So you’ve gone to your local animal shelter and feel smitten for a kitten – it’s not hard to do, that’s a fact.  However, as cat parents well-know, signing on the dotted line means that you’ll be asked the famous question: “Would you like a second kitten so that Fluffy has a friend?” Skeptics call it the “hard up-sell”, but there are definitely pros and cons to whichever way you choose.  This week, Wisconsin Pet Care will help you answer the question: are two cats better than one?

The Pros of Multiple Cats

*Your kitty will have a playmate to keep her amused while you are away. Long hours at work, or a weekend getaway, can be daunting for your feline friend.  While you have family, job obligations and hobbies, all she has is you (so she craves your attention).  With a new buddy around the house, high-speed chases and wrestling matches will keep her from getting bored without you around.

* And as you know, boredom often leads to anxiety and other behavioral issues. Some believe that double the paws means double the trouble, but typically the exact opposite Is true.  All the playing and mental stimulation during the day usually leads kitties to cat naps, not mischief!

*Cleanliness is next to catliness.  When two or more cats live in the same house, grooming is taken to a new level!  Backs of ears and hard to reach places on their coat are now pristine thanks to your bathing buddies!

*Safety in numbers.  If you have a scaredy-cat on your hands, you know how challenging it is to get her to warm up to people, places and new things (who knew the streamer wand could be so terrifying?).  If, however, you find a good match (say a littermate she feels comfortable with), a pawed pal could bring her out of her shell. You might be surprised how quickly she goes from shy to downright brazen when she’s got a wing-cat!

*Of course the most important reason to bring home two or more cats: you are saving TWO lives-giving them both the love they deserve.

The Cons of Multiple Cats

*Owning multiple cats can be expensive. It doesn’t stop at food and litter. Double (or triple or more) the veterinary bills adds up pretty fast!  According to the ASPCA, “just the basics” of cat ownership can cost you approximately $1035 per year.

* It can be time-consuming to take care of multiple cats.  Clipping nails, brushing their coats and litter box maintenance may begin to take their toll.  On the upside, don’t get discouraged. It takes time to develop a routine that all of you can be happy with.

*It can take awhile for everyone to play nice.  While dogs are often fast friends, cats can take a bit to figure out whether they are going to tolerate each other.  There are days when they can seem almost bi-polar with one moment spent cuddling up to one another, and the next in a hissing stand-off.  Take heart in knowing that things will likely get easier

So now you know that whether your cat becomes a lone ranger or a social butterfly depends on many factors, including time, money and the personality of your cat.  Don’t ever feel pressured to take on more than you can handle. While the animal shelter wants to find loving homes for all pets, they also do not want you to take home the “extra” kitty and decide later that you can’t care for her.