So What’s The Deal With Littermate Syndrome?

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Many people across America have multi-pet homes and some of those pets are littermates.  Today, we’d like to cover the phenomenon of adopting pet siblings – and whether it’s bad or good.

According to our very own Dr. Lindsey, the answer to our question varies between cats and dogs.

Although it’s very tempting to take home every puppy in the litter, adopting puppy siblings can prove to be very difficult.  Puppies will tend to rely on and take cues from each other rather than looking to their owner for leadership.  This means that you may have more trouble getting their attention or teaching them basic obedience, as they’d rather play with each other than sit and listen.  Another issue that may arise is that the sibling puppies become so dependent on each other that they become fearful of strangers (dog and human alike) and become extremely stressed when they are separated.  These combined behaviors are commonly referred to as “littermate syndrome” and while this might not be the case with every set of adopted doggy siblings, it is definitely a risk.

Cats, on the other hand, are capable of being much more independent and Dr. Lindsey would even encourage getting 2 kitten siblings.  Kittens are full of energy-to the dismay of any older cats and owners.  Instead of constantly irritating the adult cat with 24/7 playtime or swatting at your feet in the middle of the night, the two kittens have the potential to wear themselves out.  As adults, siblings have stronger bonds and typically get along better than two unrelated cats; but when it comes down to it, cats are able to “make it on their own” and can still thrive without a sibling.

Have you adopted any littermates?  Let us know how things worked out in the comments below!