Just like all babies, kittens begin learning through interaction with their parents and
siblings. As I am sure you have seen, kittens play very hard with eachother. They bite and
scratch and pounce and make ferocious noises and sometimes get so rough that someone
ends up yelping. On the surface, it appears like nothing more than kittens having fun, but in
reality, they are actually teaching and learning from eachother. Among other things, they
are learning what is socially acceptable behavior, and what is not.
It’s like being in school; as they play together, they learn to hunt, to defend themselves, and how to get along with others. Kittens need the companionship and interaction with other kittens/cats as they grow, in order to learn these very important lessons. Humans, in most cases, can not teach these lessons effectively. A human can offer attention, love and caring, but when it comes to teaching a kitten all the things it needs to learn, in a way that it easily understands, we are simply no substitute for an actual feline companion.
You might think that your kitten’s playful stalking and attacking of your ankles, or biting your hand is cute and endearing, but when that kitten becomes an adult who has not learned what is acceptable, and the biting, stalking and attacking become even rougher, it’s not fun anymore. Sadly, many times these poorly socialized cats end up either being thrown outside to fend for themselves, or returned to the shelter where we will have a very hard time finding homes for them, due to their behavioral problems.
But not only do kittens teach and learn from eachother, they keep eachother well entertained! Kittens need to play for many hours daily and unfortunately, most humans these days, simply do not have that kind of time to spend playing with their kitten.
And along these same lines, adopting two kittens, or having another cat in the home is essential for mental and emotional health. Many people believe that cats are solitary creatures, but that is not true, feral cats who are free to choose how they live, tend to live in colonies; cats crave and need interaction with other cats. A single kitten or cat which must spend large parts of the day/night alone, can become not only lonely, but also bored, or even neurotic, which can lead to destructive behavior or inappropriate behavior like urinating in inappropriate places.
It is for these reasons that we almost always recommend adopting two kittens together, if there is no other cat already in the home. This is not about being able to adopt out more kittens, it is about trying to ensure that the kittens that we do find homes for, will stay in those homes for their entire lives. And that they develop happy and healthy relationships with people as well as with other animals.