Tag Archives: kittens

Should I Adopt One Cat or Two?

When it comes to adopting a new cat or kitten, the question often arises is it better to adopt two so they can have companionship when we are not home? There are certainly some advantages to having two cats:

-they can chase away more spiders and mice
-you have more to snuggle up with or to pin you down in your bed
-twice the entertainment factor as they chase each other and swat tails or fall all over each other
-they can keep each other company when you are away
-they provide each other with exercise and mental stimulation
-the happier and more confident they feel together decreases the chance for behavioral problems

The disadvantages are that it does cost more for veterinary care, food, pet supplies, boarding over vacations and emergencies. Then there are the day-to-day clean up chores like changing two litter boxes, sweeping up extra cat hair and the occasional furballs or dead critters they have bestowed upon you as gifts. Additionally, cats often mimic each other, so if one scratches the furniture or marks its territory on your bed, the other may follow suit.

If you decide to get two cats, know that cats that are familiar with each other will get along easier and be more adaptable to their new home with you together. Often the shelter you adopt from can tell you two cats or kittens that appear to be compatible. They will provide you with suggestions for introducing them at the same time into your home. Kittens from the same litter have already been socialized together. They tend to know each others limits when it comes to play and tussles. They come from the same background. For example, if they were strays, they will have the special sense of survival bonding.

If you already have an adult cat at home, look for a companion with similar habits and personality. There are many websites that can help you with step by step rules for introducing a new pet with an already established one. This will ease the transition and make life enjoyable for all of you.

The best thing about adopting 2 kittens or cats is that you are saving two lives. On top of that you are enhancing your own with the fun and laughter that comes from watching them get crazy with each other!

Photo: Courtesy of a repin on Pinterest from Rapidnewstweets

Hereditary Disease in Dogs and Cats

With the cost of vet care tripling in the past ten years, it is wise to think about the breed of dog or cat that you choose. There are over 100 genetic diseases in cats and over 400 in dogs. Some have a higher prevalence in certain breeds since the animals in a breed share a smaller pool of genes. Dogs tend to have more genetic problems than cats due to cross-breeding, which cats don’t usually have. Yearly wellness check-ups can cost around $140 for kittens and puppies and up to $350 for geriatric cats and dogs. Before you shop for a new pet, it is wise to think about which breeds are more prone to inherited diseases. The following list is far from complete but gives an overview of some common health problem;

-The large dogs, such as the German Shepards and Labradors can have hip dysplasia, which is a loose fit of the ball and socket hip joint. This can require hip replacement. There is also elbow dysplasia, where the elbow joints of the front legs are malformed.

-Smaller dogs, such as Cocker Spaniels often have eye problems. These include such things as cataracts, glaucoma and dry eyes. Poodles tend to have difficulty with their trachea collapsing, endocardiosis and the pituitary gland disorder called Cushings Disease. Dachshunds can have herniated discs which are related to intervertebral disc disease.

-Mixed breed mutts rarely suffer from hereditary diseases. This should encourage people to adopt a non-purebred dog versus spending a great deal on a pet that is purebred.

-Persian cats and Himilayans are prone to hereditary eye diseases. Maine Coon cats and Persians can have a disorder of the heart muscle known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Polycystic Kidney Disease or (PKD) is also a genetic disease of Persian and other long-haired cats. It causes cysts in the kidneys which can lead to kidney failure.

-Both dogs and cats can develop diabetes. This is especially true in overweight animals.

So what is a pet lover to do? There are many laboratories that will do DNA tests to identify genetic disorders. Prices range from $50-$250 or more. It is advised that you pursue these test before you purchase your pet.

When you are thinking of getting a dog or cat, you can go to an internet website on dog or cat breeds and research a particular breed. It will show what health issues may affect your pet. If you get your dog from a reputable breeder, they will often have screened out hereditary breed-specific diseases. A prospective buyer should ask the breeder to see the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) results for the dog’s sire and dam.

Don’t be discouraged if the breed of your choice is more prone to these hereditary diseases. Many breeds live long and healthy lives in spite of the statistics. But as my vet says, a mutt is the best bet. And it sure helps the over-populated shelters and pounds!