How Do Littermates Get Along As Adult Cats?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Kittens often form tight-knit bonds with their littermates.

    Kittens often form tight-knit bonds with their littermates.

    If you're looking for a couple of furry feline additions to welcome into your home, a pair of littermates may be exactly what you need. When kittens are together practically nonstop since day one, they tend to bond very intensely with each other -- and often for life.

    Social Development

    The early days and weeks of a kitten's life are vital when it comes to social development. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a kitten's littermates play an integral role during these stages. From playful roughhousing and mutual grooming sessions to cuddling and comforting each other, the presence of littermates enables kittens to grow and thrive in an interactive, soothing and dependable environment.
    "Rough play" is a very important factor in a kitten's early growth. From tackling, pouncing, clutching and even biting a littermate, a kitten learns early on how to play without being too aggressive. After all, biting or scratching too hard ends with the other kitty giving up or even returning the "favor" -- no fun.

    Sibling Bond

    Because of all of the togetherness and social lessons, it's not much of a shocker that kittens often establish strong bonds with their littermates. The connection between siblings is so undeniable that many kitten rescues and adoption agencies refuse to adopt bonded siblings out individually. If a pair of siblings comes as a team, they come as a team. Separation of bonded kitties may lead to major separation anxiety issues, and perhaps even future behavioral problems.

    Getting Along as Adults

    No exact answer exists for determining how a pair of littermates will get along as adults. The reality is that it depends on the specific pair. Some littermates get along famously well into adulthood -- just as they did as wee kittens. Others, not so much, unfortunately. Even if two littermates were previously happy as clams together, things can change. Dynamics can change greatly, whether due to competition for the attention of an owner, pure territorial conflict or any other possible variable.

    Adopting as a Duo

    If your heart is set on adopting two cats, however, littermates may be the way to go. Although you do risk the chance of the little ones not getting along perfectly in the future, remember that cats are often very devoted to family and not too easy on newbies. The Humane Society of North Texas recommends adopting littermates for this simple reason. If the mere idea of permanently dueling cats in your home makes you cringe, look into adopting littermates. Since the little guys are used to each other, you may experience the joy of two peaceful and practically synchronized fluff balls -- aww.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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