Is your apartment big enough for a cat?

September 15, 2018

Is your apartment big enough for a cat?

Photo: Hauspanther

If you’re wondering whether you have the space to house a cat companion and are confident he can adapt to apartment living, the short answer is yes.

Your home's square footage is not at all the key to the question. What is important is that you as a cat parent take the time to dish out copious amounts of love and attention while creating an enriching environment for your furry friend at the same time.

Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy calls it "catifying” the house." That means making a cat’s living space bigger than just the floor by taking advantage of your apartment’s vertical and cubic space, including areas behind and around furniture. Equipping that valuable real estate with items like cat trees and other accessories and using engaging cat toys can help you create a fascinating feline playground in your tiny apartment.

“Cats can be perfectly happy in small spaces,’’ Galaxy says. “It’s not about the size of the space. It’s what you do with it.”

For example, a 680-square-foot apartment with eight-foot ceilings offers 5,440 square feet of cubic space that, if used creatively, can be transformed into a safe and entertaining territory for your cat.

Cats are curious creatures and need adequate stimulation to keep them happy and healthy indoors. Typically, cats get that much-needed stimulation while outdoors climbing trees, chasing bugs, and scampering under bushes. Since the cats will be spending most of their time indoors in your apartment, you’ll need to find ways to mimic outdoor stimuli to satisfy your cat’s instinctive predatory behaviors and keep them content, the experts say.


To create a feline-friendly environment in your small space, try these ideas:
  • Mount a cat hammock in a window or place a cat tree near a sliding glass door. Your cat will appreciate the abundance of sunshine and enjoy having a front-row seat to the outdoors.
  • Provide your kitty with scratching posts. Not only do scratching posts enable your cat to sharpen his claws, but they also entice him to exercise in a way that’s similar to the activity he would get if he were outside scaling trees.
  • Install shelving on the walls with bridges and landings that allow your cat to explore, dangle, and perch for an overhead view of his surroundings.
  • Use toys that stir excitement and motivate your cat to employ her hunting instincts. Laser pointers can mimic a skittering bug and a wire with cardboard attachments on either end—called a Cat Dancer—simulates flying insects or birds. Both require little more than your time and playful skills.
  • Give them a small dose of the outdoors by providing access to an enclosed balcony if you have one. If it’s not enclosed, be sure to harness the cat to prevent escape or injury.
  • Try a cat exercise wheel. Similar in shape to the small wire wheels that entertain pocket pets for hours, a cat exercise wheel is like a treadmill for the four-footed athlete. OneFastCat.Com sells one of the most affordable and elegant of these devices, and with some patient training, your cat can enjoy a high-energy workout.
  • Find the ideal spot for your cat’s litter box. With so many styles and sizes available, you can find the perfect one to suit your apartment and blend with your décor. In a small space, however, it becomes vitally important to keep it clean to avoid offensive odors.
  • Place food and water bowls away from high foot-traffic areas so your cat can eat and drink where he feels safe and secure.
  • Create a private place for your cat to retreat. Although cats are in the wild social creatures, they do on occasion desire a confined space to be alone. Cardboard boxes with cut-outs make great hideaways even in small apartments.

Don’t let the fear of sharing a cramped space keep you from reaping the benefits of cat companionship. With patience and creative thinking, you can create a home that allows you and your feline friend to live happily and harmoniously! 🐈


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