NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: Last week, we had to have our beloved 13-year-old kitty, Alice, put to sleep for health reasons. Our house is so empty without a cat.
We plan to adopt an adult female cat. Our local shelter, King Street Cats, has many to choose from.
I would like you to help me convince my husband to adopt two cats. We are senior citizens, but we are still away from the house five or six hours each day. I am afraid a cat who is used to living in a shelter would be very lonesome while we are gone.
I appreciate anything you can add to my desire to adopt two adult cats who are littermates or are used to being together.
— S.J., Alexandria, Va.
Dear S.J.: I am glad to read that you would prefer to adopt two cats because you and your husband are away from the home for much of every day.
Cats do suffer from loneliness and boredom. I frequently emphasize in my advice that two cats are generally happier, healthier and lively than those who live alone.
Cats living together engage in social grooming that reduces stress and may boost their immune systems. They often enjoy sleeping together, which provides mutual security and the benefits of rest and relaxation. Most cats enjoy playing together and can be encouraged with various interactive toys. Physical play, including stalking, chasing and wrestling, provides mental and physical stimulation and serves as social bond strengthening and affirming activity.
Strange cats will often get on well, but, generally, littermates and a mother and one of her kittens get along best of all. My book “Supercat: How to Raise the Perfect Feline Companion” will give you more insights and inspiration to make your indoor environment as cat-friendly and as safe as possible.