One dog was so much fun…why not get another? And one cat loved to cuddle and take naps with you, surely a second would be twice as wonderful… Getting a second pet isn’t a bad idea, but you need to know the best scenario for doing so, and what it will require of you if you want to take the leap and get that second pet.
Two Pets, Twice The Work?
Having two pets means you will have two of everything. Twice the fun, twice the love…and twice the other
things you might not think about. Two pets will require more food, more medical care, more treats, more toys…but is that really twice the work?
In a strange way, two pets can lighten the load sometimes, when they get along. They become each other’s playmate, and take the burden off of you to be the sole source of attention. Dogs and cats are not the same in how they relate to groups, but they both benefit from being around each other. We often forget how much time we spend away from home as we go about our day of work, errands and other activities. Yet pets are always at home, wondering when we’ll get back so they can spend time with someone other than themselves.
That’s where that second pet comes in.
Dogs Are Pack Animals
Dogs, in particular, are pack animals. They like to know where they fit within the pack. As a dog owner, it is important that you establish yourself as the dominant figure in the pack. Dogs are quite content with that, in fact, as long as they know where the fit.
The problem is when you and your family are gone. Your dog spends much of its day alone and away from “the pack.” While some dogs handle this just fine, others develop behavioural issues like chewing on furniture or shredding carpet. Your dog might be a perfect angel when you’re home, but the things that happen while you’re gone are completely out of character. Unfortunately, many pet rescue centers are filled with wonderful dogs who did not handle being away from their “pack” well.
For dogs, having another pet around can be beneficial, and might be less work in some sense (though you will still need to walk, brush, feed, and care for two dogs). Not all dogs need this, however, and if you have space restrictions, or other reasons why you would not be able to handle two animals, you may wish to select a rescue dog, for example, that enjoys being a sole pet.
Cats Are Usually Independent
Cats aren’t the same as dogs in that they aren’t generally pack animals. They have a stereotypical image of being independent and not as “needy” as dogs. However, many cats love having playmates, and a multi-cat household is not uncommon.
Just as with dogs, a companion distracts your cat from destructive behaviour, or from becoming bored. Two cats also help each other with grooming and even exercise from playing with each other.Two cats only work, however, if they are well-matched in temperament and have enough physical space for them to be away from each other for alone time and hiding. You will also need to have a litter box for each cat you own, plus one. Cats must feel safe when using the litter box, and having too many cats for one litter box could lead to some litter box behaviour issues. If you live in cramped quarters, you may not have the necessary space for multiple cats.
If you’ve adopted an adult cat who has lived its life alone, introducing other adult cats to the scenario might not go well. A young kitten introduced to a solitary female might work, or a lively adolescent cat to a staid adult cat. In this scenario, the older cat helps to teach the young cat and there might not be the conflict you’d find between two adult cats forced together suddenly.
Do You Prefer Two Or One?
Many of you have had both one pet and two, and have seen the difference it can make in pet behaviour as well as the additional work required. Which did you prefer–two pets or just one–and why?