People often think that cats are independent and they don’t need each other for socialization. But cats have best friends like humans do and will often cry for the other when separated. How can you tell if cats are bonded together?
Bonded cats will groom each other and cuddle while sleeping. They will intertwine their tails and go everywhere together. Bonded cats get very sad if they are separated, so if you want to adopt a cat from a shelter and bond with another cat, it’s best for the cats to adopt both of them.
Cats love and socialize as humans do, but it can be difficult to know if two cats are best buds. Let’s dive in to learn more!
Bonded Cats Groom Each Other
Cats show love by grooming in each other and their human companions, which stimulates the feel-good hormones that deepen bonding and friendship. A cat letting another cat groom them is a sign of extreme trust and love, so when you see cats grooming each other, they are deep friends.
This grooming behavior goes back to when mother cats groom their babies. Grooming can mean safety, security, and trust. It means that cats care about each other. You most likely noticed how your cat will groom you by licking your hand, or sometimes, your hair. They are telling you that they love you by doing this.
Touch is a one-way of cats to communicate with each other when they are bonded, and grooming is one of the main ways. It is a way to help them bond with each other, so if you see two cats grooming each other, that is a sure sign they are bonded.
Bonded Cats Will Intertwine Their Tails
Cats have pheromone glands on their faces, heads, and tails, and when they rub up against each other, they are leaving their scents on each other. They will sometimes intertwine their tails when standing next to each other, which leaves their scent on each other. When cats are bonded, they put their scent on each other for reasons that no human can understand.
It is theorized that when cats rub their heads together, they are co-mingling their scents to create contentment with each other and to strengthen their bond. Whether that’s true or not, they do have more trust and love when commingling their scents. And they are claiming each other through their scent.
Similarly, if your cat continues to rub its head against your hand or leg, it tells you that they love you and claim you as its own.
Bonded Cats Will Sleep Next to Each Other
As with humans who are bonded to each other, bonded cats will sleep next to each other. Not only does this come from a need to be with each other, but from a safety perspective. If there are predators nearby, bonded cats who sleep next to each other protect each other from dangers when outdoors while also providing warmth to each other in colder climates.
One way that cats communicate with each other is through touch. When they sleep next to each other, they will often cuddle, which tells the other that they trust and love each other. This behavior reduces stress while raising endorphins.
The other reason that bonded cats will sleep next to each other is to provide comfort and emotional security to them. If bonded cats are separated, they are often anxious and depressed and will cry for each other until reunited again, if possible.
If it’s not possible to reunite separated cats, as in the death of one cat, you might need to provide extra care, love, and support for your remaining cat.
A Bonded Pair of Cats Will Do Everything Together
When cats are bonded, they go everywhere and they do everything together, including playing. Grooming is usually a social activity between bonded animals of several species, including cats. When bonded cats play, they don’t take things too far and hurt each other because they know where the boundaries are.
They sometimes fight, however, and become hostile for brief periods. Usually, they will fight over resources such as food, water, litter boxes, or beds. Most hostilities will end as quickly as they start, and they go back to being buddies again.
However, if your cats are fighting after about 20-30 seconds, you will need to break it up. But don’t try breaking it up physically as you could get hurt in the process. Instead, try clapping your hands or dropping a dish towel between them to distract them long enough to move one of them to another location.
Generally, bonded cats are happier when they are together and have less anxiety and depression. They keep each other company while you’re at work or on vacation, so you won’t need to worry whether or not your cats will be lonely while you’re gone.
Can Bonded Cats Unbond?
Is it possible for bonded cats to become unbonded? Very few sources suggest that bonded cats break up and become unbonded. Most of the sources suggest that when cats are separated, then re-introduced, they have a more difficult time getting along. But they will quickly become friends again.
The overwhelming evidence suggests that when bonded cats are separated, they go through a grieving process much like humans when they lose their partners. They are anxious and depressed and will not eat like they did when they had their best friend.
One woman had a pair of Siamese cats who were bonded since they were kittens. The breeder didn’t want her to adopt only one, so the woman decided to adopt the pair. They were inseparable for over 14 years, but then one of the cats developed feline diabetes and only lived for nine months after being diagnosed.
The cat died, leaving his brother alone with their human companion. Since that time, his brother has been beside himself with grief and tries to get attention as much as he can. Bonded cats are unlikely ever to become unbonded.
Don’t Adopt Only One of a Bonded Pair From a Shelter
For the above reason alone, bonded cats that live in a shelter should be adopted together. In fact, shelters will stipulate that bonded cats be adopted together to have a happier life. Bonded cats that are separated will display the following behaviors:
- They refuse to eat.
- They become clingy.
- They develop anxiety and depression.
- They obsessively chew and scratch at things.
- They over-groom themselves.
- Their overall health declines.
A bonded pair of cats should not be separated, and in fact, need to be adopted together. If you can’t afford both cats, either try to work out something with the shelter or find another cat that hasn’t bonded with another cat so that you’re not separating a bonded pair. Breeders will also try to keep bonded cats together whenever possible.
Bonded cats can remain together for their lifetimes, often healthier and more well-adjusted than cats alone or separated from their partner.
If you want to add a new cat to your home in the hopes of encouraging your new cat and old cat to bond, you might end up disappointed. You can help the bonding process by transferring one cat’s scent to another cat. After you’re done petting one cat, take that scent on your hands and pet the other cat.
There’s no way to force cats to bond, as they need to have compatible personalities, much like humans.