Why We Adopt Kittens in Pairs

VOKRA prides itself on is matching the perfect cat with the perfect adopter. We constantly review our policies and procedures and look for trends where matches have failed and the cats have been returned.

Unfortunately we’ve found a number of young cats are coming back to us with behavioural problems, such as nipping and biting. When we tried to discover a pattern, we found many of the cats were adopted out as young, singles kittens and did not have the opportunity to “learn their manners” from their mother or littermates. If the kittens haven’t learned their manners from another cat, they will push their boundaries with their human companions. The rough house play with humans that is adorable when the kitten is very young can turn into nipping and biting behavior when they are older. This is not what we want for the cat or for the adopters and so we have opted to keep our single kittens a little longer to ensure they're better socialized when adopted to a new home.

Our foster parents and foster coordinators work together to determine how the kittens are best to be adopted out as they grow up. During this process, a lot of kittens have formed strong bonds with their siblings in the litter and must be adopted together. In other instances, it’s been observed that kittens would not do well as an only kitty and would do best in a home with a resident or “buddy” kitty.

As a result, we do not have many younger kittens under the age of 12 months suitable to go home as a single kitty (i.e. the only animal in the household) and there may be a long wait for a single kitty to become available for adoption.

Here are some of the reasons why kittens do better in pairs:

Kitten socialization

Kittens are still in the learning stages and they learn from their mother, their environment and from each other. Kitten-to-kitten interaction and playtime are actually valuable educational opportunities to help them develop important social skills that will be needed later in life. They learn how to communicate and interpret each other’s signals, how hard to bite during playtime and how to share territory. In the case of a litter of kittens, the siblings have been together since birth and are already well into this process. They’re already bonded by the time you come along as a potential adoptive cat parent. What a great way to start!

Another benefit when you’re considering a kitten, is that in the case of adoption and/or rescue, the kittens may have been without their mother. As is often the case in rescue, the kittens are even too young to be away from their littermates. So much learning and socialization take place in the early part of a kitten’s life. If you adopt a pair, the socialization can continue and they can create security and comfort for each other.

Kittens learn from each other

If you’ve ever been around kittens you know they are on the move and into everything. Kittenhood is such an important time of learning about emerging skills. When jumping, the kitten is learning about how to gauge distances. When walking along narrow objects, the kitten is learning about balance. This time in a kitten’s life that looks to us to be mere play or curiosity is actually an important part of kitten education. There are so many lessons taking place as kittens stalk, play, leap, climb, tumble, use their claws, practice posturing, etc. Since they also learn by observation, a pair of kittens will help each other through this education. This applies to everything from using the litter box to what objects are safe to land on and what ones aren’t. A more inquisitive kitten may help a more reluctant kitten to blossom.

Read more about why two is better than one at www.catbehaviorassociates.com/adopting-a-kitten-make-it-a-double/

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