I can bet that you’ve heard one too many times how you shouldn’t get only one kitten and how two are the optimal number. But have you ever thought about the reasons why? Have you heard about single kitten syndrome? That’s something we’ll talk about today.
Most pet shops or animal shelters won’t let you take just one kitten if you want to adopt such a young cat. That’s particularly because of this syndrome, and we’ll talk about it below. You have to keep in mind that not every kitten will have single kitten syndrome.
This completely depends on your cat’s behavior and personality, as well as on how you treat her at home. If you spend enough time with your feline, help with grooming, and if you play with her often, it’s highly unlikely that she’ll have these problems.
So, let’s find out what single kitten syndrome actually is and what you can do to prevent it.
What is single kitten syndrome?
Single kitten syndrome is actually a group of behavioral problems that show up in cats when they grow up alone. I guess that you know by now how kittens are learning everything from older felines. Therefore, they may show some bad traits if they grow up on their own, away from other cats.
Usually, if kittens are bought or adopted when they are between 4 to 6 months old, they may develop single kitten syndrome. But, what does that mean? How can you know if your cat is affected?
To put it simply, your cat is going to be needy and aggressive at the same time. Your fluff will bite and scratch excessively. She’ll be loud and she may even develop separation anxiety. Most of the time, she’ll keep you up at night because of the extra energy she has.
As I mentioned at the beginning, not every cat will have these problems. However, let’s go through the things that can happen if you adopt just one kitty. In case you’re suspecting that your furball may have single kitten syndrome, here’s what to look out for.
What can happen if you adopt just one kitten?
There are a couple of problems in your kitty’s behavior that will be visible if she has single kitten syndrome. Not only will she show these while she’s little, but you’ll also be able to spot some things as she’s growing up.
We mentioned them shortly earlier, so let’s explain them a bit more now.
If your kitty is spending a lot of time alone, she may start feeling anxious. Don’t be surprised if she develops separation anxiety as well. She’s not going to behave properly and you can forget about going on longer trips.
2. Destructive behavior
When I’m talking about destructive behavior, I mean that your kitty will scratch a lot, literally. She’ll destroy your furniture, your plants, and even your hands when you play with her. She’s basically unaware of how strong her claws are and what she’s actually doing with them.
3. Litter box problems
If your cat has single kitten syndrome she may pee outside of her litter box to mark her territory (or simply because she’s a mischievous little devil). When kittens are growing up with other cats, older or not, they learn basic catiquette.
Being the only feline in the household won’t help with training and it would be definitely easier if you can adopt two of them. Again, it completely depends on the cat’s personality. But, most of them will struggle because they don’t have an example to follow.
4. Loss of appetite
Having single kitten syndrome is tightly related to separating bonded cats. When these fluffs are stressed, depressed, or anxious, the first sign that you’ll notice is the loss of appetite. Your feline won’t eat enough, or won’t eat at all since she feels alone.
Call it what you want, but your feline will need you a lot. If your furbaby is suffering from single kitten syndrome, she’ll need you constantly. You’re the only friend she has and spending time with you will be utterly important.
For that reason, she’ll be extremely attached to you and will definitely require a lot of attention and affection from your side. If you’re not ready to be present in your kitten’s life all the time, it would be better if you adopt two of them at the same time.
How to prevent single kitten syndrome?
Of course, as with any problem, this one too has a solution; a couple of them if I’m being honest. In the next part, you’ll be able to read more about each one of them. In order to prevent single kitten syndrome or ease the consequences, here’s what you can do.
1. Adopt two kittens
I know that adopting a kitten is a lot of work, but trust me when I say that adopting two is easier. You won’t need to spend too much time playing with them, because they will mainly play with each other. Also, if one is a better learner, the other will follow as well.
Cats have a tendency to learn from other felines, older or not, so having another one in your home will greatly help you in raising your furbaby. You can either get two from the start or in case your feline starts showing symptoms of single kitten syndrome, get her company.
It can be a cat from the same litter, or you can adopt her buddy from the shelter. It’s going to be beneficial for both of you in fact. You won’t need to spare too much of your time to train and entertain them both.
When they play together, cats scratch and bite each other, so they’ll quickly learn what’s good and what’s bad, what hurts and what’s okay.
2. Extend playtime
If you’re sure that you can’t afford to have two kitties, then make sure that you spend a lot of time playing with your fluff. You can also get her out to socialize or ask your bestie to bring her furbaby next time she visits.
That way, your feline will explore the cat’s world first-hand and get that much-needed experience. However, before you decide to randomly connect two cats for playtime and leave them alone while you drink coffee, you have to make sure that their temperaments match.
3. Buy her a lot of toys
No, I’m not exaggerating – buy your fluff a lot of interactive toys if you want to prevent single kitten syndrome. I know that this may be an expensive investment, but having a scratch post, some balls that she can chase, or feather toys, will definitely help her to get familiar with her abilities.
She may not be aware of how powerful she is right from the start, but I guarantee you that she’ll learn with time. This eventually means that you won’t have to bother with a lot of scars and bite marks all over your hands.
4. Adopt an older cat into your household
And we come back to adopting another fluff into your home. As they are getting older, felines lose their initial kittens’ energy, so they won’t be as active as youngsters. For this reason, having an older cat by your kitten’s side is going to be extremely helpful.
She can teach your furbaby some essential things like how to use the litter box, or how not to destroy your furniture. Older cats require less time and energy from your side, and they’re in the advantage of explaining the basics since they’re meowing the same language.
It may sound scary to adopt two cats at the same time, and it’s even scarier to think about two kittens running around your house. Trust me when I say that it’s easier than having just one feline aboard.
When you decide to have two fluffs, it’s double the happiness, half less work than normal, and a lot of candid moments while you watch them play. They’ll help each other as they’re growing up and they’ll create an incredible bond – with one another and with you!