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Will a Second Cat Help with Separation Anxiety? Vet Reviewed Facts

Vet approved

	Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats can get lonely and bored when left alone for long periods of time—a bored and lonely cat can lead to destructive behaviors, which is something no cat owner wants. Separation anxiety in cats is a big factor in destructive behaviors, but if your cat has a feline friend to pal around with in the home, it could help diminish these unwanted behaviors. So, will a second cat help with separation anxiety? The answer is that it depends on your cat.

Let’s explore this topic to find out if adding a second cat to your tribe would be beneficial or not.

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Should I Get Another Cat?

Cats are instinctively territorial and adding another cat may take time for your other cat to get used to, especially if your other cat has been the sole feline in the household for a long time. However, this doesn’t mean your other cat will not eventually accept the other cat in time. Cats that are more affectionate with their owners may be more accepting of another cat sooner as opposed to a cat that keeps to himself. On the other hand, if your cat is more apt to keep to himself and doesn’t have separation anxiety, you probably do not need another cat in the first place unless you just want one for other reasons.

Cat owners must consider costs before committing to adding another cat. You will have to double the fees for everything, from litter boxes and cat food to veterinary expenses. Ensure you have the funds to bring in another cat so you’re not stressed out with the situation. Adding another cat should be beneficial to your other cat, but you must ensure you can financially add another kitty. If it’s not cost-effective to add another cat, ensure your kitty has plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep separation anxiety at bay.

The bottom line is if your cat is left alone for long periods due to everyone being gone all day for work or other responsibilities, adding another cat can be greatly beneficial for your lonesome kitty.

two ragdolls cats lying on the floor at home
Image Credit: xixicatphotos, Shutterstock

How Will I Know My Cat Wants Another Cat?

Of course, if your cat is displaying signs of separation anxiety, that is a sign your cat can benefit from having a feline friend to play with. Cats are social creatures and can form bonds with other cats or pets, and knowing the signs your cat may be lonely will help you determine if adding another cat is in order.

Signs to look for are as follows:
  • Clinginess
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Excessive grooming or change in grooming habits
  • Destructive behavior
  • Unusual sleeping habits (sleeping too much)
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter box

If your cat shows any of these signs, take him to the vet for a checkup to ensure a medical issue is not causing the problems.

cat scratching owner
Image Credit: Anna Kraynova, Shutterstock

How to Introduce a New Cat to Your Cat

As we’ve mentioned, cats are instinctively territorial, and your cat may initially view the new cat as a threat. However, you can take certain steps to make the introduction smooth so that a bond can form between the two cats. Let’s take a look.

First, consider your current cat’s age. Try to adopt a cat that is close in age to your current cat and with the same energy level. If your cat has never been around other cats before, it may take a little longer for the two cats to acclimate to one another. That said, it’s important to go slow with the process, as it will pay off in the long run.

When you plan to bring the new cat home, you should get them checked by a veterinarian beforehand. After the new cat has been cleared by the vet, the initial step should be to separate the cats for a few days. After the new cat has been cleared by the vet the initial step should be to separate the cats for some days. Keep the new cat in a room your current cat doesn’t spend much time in. This allows the two cats to get acquainted with each other’s scent and for your current cat to slowly get used to another cat in the home. Switch the cat’s bedding from time to time to allow them to get even more used to each other’s scent. Be sure to play and give attention to both cats during this separated stage, as this will reduce any stress they may have.

After a few days, try exposing the cats but keep them separated by a baby gate or some other contraption so that they can see each other. You may notice hissing and growling, but this is normal in most cases. Praise both cats if they seem tolerant of each other off the bat. Repeat this process several times a day. If the situation ever goes south, separate the cats and repeat the steps above.

Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks or even months before the two cats get used to each other. As long as you go slow, the two cats should eventually become pals or at least tolerate and accompany each other—though you never know with cats!

two cats playing
Image Credit: AdinaVoicu, Pixabay

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Adding a second cat can definitely help with separation anxiety and help ease boredom and loneliness for your current cat. No one wants their kitty under stress and anxiety, and if your cat has a feline friend to share the home with, it can help immensely.

Remember to go slow with the introduction process, and with time, the transition should go smoothly. If you run into snags, consult your veterinarian for more suggestions.

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Featured Image Credit By: g3gg0, pixabay