Welfare of cats: getting on with other animals

Some cats are sociable animals that need, and enjoy, company. Others prefer to be on their own.

Your cat's accommodation needs

Adult cats show variable degrees of sociability and although some cats may be friendly with other cats, usually those they have grown up with, others will prefer to be on their own.

Cats that are friends generally groom and rub against each other and share the same bed.

However, many cats are happier living without other cats and can be reluctant to accept new cats. A cat may suffer if it cannot avoid other cats it does not like. Introducing cats in a patient, careful way can increase their chances of living together happily. However, keeping too many cats together can result in a stressful and unhealthy environment, which may make it difficult for you to look after each cat's individual needs.

Cats that are treated kindly from an early age usually learn to see people as friends. Socialisation with people, and other animals it is likely to come into contact with, is an essential part of early learning for a kitten. In early life, the more kittens get used to people, noises, objects and other animals, the less likely they are to find these frightening as adults. Unless introduced early in life, cats will usually be scared of other animals such as dogs.

Making sure your cat is suitably housed

You should:

  • provide regular contact, if your cat likes people, even when you are away
  • think carefully about how your existing cat will respond to company before getting a second cat
  • check, if you already own a cat, that you will be able to look after each animal properly and seek advice on the best way to introduce the new cat into the home
  • make sure, if you have cats that are not friends, that they have the opportunity to avoid each other and that they can access everything they need (for example food, water, outside space, litter tray, rest area) without having to pass one another too closely
  • not force your cat to interact with people or animals that it does not like, and make sure it can avoid them
  • provide enough extra resources (for example toys, beds, litter trays and hiding places) if more than one cat shares a living space, and give them enough space so that they can get away from one another if they want to
  • make sure your cat is properly cared for, when you are away, by a responsible person
  • make sure that when someone else is looking after your cat they are aware of their legal responsibility to look after its welfare
  • make sure that when someone else is looking after your cat that they understand the cat's needs and any special requirements it may have
  • never leave your cat unsupervised with another animal or person who may harm or frighten it
  • make sure that cats in your care are handled properly and are not stressed or endangered by other adults, children or animals

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.