The staff at the Kentucky Humane Society quickly realized the bond between two cats that came to the shelter after the unfortunate death of their owner was something special.
Benji and Casper, it turned out, were bonded pair cats.
"They were two cats with one heart," says the Kentucky Humane Society. "They did everything together. They ate together, slept together, played together. Moreover, they became extremely depressed and anxious when separated."
The shelter eventually found someone who adopted both cats, and they are thriving in their new home.
Benji and Casper's story shows how important it is to keep bonded pair cats and bonded pair dogs together. Bonded pets, a pair of animals that for whatever reason are strongly attached to each other, can show signs of anxiety and depression when separated from each other.
They Deserve to Be Kept Together
Any animals can bond together, although it's most typically seen in animals, like Benji and Casper, that have grown up together. The animals don't have to be related to bond. Shelter and rescue staff are most often the ones to discover that a pair of animals are bonded when an attempt is made to separate them. Once that bond is recognized, shelter staff work hard to make sure the animals are adopted together.
"A truly 'bonded pair' honestly has a visible cadence that seems to control their every move and their every response to their environment. They deserve to be kept together," says English Springer Rescue America (ESRA).
However, the Denver Dumb Friends League writes, "Not all dogs (or cats) that come into our shelter together are considered bonded. Bonded pairs are typically dogs over five years old that have lived together for many years, and that show signs of stress or depression when they're separated from each other."
Double the Fun for Owners
It may take longer for bonded pets to be adopted because most people come to a shelter looking for just one animal. But for people who can handle the time and financial responsibilities that come with adopting two animals, the rewards can be immense for both the animals and their new family.
ESRA says adopting a bonded pair can ease the adjustment for the animals into their new environment because they have the familiarity of each other. It may also cut down on destructive behavior because they have a playmate and companion, which reduces boredom and separation anxiety.
And for the owners? It's double the fun.
"They bring out the silly side in each other," says Helen, a woman who fostered two bonded dogs for City Dogs Rescue in Washington D.C. "They're guaranteed to entertain you. Every day they make me laugh with their antics."
While adopting any animal — let alone two — should never be a snap decision, for those who have taken the plunge with a bonded pair the rewards can be immense.
"I got lucky. These two girls have rescued me," a man who adopted two English Springer spaniels tells ESRA. "I have never known such adoration in my life."
If you're considering adopting bonded pair pets, make sure you not only have the time and space to care for both, but also think about the financial responsibilities. You will now have twice the vet, food and toy bills. Once you've weighed all your options and have decided that you're ready to commit to adopting both pets, you're on your way to twice the cuddles and twice the love.
Kara Murphy is a freelance writer and pet parent who lives in Erie, Pa. She has a goldendoodle named Maddie.