomed to each other’s scents before meeting face-to-face. According to the International Cat Care organization, swapping the cats’ spaces periodically can help them get used to each other’s smells.

Once the cats seem comfortable with each other’s scents, do short, supervised introductions where they can see and interact with each other at a distance. Over multiple sessions spanning days or weeks, slowly increase the time they spend together. Look for positive signs like relaxed body language and appropriate social behavior. If aggressive reactions occur, separate them again and go back to scent swapping before the next attempt.

With patience, you can ease both cats into sharing territory successfully. But forcing interactions too quickly can cause lasting stress or animosity between them. “It’s better to introduce cats gradually on their own terms,” notes International Cat Care. Taking it slow sets the new pair up for a friendly feline relationship.

Ensure You Have the Time

Cats are very social animals and need daily playtime, affection, and care from their owners. While one cat may only require 1-2 hours of dedicated time per day, two cats will need double that amount. Be realistic about your schedule before committing to a second cat.

Cats do sleep a lot, but when they are awake they demand attention through play and cuddles. Solo cats can play together, but they still need human interaction. Make sure you can spend at least 2-4 hours daily focused on your cats, playing with toys, petting, grooming, and generally keeping them engaged and entertained.

Keep in mind that cats can live 15+ years. While kittens are very energetic, senior cats require extra care and maintenance as well. Confirm you’ll be able to provide consistent time and attention to two cats over the course of their lives. If your schedule is unpredictable, one cat may be a better fit.

While having two cats can be extremely rewarding, the doubled commitment is significant. Be realistic about your ability to meet two cats’ needs for play, affection and quality time before making the decision to get a second cat.

Assess Your Home Layout

When bringing home a second cat, it’s important to evaluate your living space to ensure it can comfortably accommodate multiple felines. Cats are territorial, so having adequate territory is key. Each cat should have their own food bowl, water bowl, litter box, scratching posts, cat trees/perches, and bedding.

Ideally each cat would have their own “base camp” where their essentials are located, in separate areas of the home. Multiple litter boxes in different rooms help prevent issues with guarding resources. Vertical space is great – installing cat shelves, tunnels, and perches lets cats access different levels and get away from each other when needed. Having multiple hiding spots and sleeping areas reduces conflict.

For example, you may designate separate “cat zones” with resources for each feline. Or allow access to different rooms at certain times. Ensure outdoor cats have outdoor shelter options too. Adapting your home layout ahead of time makes introductions smoother. Reference resources like this one for clever home setups when owning multiple cats.

Factor in Financial Commitment

When getting a second cat, it’s important to consider the additional costs of food, litter, vet bills and other expenses. While costs vary, you can expect your expenses to roughly double with a second cat.

Food costs will go up, as you’ll need to feed two cats instead of one. Feeding high-quality dry food costs around $200-$600 per year for one cat, so budget double for two cats. Canned or wet food, treats, and supplements will also cost more for two cats.

Litter costs may not quite double, but you’ll need a bigger box and more frequent refills. Budget $20-$40 per month for litter for two cats.

Vet bills can be a significant cost. Wellness exams, vaccinations, and preventative care typically run $70-$150 per visit. Budget for two annual exams for two cats. Additionally, emergency vet visits for injuries or illnesses will be more likely with two cats.

Pet insurance, boarding and grooming costs will also be higher. And more cats mean more supplies like beds, toys and scratching posts. Take all these additional expenses into account when deciding if a second cat fits your budget.

Consider Age and Activity Level

When introducing a kitten to an older cat, consider how their energy levels may differ. Kittens are naturally very energetic, playful, and curious. Older cats often prefer a calmer routine. While kittens may try to engage an older cat in play, the older cat may become annoyed or overwhelmed.

Cats of a similar energy level and age often get along better. Kittens tend to match well with cats under 5 years old. Very young kittens should be closely monitored with any adult cat to ensure safe interactions.

However, some older cats enjoy mentoring and playing gently with kittens. Take your older cat’s personality into account. An outgoing and social adult cat may readily accept a kitten. Monitor their interactions and be prepared to separate them if the energy levels don’t match up well.

When introducing a kitten to a much older or less energetic cat, provide plenty of toys and activities to occupy the kitten. This will allow the older cat their own space and quiet time. With patience and proper introductions, cats with very different ages and energy can learn to get along.

Give it Time

Introducing a new cat into the home is a big adjustment for everyone. Just because your existing cat may seem unhappy at first, don’t assume it’s not going to work out. The adjustment period often takes weeks or even months as the cats get used to each other and establish a new routine.

It’s important to have realistic expectations and not expect your cats to be best friends right away. Be patient and allow plenty of time for proper introductions and gradual acclimation. The more gradually you transition the cats, the better chance they have of eventually accepting each other.

Make sure to give your existing cat plenty of love and attention during this transition period. Spend one-on-one time with each cat every day. Providing separate spaces, resources, and affection will help ease tensions. With time, patience, and proper introductions, your cats can learn to co-exist peacefully.

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