Many questions come along with pet adoption. One of those being: should I get one kitten, or two?
Many people recommend adopting kittens in pairs, and this works nicely for most people.
However, be sure that you have the budget and the time for two kittens before adopting them both, and get a pair that is bonded or from the same litter if possible. This will ease their transition into your home.
No one knows your situation better than you, so I can’t give you any exact answers. What I will do in this article is explain the pros and cons to adopting kittens in pairs.
Bonded Kittens Transition into your Home Easier
If you adopted a pair of kittens that are bonded to one another or come from the same litter, they will have an easier time adjusting to their new life with you.
This is because they will provide each other with familiar company even as everything else (their home and families) is changing in ways that can be frightening.
Two Kittens can Keep Each other Company
If you adopt two kittens, they can keep each other company through stressful times, like we talked about above, or when you and your family are out of the house.
Having multiple pets in the household also decreases the chance of one or both of them developing separation anxiety.
Cats with separation anxiety feel tremendous stress when alone at home, or even sometimes when you leave the room. They may pace around the house, cry out loudly, or display problematic behaviors such as destroying objects by chewing or scratching.
These behaviors usually happen while you’re away from home, and some people don’t even realize that their cat has developed separation anxiety. It isn’t their fault—it’s difficult to know what’s going on in your home when nobody’s there!
Often, symptoms will also present before you leave the house or after you’ve returned home.
The Pair can Help Tire Each Other Out
Kittens have a ton of energy. No matter how many you adopt, they’ll still need dedicated playtime with you—but two kittens can help each other burn off excess energy.
They can play together with independent play toys (for instance, my cats love batting the balls on this tower of tracks toy back and forth!) or chase each other through your home, having more fun and staying occupied longer than they would on their own.
Adopting two kittens helps many people feel less guilty about having a hectic schedule or not always being able to play with their cat. I don’t recommend it as a replacement for the 30-45 minutes of daily play your kitten needs with you—but instead as an added bonus for when you’re busy outside of that time.
Twice the Kittens means Twice the Expense
Of course, your first kitten isn’t the only one who needs to eat or see the veterinarian. The more cats you have, the higher your expenses will be.
You should always keep this in mind and ensure that you have the funds for the extra litterbox, toys, scratching post, food, and vet trips your second cat will require.
It can be a lot of money upfront, especially when it comes to spaying and neutering your cats and getting their vaccines.
If the veterinary costs are what’s stopping you, though, it’s possible that they shouldn’t. Check into low-cost programs in your area, starting with this resource for low-cost spay and neuter programs.
Your cats don’t need the most expensive veterinarian in town, nor do they need the most expensive toys, sprawling cat towers, or self-scooping litterboxes. (Though that last one sounds especially appealing!)
My cats love scratching shipping boxes and batting bottle caps around the house. They don’t know how much these things cost—only that they’re fun!
And Twice the Time Commitment
In some ways, having two kittens does make things easier. However, they will still likely want attention from you.
Adopting two kittens can be twice the time commitment when it comes to basic care like grooming, veterinary appointments, play, and cuddle time.
However, two kittens that get along well can do many of these things together. Your vet clinic will likely allow you to bring them both in at the same time for appointments, and they might share your lap when you’re chilling on the couch.
The time it takes to give them both a play session with a wand toy or laser will likely balance out, especially at this age, by them keeping each other occupied when necessary throughout the day.
Still, it’s important to remember that having an extra kitten will be a time-saver in some ways, while requiring extra time in others.
Training is another good example here. If you’re adopting a kitten rather than a grown cat, they will require more training time—and two kittens will need even more.
Depending on your lifestyle and how many rules you want your cats to follow, this can be a huge time commitment.
For example, you likely want to teach them to claw their scratching post instead of the couch, accept being handled and groomed, and stay off areas like countertops where you don’t want them climbing.
If you have guests at your house often, you’ll want to socialize your kittens so that they get used to having strangers around.
Some people train their cats to wear a harness and walk on a leash so that they can have safe, supervised time outdoors. Others may want their kittens to learn fun tricks, although these are of course very non-essential!
They may Work Together to Cause Trouble
Kittens, especially when they’ve not yet been trained, will find their way into trouble.
We once had to lock mine out of the basement because somehow, they were finding Christmas ribbon to eat, and I just couldn’t figure out where they’d gotten it from!
By adopting two kittens, you do risk them being partners in crime and leading each other into frustrating situations. However, a bored kitten will also get into a ton of trouble—and your kittens are less likely to be bored when they’re together.
This can be solved through training, supervision, and even closing off forbidden areas of the house like I had to do.
Introducing Kittens takes Work
If you adopt two kittens who are unfamiliar with one another, it will take work and time to introduce them.
This can be a slow process that requires patience and effort. While you can just adopt the kittens and hope that they get along, this can make the process even lengthier if something goes wrong.
For example, if one cat gets violent with the other, they aren’t going to forget about it overnight! The reintroduction process will be lengthy due to their fear, which would’ve been avoided if they were introduced properly to begin with.
I recommend adopting a bonded pair if possible. This means that the kittens are attached to one another, likely having come from the same litter or former home.
Adopting two kittens who don’t know each other can be done, it just takes more effort on your part.
Two Kittens Still Need Playtime from You
All cats need 30-45 minutes of daily playtime broken up into 10-15 minute sessions throughout the day.
I typically recommend timing these before meals, before leaving the house, before bedtime, or another time of day when you want your kittens to be worn out and go to sleep afterward.
The reason this playtime is so important is that it simulates hunting for your cat and stimulates their brain, as well as giving them exercise.
It’s also important in establishing a routine and helps to give you some control over your kittens’ sleep schedule. This is useful, for instance, when you want them to sleep at night rather than racing through the halls while you try to sleep.
If your kittens get along well enough to play together, you don’t need to play with them each separately. Just getting that time in once is plenty.
I am a freelance writer who specializes in the pet industry. My full bio