Black cat and gray kitten looking out of window together
(Picture Credit: Yifei Fang/Getty Images)

Does Your Older Cat Really Want A Younger Companion?

We human beings sometimes think of our pets as being small versions of ourselves. We also sometimes project our feelings onto our pets, believing them to be happy, sad, excited, or lonely, even when they may not feel the same way we do.

At such times we are “anthropomorphizing” our pets, imagining them as tiny people in little furry suits instead of the cats that they truly are.

While anthropomorphizing is not always a negative thing, it can be a disservice to project human thoughts and emotions onto cats. It is one thing to imagine your cat as your best friend and enjoy watching television together; however, it’s another thing to make lifestyle changes for your pet based on what you imagine how you would feel in their place.

Bringing home a new kitten might be one of those situations in which your cat would prefer you think of them as a cat, rather than as your child.

Some Cats Are Used To Being The Lone Pet

cat lying on rocks
(Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Most cats do not live in groups. Lions are one of the few cats that do live in groups, coming together to hunt or to raise offspring with an organized social structure.

Most varieties of cat, big or small, prefer their own company. This sentiment is also seen in our house cats, particularly if the cat has been raised on their own.

Regardless, we can’t help imagining them as needing company, particularly as they age and start slowing down. We imagine that a kitten coming into the house will “make them young again.” Is this the truth, however?

If your cat has been living on their own into maturity, a kitten might seem like an intruder. Instead of welcoming a kitten into the household, your cat might dislike the interruption of established routines or dislike sharing spaces that have long since been considered private.

Your new kitten might end up being the target of the older cat’s attacks or might end up attacking your older cat, even if it’s just in an effort to start a game.

For the cat who has lived their entire lifetime alone, introducing a kitten later in life could lead to years of unhappiness. In such a case, it is best to avoid bringing in a new kitten, no matter how much you would like to do so.

Some Cats Are Used To Having Company

If your pet has previously lived with another cat, however, they might benefit from a new kitten. Although your cat is not experiencing sadness in quite the same way that you might, they may still miss the companionable act of mutual grooming and having another feline to curl up with.

If that describes your cat, then it’s important that you make the decision that is right for your pet, not the decision that would make you happiest.

How Should You Pick A Kitten For Your Older Cat?

cat licking younger cat
(Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

The color and sex of your new kitten is probably not of any importance to your older cat; to a certain extent, your new kitten’s breed is unimportant as well. Your most important criteria for a new kitten, then, should be based on temperament.

Any kitten is going to be more active than a mature cat, so you’ll want to keep that kitten’s adult temperament in mind when you’re considering a new companion.

If your mature cat has had a laid back and quiet personality all of their life, then avoid bringing in a kitten that will grow up to become active and inquisitive.

In general, if a cat will have a slender body type as an adult, such as a Siamese or Abyssinian, then they will be more active; if a kitten will have a stocky body as an adult, they’ll probably be less active.

So if you feel the urge to bring a new kitten into the life of your mature cat, ask yourself if your cat is comfortable in their life right now or whether they seem to be pining for a new friend.

If it turns out that the only one who will benefit from a new kitten is you, then think long and hard before bringing one into your home.

Your mature cat will thank you for it.

Have you ever introduced an older cat to a younger feline? How did you decide which cat would fit well with your more mature pet? Let us know in the comments below!

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