Cats are known for their love of small and confined spaces, and unlike people, they aren’t so obsessed with the size of their living quarters. However, many people decide against adopting a new kitty thinking that the size of their home is detrimental to the cat’s well-being. This begs us to answer the question: How much space does a cat need?
Felines experience the world around them unlike us, and the size of your home doesn’t really impact the quality of your cat’s life as long it is cat-friendly. Even if you live in a studio apartment, your kitty will be content as long as you provide her with the means to expend her energy. That said, there are other factors at play too, and we will provide you with information on how much space a cat needs so you won’t have to say no to welcoming a kitty to your home.
In this article, you will learn that formulas like one cat per bedroom or 200 square feet of space per cat don’t really matter if that space lacks quality. We will share some ideas on how you can make use of the space you have and create a nice environment for your fur baby.
Does the Size of Your Home Have an Impact on a Cat’s Well-Being?
As a responsible cat owner, it is natural that you want only the best for your kitty and it is not surprising that you wonder if spatial impairment has any effect on the quality of your cat’s life.
As it turns out, there is a lot of contradictory information regarding the spatial needs of cats. Moreover, the personality, breed, and age of a cat are also factors that can determine the needs of your cat.
Some argue that 500 square feet are just the right amount of space to share with only one cat and that anything under 1000 square feet shouldn’t have more than two cats. Furthermore, some suggest that a one-bedroom apartment is large enough for one cat and that you should never have more cats than bedrooms. On the other hand, some people suggest that you should have at least 200 square feet of space per cat.
Some experts have a theory that the amount of space a cat needs is closely related to the breed. This makes sense to some extent since breeds like the Abyssinian are more active and need more room to jump and run around in.
The thing most experts agree on is that the amount of space pales in comparison to the quality of space in a cat’s eyes. It’s more important to maximize the use of the space that is available.
All felines, especially indoor-only cats, need daily exercise in order to feel happy and content and your living space needs to meet those needs. Lack of regular exercise can lead to obesity, boredom, aggression, depression and a lot more behavioral problems that are easily avoidable.
Cats are born to be sprinters, and their lithe and graceful bodies are built to support their hunting instincts. They are able to store great amounts of energy and then release it all at once in short and explosive bursts. This is good news for all of you who live in small apartments since your cat doesn’t need plenty of space to have her exercise needs met.
See Also: Best Cats for Apartments
The size of your home doesn’t really matter as long as you make it interesting to your kitty. By providing plenty of perching surfaces, a cat tree, and personal space, your cat will be content and won’t mind the actual size of your home. And since cats mostly live in a vertical world, your kitty’s furniture won’t take up space you need for your own furniture and stuff.
How to Maximize the Use of the Space You Have
As we said earlier, cats don’t measure space in meters or feet. Instead, their happiness depends on the space’s ability to meet their needs. Cats love to jump and climb, and as a result, spend the majority of their time perched in high places, which is good news for all of you with a limited amount of space.
By transforming your home to meet the needs of your cat and equip it with things that will challenge her physically, you won’t have to worry about the size of your living quarters.
Other than their exercise needs, notice that cats also need mental stimulation. Their pent-up energy, if not released properly, can be channeled to furniture, carpets, curtains, and other valuables.
Here are a few ways to maximize the use of space in your home for your cat’s happiness:
#1: Provide Perching Areas
The benefits of perches or cat shelves are that they give a cat a chance to rest and observe everything from a height, they and offer her a chance to burn energy by jumping and climbing.
One of the greatest things about perches is that you don’t have to have a lot of free space to set them up. Environmental modifications like this won’t disrupt the feel and design of your home and will at the same time keep your cat challenged.
You can install only one cat shelf and place it in a sunny spot that will offer your cat a chance to bask in the sun. There is also a lot of aesthetically pleasing perches you can buy to give your cat multiple climbing options without compromising the look of your home.
See Also: DIY Cat Window Perch
#2: Invest in a Cat Tree
Cat trees are multi-functional pieces of cat furniture that won’t take up much space in your room but will provide plenty of space for your kitty. There are different models available, and some of them are made to promote playing, lounging, scratching, jumping, and napping at the same time.
For some owners, this is an essential part of the house since it stimulates a cat to play and be active and at the same time keeps the cat away from the bed or the couch.
Even a cat tree that has only one perch and one scratching surface can go a long way in making a cat feel happier and content. And even if you are on a tight budget, there are DIY cat tree projects that you can take on to create a more cat-friendly environment from the space you have.
See Also: DIY Cat Condo
#3: Utilize the Unique Features of Your Home
If you have a long hallway in your home, utilize it by transforming it into a mini sprinting track. Cats are able to run very fast but only in short intervals, and this can be a great way for your cat to expend some of her energy.
You can throw her a paper ball, catnip-filled toy, or engage her with a feather wand. To provide a steady surface for running, it is wise to have at least a part of the hallway carpeted so your kitty won’t slip and lose her momentum.
Also, cats can spend hours laying on a window sill observing the world outside just as we get sucked into our favorite TV show. Homes with windows with great views and a lot of sun are considered top-notch real estate by cats.
If your window sills aren’t large enough to accommodate your feline, build a kitty perch on a sunny spot next to the window and let your cat enjoy watching through it.
#4: Provide Vertical Space
As we’ve said, cats spend most of their time in a vertical world which is truly a good thing if you live in a really tiny apartment. Instead of letting your kitty figure out how to jump from the sofa to the shelf and then on the top of the wardrobe, provide her with her own vertical furniture.
You can build or buy a cat walkway that will not disturb the design of your home and will create a lot of space your cat can explore and navigate. Being high up there and watching the world from above is a natural state for all cats and by providing vertical surfaces, you will significantly increase the amount of space your kitty has.
#5: Get an Outdoor Cat Enclosure
Keeping a cat inside has numerous benefits, but if you are lacking in indoor space, you may consider expanding your kitty’s territory to an outdoor cat enclosure.
People who don’t have backyards can use their terraces and transform them into an enclosed kitty paradise. These enclosures are made to keep a cat safe, entertained, but at the same time give, her the chance to experience the smells and sounds of the outdoors.
See Also: Cat Window Box DIY
#6: Dedicate a Quiet Corner for Your Kitty
Cats love to be in control of their personal space as much as we do, and that’s why every cat should have a dedicated quiet corner she can retreat to. Even though your kitty likes to sleep with you in a bed, doesn’t mean that there is no need for her to have her own bed in a peaceful corner.
Pick a spot that is away from foot traffic and drafts and set up your cat’s bedroom so she can retire into it whenever she pleases. Since cats love being in confined spaces, this corner doesn’t have to take up much of your space, and it isn’t a real problem creating one in very small homes.
See Also: Best Cat Bed
Does a Cat Need Personal Space?
You may think that your cat doesn’t need her personal space, and why should you when she isn’t often inclined to respect yours. Although your kitty loves to wrap herself around your head while you are sleeping and demands to be close and personal with you every meal, she likes to be in control of her personal space.
While you may find your cat’s invasion of privacy funny and adorable, your kitty won’t feel the same way and can develop a host of behavioral problems.
#1: Let Your Cat Eat in Peace
While people love to be surrounded by friends and family and share a meal in a good company, cats aren’t social eaters. Cats want to feel secure and eat their meal in peace, which can be a difficulty if you live in a multi-cat household.
Moreover, a more dominant cat can intimidate and steal the food of a weaker feline, which causes stress, reluctance to eat, and fear.
If you own more than one cat, it is important to separate them during meals, and in no way push them to share meals from one bowl. Some cats can tolerate one another if their bowls are close to each other while others need to be fed in separate rooms.
If you only have one feline, there is no need to stay and watch her eat since she can perceive you as a threat and develop anxiety as a result.
#2: Don’t Pressure Your Cat into Social Interactions
Cats are by no means anti-social. Still, a few cats will run at the front door every time the bell rings. We understand that you want to show and brag about your lovely feline to all your guests, but thrusting a cat into a social interaction without her acceptance is a breach of her personal space.
This is a common mistake many owners make, and it can result in aggression and fear towards strangers.
Let your kitty decide if and when she wants to make her appearance and don’t pressure her into interactions she isn’t interested in. You should also tell your guests to ignore the cat until she makes the first move and is ready to be introduced.
Once a cat starts feeling comfortable in her environment and not threatened by guests, she will start to act like the normal cuddly self.
See Also: How to Socialize a Cat
#3: Give Your Cat Time to Adjust to the New Kitty
It is proven that cats benefit from having another cat as their friend. However, cats are also very territorial animals. Your cat may perceive the new furry companion as a threat to her safety and lash out if you push them to be fast friends.
Give your cat time to adjust to the new situation and allow them a chance to get to know each other on their terms.
Also, some cats can feel unwanted and less loved with the adoption of a new kitty, and it is important that you don’t neglect them during this period. Furthermore, if a cat is used to be the sole focus of your attention, it can be harder for her to adjust to the new situation which can cause depression.
Spend time with your cat and show her that you still love and appreciate her as before until her insecurities and doubts are gone.
#4: Provide Enough Litter Boxes
Cats are very particular about their bathroom hygiene and doing their business in privacy is a big deal for most cats. Try to figure out where your cat is feeling safest and position the litter box there. If a cat isn’t feeling safe, she won’t use the litter box, and you will have to spend a lot of time and energy cleaning after her.
In multi-cat households, it is advised that the number of litter boxes exceeds the number of cats by one. That way, every cat has their own box, and the extra one can be used in cases of emergency. Place the litter boxes around the house, so they cover the safe zones of all cats to ensure their personal space security.
There is a lot of contradictory information regarding how much space a cat needs in a home. As far as we can tell, the size of your home isn’t of any significance to your cat as long as it is cat-friendly and makes your kitty feel secure in it.
Cats find that the quality of the space is more important than its size, and will have no problems living in studio apartments as long as they are physically and mentally challenged in it.
Unlike dogs, cats don’t require ample space to expend their energy and be entertained, so there is no reason to dismiss getting a new cat based solely on the size of your real estate. And even if you worry that you don’t have enough space for a cat, there are ways to increase its size by adding vertical surfaces, a cat tree, perches, and enclosed outdoor areas.
Did you move your cat from a larger to a smaller home? Can you tell where she was happier? Share your experience with us in the comment section below. Also, you should check out our article on how to introduce a cat to a new home.