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Jan. 31, 2024

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Single Kitten Syndrome

The name Single Kitten Syndrome was coined by several cat behaviorists and refers to behavioral issues in kittens caused by them being adopted into a new home without any companions. To prevent this from happening, many shelters now require for kittens to be adopted in pairs.

A single kitten

Why do they say it’s bad to adopt a single kitten?

In the first 12-14 weeks of their lives, kittens have a whole lot to learn in terms of social interaction and behavior. As humans, we can’t possibly teach a kitten how to be a cat. Say, a kitten plays roughly with one of their siblings and scratches the little one’s nose. In response to being clawed at, the sibling will probably smack or bite the other kitten to tell them to stop being rough. The kitten will now have learned not to be so rough, and it will probably remember that lesson forever. As humans, we could never teach a kitten the same valuable lessons as a member of their own species can.

How do I know if my kitten has Single Kitten Syndrome?

As kittens with Single Kitten Syndrome missed out on an important part of the socialization process and don’t have a buddy to play with either, they could become aggressive, anxious, stressed, bored, and even destructive. They might scratch the furniture, hurt you while playing as they don’t realize they’re being rough, terrorize other pets, or become extremely dependent on you, constantly seeking attention.

Kitten scratching furniture

How to avoid Single Kitten Syndrome

As you might already expect, Single Kitten Syndrome can easily be avoided by adopting at least two kittens at once. Important to note: these kittens shouldn’t necessarily be siblings, but it’s best if they are around the same age and have a strong connection already. However, if you already have an adult cat, a kitten will likely befriend them in no time. Check out our dedicated article on how to introduce a new kitten to your resident cat.


The backlash

As Single Kitten Syndrome was never scientifically proven to be ‘real’, some people claim that kittens are perfectly happy alone and that having to adopt two kittens at once will prevent people from adopting at all. However, many cat owners will contest that cats are not solitary creatures and are much happier with a buddy, whether that’s a kitten, a friendly adult cat, or perhaps even a dog. A pet friend will provide your kitten with comfort, physical and mental occupation, and lots of social contact. In that way, they can grow up to be wonderful, well-adjusted cats!