Can I Adopt Cats from The Same Litter? A Vet Explains

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The decision to welcome a new feline family member is very exciting. But what about welcoming more than one cat to your family? It can be overwhelmingly difficult to choose when you meet a litter of kittens, so what happens if you fall in love with two of them?

The idea of adopting two cats from the same litter can be influenced by a number of factors, and you might be wondering if this is something you should even be considering.

Quick Overview

01

Adopting cats from the same litter is a good idea as they have already formed close family bonds.

02

Cats from the same litter learn from one another and provide each other companionship, which helps them transition well into their new home.

03

Littermates are more likely live together harmoniously than unrelated cats, but in some cases they don’t always get along.

If you plan on adopting two cats, adopting from the same litter is always a good idea and can make things easier. Littermates will transition into their new family and life more smoothly than unrelated cats, and will learn and grow up together.

In their first few months of life, kittens learn from their siblings and their mom. They develop close bonds within the litter, and they practice how to play and hunt together. It’s an essential part of their development, which will continue as they grow if they remain together.

But there are still a number of factors to consider, such as whether having two cats is right for you, or whether to adopt a male or female, so let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in adopting cats from the same litter and whether it’s the right choice for your family.

Also Read: 10 Key Questions To Ask Before Adopting A New Cat

Advantages Of Adopting Cats From The Same Litter

Adopting two kittens from the same litter offers many positive benefits for both kittens.

Many cat owners worry about their pet being lonely, so will often choose to adopt two cats to provide them with a companion. This is a really strong reason to adopt cats from the same litter, as they have already formed close family bonds with one another.

Coming into a new home with a new routine is stressful and scary for kittens, and littermates will gain a lot of comfort from one another during this process. Whereas introducing cats that are not related can lead to problems and challenges as this stress is amplified.

It can take a lot of time and patience for unrelated cats to accept one another within the social group and this can lead to anxiety and behavior problems. Littermates are far more likely to get along and enjoy each other’s company. Many animal rescues will encourage new cat owners to adopt a pair from the same litter for these reasons.

Also Read: Do Cats Get Lonely Without Other Cats?

Another benefit of adopting cats from the same litter is that they have already established a hierarchy between them. This means there won’t be too much fighting or stress to establish a dynamic—the cats will already know where they stand with one another.

This is especially important when adopting adult cats. Introducing unrelated adult cats can be very stressful for them, and rather than companionship it can often lead to stress.

Kittens play and fight with their siblings, just like humans do. So, they quickly learn what’s acceptable, and what’s not. Biting, nipping, and chasing one another are all normal kitten activities, and littermates will know what their siblings will tolerate and how to interact, and what they won’t! This is because they understand cues, and in a way will train each other. This means they are learning from one another how to behave correctly.

Other reasons why adopting cats from the same litter is a great idea:

  • They will always have a playmate to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, as well as to prevent boredom, loneliness, and anxiety
  • It helps with socialization
  • They will groom one another, and sleep together
  • They will feel comfort and safety in one another’s company
  • They will explore the world together growing up
  • They might look out for each other and keep each other safe

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Like Me But Not My Husband?

Problems With Adopting Cats From The Same Litter

Though littermates usually get along well, personality differences might lead to squabbling later in life.

But it isn’t always fun and games adopting kittens from the same litter, there can be some problems as well. Just like humans, family members don’t always get along all the time. We might assume that our cats will have a lifelong sibling bond and always get along, but the truth is that sometimes they fight, too.

Cats don’t actually reach social maturity until they are 18 months old, so there is a chance that they might drift as they get older and spend less time playing and sleeping together.

Cats can also become too reliant on one another and develop littermate syndrome—when they are fearful of any new people or animals, suffer anxiety when separated even for short periods of time, and struggle to develop basic behavioral/obedience skills.

You must also consider whether adopting two cats is the right decision for your family and your lifestyle. Two cats mean double the expense with two mouths to feed, double vet visits to pay, etc.

You’ll need to ensure you have the space in your home to allow them to have enough litter boxes—one per cat plus one extra as a rule—as well as enough toys, food bowls, water bowls, and space to play and sleep either together or separately. Although cats love to play and sleep together, they will also need time to themselves.

Adopting Littermates: Male Or Female?

If you choose to adopt a male and a female, be sure to have them spayed or neutered before 4 months of age.

There’s also the problem of whether to adopt a male-male, male-female, or female-female pair. As kittens, cats will form the same bonds with one another regardless of gender. But as they grow up and develop, male cats could be more likely to show aggression toward one another, especially for the spot of being top in the hierarchy.

But the biggest concern new pet owners have is whether they should adopt a male and female litter mate. The short answer is that yes, you absolutely can, but as long as they are both neutered before the female has her first season.

Cats reach sexual maturity at just 4 months of age, which means a female can get pregnant and have kittens from that point onwards. It also means a male will start to show interest in females at this time, even if they are related.

This means that littermates must be neutered at around 4 months of age before a female comes into season to avoid any unwanted pregnancies. You must always speak to your veterinarian who will guide you on the most appropriate time to neuter your cats and provide you with information on what is involved.

Also Read: Early-Age Spaying & Neutering Of Cats

Adopting Littermates: Final Thoughts

If you know you want two cats to join your family, adopting siblings from the same litter is a great idea.

Welcoming new cats into your home is an exciting time, and adopting from the same litter can help this process to go a lot more smoothly. If adopting two cats is the right decision for your family, an animal shelter employee or breeder will be able to tell you which littermates have formed the closest bonds and are suitable to be homed together.

Adopting kittens from the same litter is better than adopting unrelated cats as they have already formed bonds, and will continue to learn, play, and explore together. But it can also come with problems as siblings don’t always get along and you’ll need to neuter a mixed-gender pair before they reach sexual maturity. Always speak to your local shelter, breeder, or vet about whether adopting cats from the same litter is right for your family.

Also Read: Do Cats Enjoy Sex Or Mating?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it a good idea to get two kittens from the same litter? 

Yes, kittens from the same litter have already formed a bond and are more likely to get along and settle into their new home well.

Is it a good idea to adopt brother and sister kittens? 

You can adopt brother and sister kittens, as long as you are aware they will both need to be neutered before the female has her first season to avoid pregnancy.

Can you keep brother and sister cats? 

Yes, you can keep brother and sister cats, as long as they are neutered before the female has her first season to avoid pregnancy.

Do cats from the same litter recognize each other? 

Cats do recognize their littermates, as they form close family bonds during the first few weeks of life.

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About Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS

Dr. Joanna Woodnutt (MRCVS) is a small animal veterinarian and writer who is passionate about helping owners to learn more about their pets in order to improve animal welfare. She loves to write and wants to empower owners to make the best decisions for their pets by giving them all the information they need. In her spare time, she takes consultations on the small island of Guernsey.

One thought on “Can I Adopt Cats from The Same Litter? A Vet Explains

  1. Bob Howison

    The main issure is after one of them dies. The mourning can go on for ages, even leading to depression and a loss of appetite. Much human attention is needed.

    Reply

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