HSN Blog

Bonded Pair

Adopting two is better than one

Two beautiful, grey and white cats with jade-green eyes were rescued from Collier County Domestic Animal Services and brought to Humane Society Naples in March. Tragically, their owner had passed away, leaving Cali and Tucker orphaned and without a loving home.

The 9-year-old cats quickly won the hearts of staff and volunteers with their loving personalities. Cats this friendly would normally be adopted very quickly, but Cali and Tucker are different. The catch? They come as a matching set – minus a black smudge on Cali’s pink nose. Cali and Tucker are siblings who have never been apart. They are two cats with one heart. They do everything together. They eat together, sleep together and play together. They become depressed and anxious when separated. No doubt about it, Cali and Tucker are bonded and they need to find a home that can adopt both of them.

“Most people come into the adoption process planning to adopt one pet,” says Rachael Johnston, Marketing Manager at HSN. “It’s rare that someone comes into the shelter planning on multiple adoptions. That makes a bonded pair more challenging to place.”

Cali and Tucker are housed in Room 8 at the main shelter on Airport-Pulling Rd. Hundreds of potential adopters stop by and admire the green-eyed siblings. But, still, no one takes them home.

We’re writing this blog post to change your mind about bonded pairs or encourage you to adopt a bonded set!

What is a bonded pair?

All pets are capable of forming bonds, either with other pets or with humans. Bonded pairs of animals have generally grown up together. While often siblings, non-siblings can bond as well. Although every animal can develop bonds, there are times when these bonds are so close that one or both animals decline when not with the other.

Most bonded pairs come from the same home, but not all animals that are turned in together are bonded in a significant way. While they may like the other animal in the home, they are also capable of forming other social affiliations and are relatively comfortable on their own. In cases like this, HSN will adopt animals separately.

Keeping pairs together

“When making a decision about keeping a pair together, many factors are considered. We pay close attention to each animal’s behavior alone and with his/her friend,” explains Kristin Sampson, HSN Shelter Manager.

“If we see obvious signs of increasing stress and anxiety upon separation that doesn’t diminish as the animals settle in at the shelter, we will consider adopting them as a pair. We take their history into consideration, particularly if the previous owner has noted signs of distress when the animals were separated. It can be a bit of a process, but it’s worth it in the end to ensure the well-being of bonded pairs,” says Kristin.

This is always a difficult decision because paired animals tend to have a significantly longer length of stay in a shelter setting. However, separating a strongly bonded pair can lead to serious problems. Bonded animals who are separated may demonstrate anxiety by pacing, whining, destructive behavior, loss of appetite and generally shutting down and becoming non-interactive with people and other animals. They grieve the loss of their friend and sometimes cannot get out of that grief cycle.

The benefits of adopting a bonded pair

It’s easy to imagine the downside to adopting a bonded pair: two pets require a bigger investment in food and veterinary care. But what are the benefits of adopting a couple?

Your pets are never alone. Some pets become agitated or bored when left alone. These feelings can lead to acting out in negative ways, including the destruction of property, relapses in litter/house training and boredom eating. Pets can be anxious, and their owners can feel guilty.

If your pet has a companion, you are less likely to see these behaviors. Pets are less stressed by your departure and find ways to entertain each other that should leave your house less of a mess and your pets happier.

Pets who live together are often healthier. Anxiety can lead to physical illnesses, from hair loss to heart problems. Add to that boredom and stress eating, and you have the potential for an overweight, unhealthy pet.

Bonded pairs often play together, keeping their energy up and increasing their exercise levels. The reduction in stress will help keep their hearts healthy and their bodies fit.

Best Buddies: Cali & Tucker

We hope that Cali and Tucker can find a family who has room in their hearts and home for them both!

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