One Cat Household: Do I Really Need a Second Cat?

I have come to realize that somewhere there must be a “universal cat owners” book. In that book, there has to be a chapter on single cat owners or the one cat household. I imagine that chapter to be one-paragraph long with the last line stating, “See the chapter on owning more than one cat.” Why would a seasoned cat owner, let alone a new cat owner want to own only one cat?

Well, based on what I have read, having one cat is the cardinal sin of the cat owners club. I am that single cat owner. I am trying to resist the cat owner peer pressure to add another cat family member.

Multi-Cat Owner: Losing Icaruss

male white cat Icaruss
Icaruss, 5/10/2010-9/29/2015

Icaruss (formerly Nolan) was my “big boy cat.” He came into my home as a rescue from the Friends of Linden Animal Shelter (FOLAS). I adopted him to be a companion for my older female cat, Mizani. When Mizani passed away due to old age, I adopted Shinxley (formerly Vixen) from FOLAS.

I had to learn to love Icaruss on his own terms. I was used to cats that enjoyed being held. Icaruss wanted no part of being held by a human. He was not overly affectionate. At least, not until he became sick.

female cat relaxed on a sofa
My baby girl cat, Shinxley, enjoying the calm of my bedroom.

He was diagnosed with Feline Human Immunodeficiency Virus (Feline HIV) after previously testing negative. A year after the diagnosis, my Icaruss started to change.

It started with spraying and urinating outside of the litterbox and wanting to live outside (he was always an inside cat) and ended with him being very mean to Shinxley. I tried everything: vet visits, feline Prozac, calming collars, Feliway diffusers, calming snacks, and as a last resort, a thunder coat. My contact at FOLAS helped me to make the very difficult decision. She knows cats, in general, and she knew my cat very well. That made it easier when I had to let him go.

One Cat Household…Really?

Although there was sadness, peace returned to my home. Shinxley now came out more often and started to play. She was even more affectionate. We developed a regular play time, which I thought would be suitable. I guess I did not take into account that 2:30 am should also be a designated play time. As a former insomniac, messing with my sleep is not an option.

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I thought my biggest hurdle was the early wake-up play time call from my cat. Actually, when you lose a cat family member, that is when you find out how many of your friends and acquaintances volunteer at animal shelters.

I have always adopted my cats from animals shelters or the Humane Society, so having friends who volunteer is a wonderful thing. However, since this was the first cat I had to put down for reasons other than old age (he was 5), my grieving process was going to take a little longer.

I was a bit taken back when three days into the grieving process I was reminded about other less fortunate cats who needed homes. I understand the need to find homes for the many kittens and adult cats that exist in shelters. I just was not expecting a pitch so soon after my cat died.

Due to other issues, I also questioned whether having one cat was the best approach. It was definitely cheaper, especially since my take-home pay has decreased during the last three years as a New Jersey teacher. Living with one cat was an attractive choice.

The pull to have a “playmate” for my cat is real. I have researched one cat households on the Internet and sadly, only the five first  entries on Google discuss this topic. The topics quickly switch to multi-cat households. How is a single woman supposed to embrace having one cat? I did not even bring up the stereotype that single women face when they own more than one cat. That is another blog post on its own.

So, I am left with the tug and the pull of whether I should get another cat to relieve me of the 2:30 am wake-up call. I live in angst. I will keep you posted.

If you are in the Union County or surrounding New Jersey area, please consider adopting a cat or dog from FOLAS. The volunteers are very knowledgeable about their cats’ personalities and will help match the perfect cat for your home. 

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