How to Live with a Cat in a Small Apartment: 5 Tips

When I first moved into my apartment I was worried about it being cruel for me to keep a cat in such a small space.  I loved Mila, my adopted siamese mix, and I didn’t want to find her a new home, but I thought… would she be bored while I was at work?  Would she get enough exercise?  Would it be crowded with an animal there?  With a bit of research and some trial and error, I found a few small space solutions that worked to make both myself and Mila as comfortable as possible.

1. Keep Them Stimulated

With square footage so limited, I utilize vertical space to create different levels for her to explore.  Cats naturally like to sit at an elevated vantage point, so I give her the freedom to climb on the fridge if she wants, and on any desks or shelves.  I also cleared any space where the sun-rays hit so she can hop from the chair to the windowsill and sunbathe in an unobstructed area.  Interactive feeder toys and puzzle games can keep them engaged while you’re busy, but regularly scheduled playtime is also very important for at least 15 minutes twice a day. When cats aren’t stimulated, thats when behavioral problems begin to arise.

2. Stop Cat Litter Smell

The litter box was one of my main concerns in moving into a small apartment.  I wanted to put it somewhere hidden, but easy for my cat to find and easy for me to clean.  I measured the cupboard under my bathroom sink and found the purrfect sized litter box for it.  At first, I would keep the cupboard door slightly ajar so Mila could find her way in.  She knows how to open cupboard doors, as probably most cats do, so now I let her utilize her hunting instincts and open the door herself.  This way, she knows where it is but it stays hidden, and it keeps any odors in.

I also use the Litter Genie.  It’s a great solution for cat litter disposal that stores up to two weeks of kitty litter waste, so I didn’t have to make daily trips to the garbage bins which are located all the way in the parking structure.  It’s airtight, so all the smells and germs are locked up.  It comes mostly pre-assembled, so all you need to do out of the box is place the bag.  The best part for me, since my bathroom is the guest bathroom, is that it’s compact enough to fit in the small space between the side of my toilet and my shower, so it takes up virtually no additional space at all.

You can find more information about it and where to buy at, or on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Cat in a small apartment

3. Minimize Pet Dander & Pet Hair

Did I mention that my roommate is also allergic to cats?  As much freedom as we give her, we also maintain kitty-free zones to minimize built up pet dander and pet hair.  Mila knows she’s not allowed on the couch, so that cat fur wouldn’t pile up there.  I have special pet dander wipes that I use between pet dander allergen shampoo, but we found that the best trick is simply diligent cleaning.  We are constantly wiping down the counters, and we sweep the floor at least twice a week.  This tip is especially important if you’re allergic, but can be helpful to keep your space clean even if you’re not!

4. Get Some Plants

Plants can do a lot for a small apartment whether you have pets or not, but as a bonus they help your cat embrace their jungle instincts. Cats love plants to hide behind them, smell, and sometimes even gnaw on them. Just make sure you check that your plants are not toxic for your little friends. We had some peace lilies we had to throw out, because at first we didn’t realize how toxic they are to pets until we did a quick google search.

5. Give Them Space

As affectionate as they are, cats value their alone time.  In a small apartment this can be difficult to accommodate, but even just placing an ikea lamb skin rub over one of our lesser used dining room chairs created the perfect spot for Mila’s cozy cat naps.  Cats love anything fluffy, so even a soft rug placed in a corner by the sun would make for the perfect little nook.

Cat in a small apartment

What small space pet solutions have you tried?


(Thank you to LitterGenie for sponsoring this post.  All opinions and words are my own)


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