Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thinking of adopting a kitten, make it a double.

Mandy Cooper
Just a reminder that BCR does not adopt their cats. They live in their lifetime sanctuary
here at BCR. 

Adopting a kitten? Make it a double!

If you're thinking about bringing a kitten into your life, there are many reasons why you should consider doubling that and bringing home a pair. Starting off with two may actually be much easier and more beneficial for the kittens and for you. Coming into a new home isn't all that easy for a cat. There are a lot of new smells, sounds, people and other pets. Cats are very territorial creatures that don't tend to feel comfortable outside of their safe territory. A new kitten coming into your home may feel a lot of anxiety until they have made your home their home on their own terms.

When you adopt two kittens who have already bonded before you adopt them, they at least have one familiar piece of territory in place (each other). They can be comforted by the presence of one another and learn about their new family and home together. If you have an older kitty in your home, a new kitten could feel rejected by that cat. Kittens have a lot of energy and they want to play and although older cats may still be playful, they will not want to play as much as the kitten does. Adopting two kittens will allow those kittens to get out their energy with one another rather than bothering and older cat. Adopting kittens that are littermates will create harmony in your family.

There is no denying that kittens can be a lot of work and the first year can be like caring for a human baby but adopting two kittens can take some of the burden off of you by giving the kitten someone to play with. Just like humans, cats are not born knowing all of the social rules. They only have a few short weeks to learn how to live with humans. Cats have to learn to behave like cats and get along with other cats. They spend their first several months learning how to use a litter box, how to judge distances, hunting skills, communicating with other cats, controlling aggression through play and what is dangerous and what is not dangerous.

Here are some great reasons why you should adopt in pairs:

       You're saving two lives instead of one. If it's kitten season, that's one more kitten that will get a home instead of growing into an adult which will decrease its chance of getting adopted. It is true that kittens are much easier to place than adult cats.

       A kitten left alone during the day can become lonely and bored which sometimes can lead to mischief. Two kittens will never be lonely, especially if they are siblings

       An older cat will probably accept two kittens better than one. One kitten will seek out the older cat as a playmate or worse, tease and pester the older cat which can cause stress to an older cat. The kitten in return will be rewarded for his playful efforts with hisses and swats. Two kittens will use up their energy in play with each other leaving any older cats to relax in peace.

       Kittens learn by copying. If one kitten is quick to learn appropriate litter box use, the other will be more likely to copy. They also help each other with grooming. Wash up after meals soon becomes a ritual with two kittens.

       Even the most devoted human caregiver can quickly become exhausted by trying to keep up with the energy of a single kitten. Two kittens will wear each other out, leaving their human parent free to just enjoy watching them.

       Many people who experience behaviour problems with kittens find that some of them go away when they adopt another playmate. What may be perceived as mischief is often just the result of boredom. Much like their human friends, kittens sometimes misbehave because negative attention is better than no attention.

       If one kitten is fussy about food, the hostility is often overcome by curiosity at what its sibling/playmate is eating.

       Kittens will often play so hard that they simply flop where they are and more likely than not, they will flop next to or on top of each other. There is no sight any better than seeing two kittens curled up together for a nap.

       They are so amazing and fun to watch. What more could you ask for?

       Two kittens who grow up together will almost always be lifelong friends. Although they will sometimes have their little squabbles, you will more often see them engaging in mutual grooming, playing together and sleeping with their best friend. When thinking of adopting a kitten, think about whether you would deprive your kitten of the enrichment a friend brings to life.

       Kittens raised in pairs get lots of exercise from playing with each other and develop better social skills.

       Two kittens will be able to keep each other company while you are out or at work.

       Out of boredom, a single kitten will often entertain itself by chewing plants, climbing curtains, unrolling toilet paper, exploring electrical cords and sockets, etc. If you have another kitten to tumble around and play with, it is less likely they will need to entertain themselves in destructive and dangerous ways.

       Kittens are very active at night. It is tough to get a good night's sleep when you have a rambunctious kitten jumping on your head or attacking your toes. If given a buddy, they can entertain themselves while you get your sleep.

       Related cats get along together better. Did you know that wild cat colonies usually consist of related cats? There is no guarantee of course that your cats will be friendly with each other just because they are related but it can offer a huge head start in their relationship.

       Cats that are introduced to each other at an early age tend to get along better. It's also true that adult cats accept new kittens more readily than other adult cats. Even if you get two kittens from separate places, they will be what kittens are which is two furballs of joy. If both kittens are born together, they will never consider each other as a threat as they will see each other's presence as natural and safe. 

       Getting two kittens will eliminate worries about introductions later. Introducing two cats to each other does not always go as smoothly as you may hope. Despite cats being social animals, they are territorial as well. Of course you can influence things but why create the hassle when you can choose to get two kittens instead of one? This also applies if you adopted two older cats from the same home, they already know each other and are able to get along so you will not need to re introduce them to one another.

       Getting two kittens will reduce their re homing stress. Have you ever heard the advice about taking a blanket from the previous home along with your kitten in order to reduce stress? Forget the blanket. Take their littermate instead which will be far more powerful in helping with the settling in. Think about it. If you were in a threatening situation, what would make you feel safer? A friend or a blanket?

Just remember that adopting two kittens saves lives and gives other cats and kittens the chance to be taken in and looked after until they are ready for their adopted home. Although kittens are better in pairs, they still require attention from you and regular playtime. It's twice the love, twice the cuddles and there's not much added cost to having a second kitten.

Kittens are still in the learning stages and they learn from their mother, the environment and from each other. Kitten to kitten interaction and playtime helps them develop important social skills that will be needed later in life. They learn how to communicate and read each other's signals, how to bite and how to share territory and in the case of a litter of kittens, the siblings have been together since birth and are already well into this process. They are already bonded by the time you come along as a potential adoptive cat parent. What a great way to start!

Another benefit when you're considering a kitten is that in the case of adoption, the kittens may have been without their mother. As is often the case in rescue, the kittens are even too young to be away from their littermates. So much learning and socialisation takes place in the early part of a kitten's life. If you adopt a pair, the socialisation can continue and they can create security and comfort for each other. Many people are under the impression that cats are solitary and don't want companionship but they do have a social side and truly benefit and thrive when they have a feline buddy.

After the initial kitten vaccinations, the vet costs taper off in most cases. You'll most likely just be dealing with routine yearly appointments and many vet clinics offer discounts as well so be sure and check that out so you can save even more money. Most kittens that you adopt from shelters or rescues have already been vaccinated and spayed/neutered so that's one less money worry for you as cat parents

With kittens, you'll initially have the expense of one litter box until they grow bigger and then you'll add a second box. Scratching posts aren't expensive and if you're really creative, you can even make one for your kittens. When it comes to food, they don't have as much as you might think and it's quite cheap to feed kittens and cats. When it comes to toys and cat furniture, your biggest expense will be a cat tree and you'd have that expense regardless of whether you adopted one kitten or two and if you are at all familiar with cats, you know that some of the best cat furniture are empty cardboard boxes. 

When it comes to care such as grooming, trimming nails and so on, if you start training them to accept the process while they are young, then the process will be very quick once they become adults. Train your kittens to enjoy being touched and handled and it will make life much easier down the road should you ever have to administer medication when they are older. It will also enable you to do nail trims at home. They key is to start the training early, be consistent and gentle. Make it a quick, fun experience that ends with a treat or other reward.

Above all, all that's required for adopting kittens is to open your heart and that's not very hard to do if you adore cats and kittens.


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