Until recently, we've always had two kitties. We're in the group that proclaims two is better than one. Fundamentally Feline, cited below, agrees, reminding us that "Cats naturally live in small groups called colonies. Cats are solitary hunters, but not a solitary species."
There are many benefits to having a pair of cats. A big one is that they provide each other company when the humans leave the house. Experts say a bored cat is destructive, but having another cat around is a good distraction from loneliness, making your furniture and curtains safer from mischief-making.
But first, the two (or three) cats must meet. The Humane Society of the United States, HSUS, cited below, explains that how the new cat is introduced to the resident cat is vital to their future relationship. "Introducing cats should be a slow process. In fact, the slower the process, the better chance of a successful introduction." They clarify that "slow" means moving the first meeting along at a pace favorable to the most stressed cat. That could be the resident cat, but the change in environment could also impact the new cat.
Cats are territorial, and the resident feline may sense the new kid in town is there to take over the perks. Even though you want the two to become friends eventually, HSUS says they should be kept separated initially. "Your new cat should be kept in a single room during the initial stages of this introduction process. This is important for both the new cat (so they can begin to feel comfortable in their new territory) and for the resident cat (so they can adjust to the new cat's presence in the home)."
According to the HSUS, never put the new cat in a room frequented by the resident cat. And have a new scratching post, toys, and food and water dishes available for the newcomer so jealousy doesn't pop up the first day of meeting. "While living separated, switch the cat's bedding so they get used to each other's scent."
It's also vital that all the cats get enough daily play time, as this will help reduce their stress. Fundamentally Feline says, "Cats with a playmate tend to be more socially well adjusted. They also tend to have less behavior problems related to social skills such as: predatory aggression (biting of hands and other appendages), scratching, hissing, hiding and overall shyness."
Another interesting benefit of having two or more cats is the mental stimulation they provide one another throughout the day. Researchers say indoor kitties with a pal have larger brains than outdoor cats who prefer to go solo. As Fundamentally Feline notes, "Your cat will likely remain more youthful and playful well into their senior years with the benefit of a companion."
With all these pros, there are a couple of cons you should know about if you're thinking of adding to your feline flock.
Cats.com, cited below, mentions the added expenses for food and vet visits and the possibility of the cats hating each other at first sight, causing significant disruption in the home.
If you are interested in bringing another cat into your family, ask questions of the rescue or humane society from whom you'll be adopting. Find out if the new cat likes other cats and if the new cat ever gets aggressive with other animals or people. You may be able to take a cat home for a night or two to see how things work out with the cat in residence. Just remember to keep them separate and let them get to know each other slowly by smell and meows. With patience and time, you may have a perfect match with no missing fur.
Quote to remember: "Life is better with a cat; even better with two." - Anonymous
The Humane Society of the United States
"How to introduce new cats to your home"
"Two are better than one!"
"5 Reasons You Should Get A Second Cat (And 3 You Shouldn’t)"