Two kittens

Adopt Kittens in Pairs

Question:
I have always had a cat throughout my 60 years. Several months ago we lost our last cat and we were broken hearted. I would like to find two cats/kittens from the same litter. Would it be a problem finding two different kittens that would live together? We want a cat that would be inside only and who loves to be in our lap. Is that something that you train a cat to do (lap-sit)?

Dr. Nichol:
We all want pets who personify peace and tolerance, holding paws, singing kumbaya, and behaving more like pacifists than politicians. Witnessing feline brawls, cat calls, and verbal pejoratives many people mistakenly believe that cats are asocial. But in free-living colonies many form long-term bonds with “preferred associates”. Research into feline feuding shows that you are most likely to create a convivial cat couple by bringing young kitties of similar ages into your home at about the same time. Litter mates are statistically most likely to remain BFFs.

Start by equipping your home with a plethora of feline amusements like floor-to-ceiling cat trees and window mounted bird feeders. Hide boxes at various heights will allow the kids to choose solitude when not in an interactive mood. (Feline Environmental Enrichments are on my website, drjeffnichol.com). When your house is a feline fun factory you can troll the shelters for kittens aged 12 – 16 weeks with a history of gentle exposure to humans and other cats. A Feliway Multi Cat (cq) plug-in pheromone diffuser will promote calming.

You can reinforce relaxed lap sitting by stroking only your kitties’ heads and shoulders – just like the mutual grooming they would share in a cat “hood”. Discourage snarky attitudes by ignoring and walking away at the first hint of tension. Forget punishments like water sprays and Tasers.

Finally, the wheels can fall off a great friendship if one cat returns to the lair reeking of a foreign land (veterinary clinic). The immediate fear-related aggression can last a lifetime. Avoid this disaster by having your kitties share all of life’s experiences. Take both to the doctor even if only one has a tooth ache.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.