A lot of folks believe adopting multiple pets is more humane than adopting only one, but that's not necessarily the case when it comes to cats. According to Dr. Chan, there is nothing wrong with a one-cat home, as long as you're willing to provide regular human-pet stimulation. "It's not like a fish in a bowl that you just feed once a day." And just as it is possible that a single cat becomes lonely, multiple cats may prove to be incompatible. "There is no way to know for sure that two cats who are strangers are going to get along," says Chan.
If you are set on the idea of having a couple cats, Chan suggests adopting two at the same time increases the chances they'll cohabit in peace. "Ideally, you would adopt two who are litter mates, because they've already bonded, and because they'll be the same age, so they'll have similar energy levels to play with each other." When introducing a new cat into a home where one already lives, factors like the age of the cats, their individual social issues and habits, and their genders need to be taken into account. Veterinarians often recommend keeping the cats separated for about a week, allowing them to get familiar with each other via scent before actually putting them in direct, physical contact. Still, even with this method, there is no guarantee they'll get along. Chan also strongly recommends having the cats spayed and neutered to minimize territory issues and to prevent mating rituals from taking place in the home. "Males will sometimes spray, and females will go into heat – it's really just a headache for the owner," she says.