My mother-in-law is a cat person. She loves the dogs too, don’t get me wrong, but some people are dog people and some people are cat people, and she is a cat person through and through.
Her most recent cat passed away a couple of years ago, and I’ll be the first to admit I am surprised she is still cat-less. I think the urge is calling to her, though. There have been hints dropped and a wayward cat dish randomly winding up in the living room and suggestions of visits to the local cat rescue. I give it another month or two, tops.
“Did I tell you I’m thinking of getting another cat?” she asked me this weekend at her birthday party.
“I think my husband mentioned it,” I replied.
She looked over to see if my father in law was listening, and confirming that he was, she casually amended her statement: “Well, I actually think I should get two. They need company, really.”
His eyebrows raised six inches or so before he interjected that this was indeed news to him, but of course now that it’s been said out loud, in front of witnesses, he unfortunately has little recourse to try and talk her out of it. This is the same tactic I use with great success. The V family men put up with a great deal in the name of animals.
Truth be told, she has a point. Adopting cats in pairs is a time-honored tradition in shelters, with the advantage of not only getting more kitties into homes, it gives them a pre-bonded playmate, assuming you get two cats who have already been living together. So it is very timely that the Found Animals Foundation in LA just submitted a guest post on the advantages of adopting a 2Fer during kitten season. One might say it was fate. My father in law is probably ruefully shaking his head as he reads this, by the way. I hope I am still welcome in the house.
Found Animals Foundation is offering the ongoing “2 For You” promotion as part of the Cat Days of Summer campaign– adopt a kitten or cat from any participating Los Angeles animal shelter and Found Animals will pay the adoption fee for the second kitty.
Summer is here, which can only mean one thing: Kitten season! Okay, so that may not be the first thought that comes to mind, but summer is the time when shelters are flooded with litter upon litter of adoptable kittens. With so many kittens and such little space in our shelters I decided to bend my one-cat-per-household rule, and jump head first into fostering a modest batch of two. Baby steps. I would be eluding the truth not to admit that the thought of two cats in my one bedroom apartment reeked of impending mischief and shenanigans. Or so I thought.
As a staunch one-cat owner I learned the hard way that cats get bored easily. Very easily- especially when left alone for hours on end. Destructive behavior, separation anxiety, and overeating are common reactions to loneliness.
Much to my surprise the double hi-jinks I was expecting with two kitties together never seemed to arrive. Having a like-minded friend to play with and learn from seemed to redirect all that energy away from my once tattered curtains and into hours of entertaining playtime!
They bite, scratch, bunny kick, and roll around, as part of the fun. It’s through this type of play that they learn about bite inhibition– a learned behavior where a kitty regulates the force of their bite from playing with its siblings, and learning how hard is too hard when taking a nibble.
Without a partner in crime, most cats won’t understand the force of their bite unless you, as the owner, take time out to teach them. Warning: Adorable kittens nibbling on fingers may be more painful than they appear.
I lead a pretty busy life, like most of us do, and often times would feel guilty when leaving my cat all by his lonesome. That look of sadness in his big eyes would get me every time I head out the door. With two kitties together I’m finally relieved of that feeling of guilt! So, although I still get those looks of sadness, I know seconds after I leave they are fast at play (yes, I’ve peered through the window may a time to confirm this).
Speaking of the outdoors, that’s not the safest place for your kitty. The sad truth is that outdoor cats have a life expectancy of only 2-5 years– cars, predators, disease and being picked up by another cat lover are a constant threat. Keeping your cat indoors can extend his or her lifespan to 10-15 years. And who wouldn’t want their purrballs to stick around for as long as possible!
Much to my surprise, fostering these two kits has sold me onto becoming a two-cat adopter. Yes, caring for two little beasts may require a little more food, litter and vet care but it will also give me peace of mind that the kitties are in a happier, purrier mood, and get more exercise through regular playtime. So spread the word: Cats are indeed happier in pairs (and so are my remarkably intact curtains, frames, vases and sofa)!
Submitted by Found Animals Foundation’s Jumana Bississo
Picture: Mr Dasha and Miss Luella will be available for adoption at the Found Animals Foundation Cat Adoption Center annex at the South East Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA) in Downey. For more information visit: www.foundanimals.org