Do cats need company?

It was once believed that cats prefer to be alone as they are solitary animals. However, various studies on feline behavior casted doubts on the popular belief that it is the nature of cats to exist without company. These studies have proven that cats by nature are social animals. Cats need the companionship provided by humans or by one of their own species. Cats live happier lives in an environment where there are other pet cats or where a human friend will provide the cat company.

There is a growing concern among animal behaviorists because a lot of cats are suffering from separation anxiety. One of the reasons people have in getting a cat for a pet is because these animals are noted for being self-reliant. Cats therefore would be the choice of people that do not have much free time to interact with the pet. Cats, unlike dogs can be left at home all day because these animals know how to amuse themselves. It was once believed that cats do not get bored and therefore would not develop destructive habits. Cats that are left alone at home would spend the day grooming and sleeping. However, studies have proven that cats crave companionship.

Separation anxiety syndrome is a condition most common in dogs. Dogs that are left alone at home all day tend to develop destructive habits. However, recent studies have noted that cats suffer from separation anxiety as well. Just like their human friends, cats that are left alone with no stimulating activities tend to get bored. These cats manifest signs of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Bored cats tend to over groom. Excessive licking of the fur is akin to an obsessive compulsive behavior that signifies the cat’s need for attention. Excessive vocalization, spraying, aggression towards other animals and towards humans are other signs that the cat is suffering from loneliness. Unfortunately, because of the common notion that cats are solitary animals, owners would have no idea that these unwanted behaviors can be easily resolved by getting another cat that will provide the resident pet company.

For some cats, another cat will break the monotony of the day while the human friends are away. The new comer will be a playmate and a grooming buddy. A cat lover would want to care for as many cats as possible. However, the possibility that the cat would not accept the newcomer must be carefully considered. Cats, unlike dogs are not pack oriented. Getting a companion for the pet can be a complex issue given that cats have different personalities. While some cats would prefer to have a company others may be perfectly happy being a solo pet. Cats with this kind of personality would not share its food, its feeding bowls, toys and beddings with another cat. Most importantly, cats with this kind of personality would not share the owners with the new pet. The extra financial cost and the additional work associated with getting another cat would not matter for a person that loves these furry animals. But incompatible pets can make the peaceful home environment a nightmare.

Studies on feline behavior have proven that cats are social animals. Cats would therefore need and benefit from having a companion. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing if the cats would hit it off at first glance. Cat owners would not be able to ask the pet if it would like to have company. Cat owners that have decided to get another cat to keep the resident cat company would need to hold on to the fact that these animals would benefit from getting a playmate. For the set up to work, the cats must be introduced slowly.

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