There's a reason so many cat owners refer to their beloved pets as their kids. Kittens are indeed very much like children. Like kids, kittens are curious, and they crave constant attention. Also like children, young cats will fall into trouble when left to entertain themselves. The casualties of this mischief may appear to be the owners' curtains and furniture, but the true victims are the cats themselves who desperately need playmates.
While adopting a kitten is certainly an admirable undertaking, the social side effects of taking a kitten away from his mother and littermates must also be considered. Young cats depend on these fellow species members for essential socialization in the first several months of life. Although it usually isn't feasible to keep a mother and all her kittens together, siblings can often be placed in pairs. A genetic link is not however a necessity; adopting two kittens of similar age will yield the same positive results.
As much as you may love your new kitten, one thing you cannot offer him is feline companionship. A human's energy level simply cannot match that of a young cat. Even if you spend a great deal of time at home, you also cannot be available to your new pet at all times. Having a fellow kitten in the household can help occupy your cat while you tend to necessary tasks such as housework and bill paying -- and when you need to leave the house.
The benefits of bringing home two cats instead of one extend to the new owners, as well. A single kitten will likely keep an owner up at night, continuing to play long after the lights have been turned off. A pair of young cats, on the other hand, will often entertain each other -- effectively tiring each other out while their owners sleep like babies.
If you already own an adult cat, it is especially important that you provide your new kitten with a young playmate. Older pets lack the energy of younger ones, and they usually run short on tolerance, too. Being pounced on repeatedly by the new arrival will likely irritate your adult animal. Your younger cat may also feel frustrated by the adult cat's unwillingness to join him in active play. The result is two animals who will share a home but will unlikely ever share a bond.
The most important consideration should always be the welfare of any animal you bring into your home. If you cannot realistically handle the increased responsibility of adopting two kittens instead of one, consider taking home an older cat who will respond better to being an only pet. Our nation's shelters are overflowing with adult cats that desperately need homes.
If you are concerned that your new kittens will grow closer to each other than to you, rest assured that nothing can replace the role of a loving owner. Just as children love both their siblings and their parents, cats also value both their fellow felines and the humans in their lives. By providing your new cat with a sibling of his own, you will make him a happier animal, and happy animals make the best pets.