tabby cat laying on floor in apartment

Did you know that around 39 million people in the US alone call an apartment home? For so many of us, whether we live in a big city, travel often, or simply feel calmer in a minimal space, the convenience of apartment living is a big draw. But this might lead feline lovers to wonder – what about apartment living for cats? Can a cat live happily in an apartment? Is it cruel or selfish to keep them in a smaller space?

Our motto here at Fluffy Kitty is “the best for your beast”, and we personally believe that it isn’t the size of your home, but the size of your heart that matters! 🙂

Think of it this way: a cat could be sad and lonely in a 10,000 square foot mansion, or content and well-cared for in a tiny studio apartment! It all depends on their enrichment, social time & environment. 

We’ve lived in all kinds of spaces with our furry traveling companion Yoda. From hotel rooms to campervans and villas — we have seen first hand that a cat can be perfectly happy in an apartment. Your fluffball can thrive, in fact – as long as you go the extra mile to make their world as enriching and exciting as you can. 

So we’re here to help, with the paw-fect guide to apartment living for cats, including:

  • The best cat breeds & choices for apartment living 
  • Cat proofing your apartment & balcony
  • How to enrich, challenge and excite your indoor kitty
  • The essential accessories all apartment cat owners will adore!

But first up, let’s discuss the big question at hand…

Can a Cat Live in an Apartment?

cat living in an apartment looking out window

To keep a cat healthy & happy, we need to meet all their basic needs as owners. This includes:

  • Providing regular, healthy meals with a constant supply of fresh water
  • Providing clean and comfortable environment
  • Supply stimulation, exercise opportunities & social interaction
  • Providing healthcare, vaccinations, neutering & worming
  • Ensuring they are not left alone for extended periods of time (more than 6-8 hours) 

If we can achieve all of the above, then apartment living is absolutely an option for our feline companions (or roommates!). With plenty of windows, some extra attention & enrichment work on our part – apartment kitties can totally have all their needs met. 

In fact…

Is Being Indoors Better for Cats?

grey cat living in apartment looking out on a busy road

While our wildcats do love to run around, explore & survey their territory, this doesn’t necessarily have to be an outdoor territory. 

In fact, there’s a whole host of reasons why keeping your cat indoors is often a better option – including keeping them safe from accidents & diseases, as well as helping the wildlife population recover from over-predation. 

You can read Our Top 10 Reasons to Keep Your Cat Indoors for more information on the benefits of indoor living.

However, there are a few things to consider when bringing your fluffy kitty into an indoor environment, that can help them adapt and adjust to this way of life…

Best Feline Choices for Apartment Living

  • Adopt an already indoor cat – a cat that has always lived indoors will easily suit your apartment lifestyle, and be more than happy without yard access. 
  • Adopt a senior cat – senior cats are often waiting for loving homes in shelters across the world. These low energy bundles of love are usually happy to relax in a cosy apartment, and make great companions.
  • Consider lower energy breeds – if you are looking for a kitten, think about opting for a lower energy breed. While all cats are individuals and breed choice is no guarantee of personality type, some breeds such as Ragdolls, Scottish Folds & Burmese kitties tend to have more mellow dispositions. 
  • Consider Playmates – if you can afford the cost, you should think about adopting or raising two cats together, so they can keep each other company (and entertained!). Ask local rescues or shelters if they have an already bonded pair, as this is a fantastic solution for you and the shelter too!

Can My Outdoor Cat Become an Apartment Kitty?

cat perched on window sill in apartment

Whether it is due to a change in your circumstances or a wish to keep them out of danger – turning an outdoor cat into an indoor cat is possible. While this can be a tough transition, plenty of kitties can learn to adapt (and even love) a life indoors.

  • Gradual changeif you can, slowly increase the cat’s indoor time to get them used to the idea of indoor living. 
  • Time be sure to give them plenty of time to adjust. It can take months for them to feel fully settled, but with lots of patience, extra care and oodles of attention – you can get there!
  • Extra enrichment follow the steps below to help your cat learn that apartment living can be super fun (while being much safer too).

So once you have your kitty settled into their new home, how can you make sure they have all their needs met? 

Let’s delve into our top tips for making apartment living for a cat totally purr-fect. 

How to Live With a Cat in an Apartment

1. Cat proof your pad

Cat proofing an apartment is super important, especially if they will be spending a few hours alone there while you work. We all know how much our fur-babies love to explore, so those expensive ornaments might not last long & that open window can be a real cause for concern!

  • Invest in closed storage – keeping things tucked away in lidded storage boxes or behind doors is a great way to ensure your cat isn’t getting into anything they shouldn’t.
  • Invest in wire covers – especially if you have a young kitty who just wants to play! You can slip a wire cover like this one over any wires that might look like a tempting mouse tail… 
  • Screen windows – we all love a nice breeze and some fresh air, and so do our kitties! So make sure your windows are screened to prevent any accidents or escape attempts. 
  • Audit your greenery – house plants are all the rage, right? But be sure yours aren’t on the toxic list! There’s some great ASPCA approved options out there for replacements if needed. 
cat sleeping on apartment couch with sunlight shining through window

2. Keep them active & engaged

Your second most important concern is your kitty’s wellbeing. 

As natural hunters, with no outlet for their energy, a cat can easily become bored, frustrated, and even depressed indoors. So it’s our job, as apartment dwelling owners, to make the space as enriching as possible for our paw-pals!

Also Read: Top Tips for Keeping an Indoor Cat Active

  • The 30 minute rule — as a minimum, apartment owners need to factor in half an hour of playtime a day. This makes a world of difference to your kitty’s daily life, plus they are way more likely to be more snuggly & more content. 
  • Try clicker training — a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body, so why  not try some clicker training to test your furry Einstein’s skills? Not only is it a great party trick, but it will increase your bond too.
  • Invest in engaging toys — to keep those hunting instincts happy, we’ve got the ultimate catalogue of the Best Cat Toys for Indoor Cats to give your indoor kitty the boost they need. (P.S – toilet rolls and empty egg cartons are an eco-friendly option and provide hours of fun too!)
  • Try a tree — Cat trees with scratching posts are fantastic sources of enrichment for your fur-pal. We’ve listed our favorites here, with lots of options for small spaces. 
  • Go vertical — Cats adore perch spots and climbing opportunities. And since you don’t have much horizontal space, you can work with your vertical space instead! Follow our DIY Cat Climbing Shelves Instruction Guide for an ace way to excite your cat’s indoor space. 

3. Explore the great outdoors

Indoors doesn’t mean boring – no way!

If you want to give your kitty extra enrichment, then you can still explore the great outdoors together in safe and secure ways. 

  • Convert your balcony – a balcony can be an amazing feature for your fur friend to enjoy, but it’s best they are either for supervised play only. Or go a step further and create an amazing catio out there! There’s all kinds of options for different spaces and budgets.

Check out our post on CATIOS! 5 Awesome Cat Outdoor Play Area Ideas

  • Harness & leash training – dogs aren’t the only ones who love to explore the outside world by our sides. Learning to leash walk your cat can give them an amazing sense of adventure, and provide you both boredom-busting days out together. 

Check out our Leash Walking Guide

a gray cat wearing blue harness by supakit

4. Cleaning & contentment

In a smaller space, to keep your kitty feeling comfortable & content, extra litter cleanliness is going to be a big must. 

Your mission here is a 2 parter – location & odor control.

  • Choose the right litter – as smell is probably your number one priority in a small space, check out our 10 Best Cat Litters for Odor Control. If your feline friend is on the messy side, you can think about investing in a quick clumping and dust free litter to keep the clean up time quick & painless! 
  • Choosing the right location – if you have a cat-proof balcony this can be a great option, or if not the bathroom is usually preferred. More often than not, it’s simply a case of trial and error to find the best option for you and your kitty. We’ve also got some apartment-ready litter boxes below.

5. Cat apartment accessories

Because life is always better with accessories, right? 😉

Over the years, we come across some life-saver gadgets, small space hacks & clever ideas that make all the difference for apartment living. Here are our top picks:

  • Litter Box Furniture – in a small space it’s such a bonus when items serve a dual purpose. And a litter box is no exception! That’s why we love the Unipaws Enclosed Cat Litter Box that doubles as a piece of furniture. There’s a smaller option for those studio dwellers (or this planter version is super cute too.)
  • Window Perches – to help them get those all important views of the neighbourhood. I like this Kitty Sill Cat Window, which provides a nice long lounging post. 
  • Lint Roller – a great investment for smaller shared spaces especially if your cat likes to cosy up on your favorite throw (or favorite jacket!). The Furminator is a reusable tool which means you can keep it for a lifetime too.  
  • Toy Organizer – in a tight space, I love to keep everything organized in storage baskets. It’s so much easier to have a home that feels calm & not cluttered this way. And how cute is this Cat Basket?
  • Food mats – sharing an apartment space means it’s super important to keep a tidy feeding area for your kitty. That’s why a food mat can come in handy, to contain any excess mess and keep those odours under control. This Recycled Rubber Placemat is made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials (green tick!) & wipes up easily (double green tick!).
  • Cat grass – why not add some cat-friendly greenery to your household plants? This Organic Cat Grass can help to add important natural nutrients and fiber to your kitty’s diet and help them feel a little more wild!

We hope you enjoy this guide to apartment living for cats!

Do you have an urban kitty that lives up high? How do they enjoy their apartment space? We’d love to know 🙂

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The Fluffy Kitty

The Fluffy Kitty blog inspires cat owners around the world to live a more adventurous and eco-friendly life with their cats. Read more about our story on our about us page.

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