Why Kittens Should Be Adopted In Pairs
Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she created kittens in litters!
• Kittens need interaction with other kittens for healthy social development. A kitten learns a lot in the first few months of life from his/her mother and littermates. Separating a kitten from his/her mother is often a necessity for adoption purposes, but taking the kitten away from his/her littermates and isolating him/her can delay the kitten’s development emotionally, socially, and sometimes physically. Kittens who are able to remain with one of their littermates or a similarly-aged companion tend to be healthier and happier, and in the long run, better socialized pets than those who are isolated from others of their kind at an early age.
• Even loving, caring, humans are not adequate substitutes for a happy kitten companion. 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 as well. Most cats, regardless of their age, are highly sociable and are truly happier living with other cat companions.
• Kittens are curious and crave constant stimulation. Out of boredom, a single kitten will often find entertainment in 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 that they will need to entertain themselves with behaviors like these, which can be destructive and dangerous.
• 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. Though it should not be acceptable for a kitten to bite and wrestle with his/her human companions, in the absence of having a littermate or companion his/her own age to play with, this is precisely what a single kitten will want to do. 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 (example: biting and scratching as *play*).
• Kittens are very active at night. A single kitten is likely to keep people awake at night with constant jumping, pouncing and other play-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 too fall asleep.
• Another benefit of two kittens is that they are often cleaner than a single kitten living alone. Cats will groom each other’s ears and coat, often getting at places the cat can’t reach on her/his own!
• A single kitten is 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 his/her companion does not have the 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 is unlikely 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 kitty is better matched with a cat closer to his/her own age and temperament.
• Emotional and physical benefits of having a best buddy are not reserved for humans alone. Studies actually show that animals bonded to one another live longer and healthier lives!
***Empty Cages Collective Rescue requires that young kittens (under 6 months) be adopted in pairs unless you have an existing kitten or young cat at home. This policy is NOT based on a desire to increase our number of adoptions. Rather, this ensures that the kittens we rescue, nurture, and love are adopted into homes that offer the best possible environment for their social development. We understand that some people will still want to adopt a single young kitten. Most rescue groups have similar policies regarding kittens; therefore, if you wish to adopt only one, we suggest that you adopt from a local animal shelter where kittens may have a lower chance of finding a home.***