Owning a Cat In An Apartment: Helpful Information to Know

By John Platt Jr. February 24, 2019

Let’s face it: Some of us live in apartments, but we still want to have a lovable furry friend to keep us company. Renting an apartment means we will have to deal with pet policies and living in a smaller space compared to a house. Even if there isn’t a no-dog policy, many prospective pet owners are discouraged from getting a dog because of the space constraints inside an apartment. Large dogs require too much space to exercise for an apartment to be considered adequate living. Thus, some pet owners choose to get cats instead since they are perfectly suited for apartment living!

Cats are so suited to apartment life that most apartment pet policies allow 1 or 2 cats per apartment even if they have a no-dog policy. There is absolutely zero reason to think you couldn’t own a cat in an apartment (unless the apartment is incredibly small and you struggle to fit all of your belongings inside or your apartment complex has a no-cat policy). Whether you already own a cat or you’re thinking about getting one, here are some tips if your residence is an apartment.

1. Clean the litter box daily

Many cat owners, especially those of us that live in houses, get a little lax with our home maintenance, especially when it comes to the litter box. It’s no one’s favorite chore, so we tend to ignore it and avoid it. However, if you’re a cat owner living in an apartment, you should be actively cleaning your litter box at least once a day. Not only is it sanitary, but it will also keep the smell from spreading around your already cramped place.

In addition to sanitation, a clean litter box keeps your cat happy. Your cat is more likely to be destructive and standoffish when his or her litter box is full because they don’t feel comfortable going to the bathroom there. In addition, your cat is less likely to have an accident if he or she knows that the litter box is a clean place for them to go. If you need help with litter box management, read our helpful list of things to consider.

2. Hide the litter box in plain sight

It’s no secret that the litter box can be gross. This leads many cat owners to place the litter box in more private areas such as basements and closets. However, apartment owners don’t have the luxury of a basement or extra closet space. Thus, the litter box becomes not only a smell and hygiene issue but also an eyesore. If you live in an apartment, you might consider buying a litter box that’s designed to hide in plain sight. Fancy litter boxes aren’t the only way you can hide the litter box though! Plenty of furniture makers are catching on to the need that cat owners have for discreet litter boxes. However, not all cats will want to use a hidden litter box. So search for one that works for your living situation and your cat.

3. There is no privacy

One thing you should know before you get a cat (or you already know if you already have a cat) is that there is zero privacy in a home with one of these furry friends. In the first few weeks your cat spends in your apartment, it’ll explore every nook, cranny, corner, and crawlspace it can fit into. You should make sure before you bring the cat into your home that you do a deep clean and ensure those places stay clean while your cat lives in the space with you.

The no-privacy rule also extends to the bathroom! Be sure you close your door and that it latches tightly, lest you find your self the victim of a cat staring at you while you are in the shower. Your cat is also likely to cozy up on the rug or sit right outside the door if you spend some time in the bathroom. They hate being far away from you!

4. Buy quiet toys, or at least hide the noisy ones at night

Your cat, if not put in a crate or locked in a room at night, will likely have free roam of your apartment. Your cat isn’t considerate when he or she wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. If your cat is a fan of bells, balls, or the scratching post, you’ve likely been woken up in the middle of the night by what sounds like a break in. Since your cat is descended from a long lineage of hunting animals, they have an instinctual need to hunt at night, making them active when we’re sleeping. Try buying toys without bells, preferably toys that are made of a cloth material so they make no noise when they bang into the floor or furniture. Head on over to our shop where you can purchase our Sisal Cat Scratching toy, a toy that’s certain to keep your kitty entertained while also keeping them quiet!

4. Kitty-proof your apartment

Some cats watch us so intently they’ve figured out how to open doors, and they know that windows open. If you have a cat in an apartment, you should reinforce the window screens. That way if your cat sees something it likes outside with the window open, it’s less likely to end up jumping through the screen. In addition, you might consider a physical locking mechanism on your window if the cat has learned how to open the window! If your cat is one that has learned to open doors, buy child-proofing handles for your doors so that your cat can’t let him or herself out in the middle of the night for a snack. Without opposable thumbs, it should be pretty hard for your cat to get through some of the stuff that even toddlers can’t get through.

5. Vacuum and sweep often

Cats shed regardless of hair length. You may not see it as much because they groom themselves regularly, but their hair will gather on just about everything. Moreover, their hair becomes much more noticeable in small spaces such as apartments. If you’re a cat owner that lives in an apartment, a vacuum cleaner that is designed to pull pet fur out of carpets and furniture is one of the best investments you can make.

By vacuuming and sweeping often, you also eliminate the spread of cat litter, which your beloved companion will track around the place unintentionally. It’s not their fault; sometimes a bit of litter gets stuck between their pads or clumps onto their feet and falls off. However, there’s nothing worse than walking around your place barefoot when everything is covered in what feels like sand but is a lot less hygienic!

6. Buy challenging, thought-provoking toys

Although your kitten probably loves that weird specific thing that you find absolutely strange (for my tortie, it’s plastic drinking straws), buying toys designed to encourage brain activity and critical thinking skills are good for your cat too! If you live in an apartment, the cat’s surroundings don’t change often. Once they’re used to their surroundings, they stop flexing their “brain muscles.” Doesn’t the saying go “Idle paws are the devil’s playthings?” Keeping your cat entertained, engaged, and thinking will go a long way in ensuring good behavior. If you want to keep your cat mentally stimulated, then read our article about exploring your cat’s senses and ways to provide an enriching environment.

7. Place perches at varying heights in different rooms

Cats love to be in high places. If you live in an apartment, especially one with few windows or natural lighting, perches and cat towers are your best friend! Because your place lacks windows, your cat is going to become bored very quickly not being able to see the world outside. However, you can vary how they see the apartment they live in by providing perches around your place that vary in height. Your cat will enjoy each new perspective, plus it helps to keep them off your coffee table, TV stand, and countertops!

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