Cat-Friendly Apartments: Making the Most of a Small Space
Turning small living spaces into cat-friendly apartments is easy. Cats don’t mind the lack of legroom the way a human might, says Carole Wilbourn, The Cat Therapist. In fact, many cats purposely tuck themselves into impossibly small crevices for privacy and stress relief.
“They’re fine in a studio apartment,” says Wilbourn, who lives in New York City, aka the land of small apartments. “When cats are upset, they go into small spaces. We do, too. We go into the tub!”
Cat parents still have to do their part to ensure their furry roommates have everything they need. Stocking up on cat supplies, particularly those that maximize your small space, can help make your cat more comfortable.
“Cats need a quiet place, a private place to hang out, and it needs its litter box away from the traffic,” says Wilbourn. “It needs its food in a convenient spot. It likes to climb, so a place that’s high that it can hang out in, and it needs spaces to crawl into to be away from things.”
If your kitty’s needs go unmet, you might encounter bad behavior from your feline friend.
“Deviant behaviors, such as not using the litter box, or being aggressive, or being shy or withdrawn, or being destructive—that’s how they communicate to the person that they’re anxious and that something is wrong,” Wilbourn explains.
Where to Put the Litter Box
In a tiny apartment, it can be difficult to find a space for your cat’s litter box.
Cats that crave privacy might love a litter box hidden (and out of your way) in a cabinet or closet, Wilbourn says.
If space is limited and you have no other choice but to put the box out in the open, look for products that allow you to camouflage it (both the box and the odor!).
The New Age Pet ecoFLEX litter loo is a great option for cats who enjoy a little privacy when answering the call of nature. The litter box goes inside an end table. You don’t even have to see the cat litter box. No more dodging it in your tiny bathroom. Added bonus? You gain an attractive piece of furniture.
As anyone who has lived in a small city apartment knows, a bad smell, such as cat poop, can quickly take over the whole room. Products like the Litter Genie cat litter disposal system seem made for this type of situation. It essentially acts a diaper pail, trapping the stinky litter inside until you can get to the trash outside.
Another odor-control option is the Tidy Cats Breeze cat litter box system, which uses litter to help capture solids, and a grate and absorbent pad to whisk liquid away. For cats who want privacy, consider the Tidy Cats breeze hooded cat litter box system.
Making Use of Vertical Space
When you don’t have a lot of floor space to work with, go up! Utilize the space on your walls by installing cat shelves from which your kitty can perch. Cat shelves offer our feline friends a place to climb, to survey their kingdom and to catch some ZZZs. Allow your cats to climb and scratch with the Katris Mix & Match scratcher, which can be hung on the wall like a shelf when used with the Katris wall mount kit.
If you have big windows in your place, a kitty porch or a window seat, like K&H Pet Products EZ Window Mount, lets your cat safely watch busy urban life, which helps keep him entertained when you’re not home. Some also double as scratchers, like K&H Pet Products’ EZ Mount Window Scratcher.
“A few scratching posts” also satisfy your cat’s need to scratch and don’t take up much floor space, says Wilbourn. Another option is a cat tree, which satisfies a cat’s desire to both scratch and climb, Wilbourn says. A ladder leaned against the wall might do, as well.
Don’t forget to be consistent in praising cats when they use a scratcher, Wilbourn adds, so they don’t start using your limited city apartment furniture to stretch their claws instead.
Space-Saving Supplies for Playing and Sleeping
Even though you live in a small space, cats still need to exercise and have a comfy place to sleep. Maximize your space by opting for collapsible items that can be easily stored away when not in use.
For apartment cats, cat toys are a great way to have your cat get some exercise or just a fun way to get some bonding time together. Cats sometimes like to run through and hide in tunnels, Wilbourn points out. Frisco’s Crinkle Play Tunnel saves space by allowing you to fold it up and store it after playtime is over.
A pair of paper bags pushed together will do in a pinch for an easy, disposable option for cat playtime, Wilbourn adds.
A covered cat bed, like Frisco’s Igloo Bed Cave, provides cats with yet another place to hide (and, of course, sleep). Frisco’s bed also flattens for easy storage. Help your kitty drift off to dreamland with low, soft music. It can be calming, especially while the cat’s favorite person is away, Wilbourn says.
Optimizing Outdoor Space
Think outside the box and make use of space outside of your apartment. Pet-friendly apartments might allow a cat to go for a walk in the apartment hallway, Wilbourn says, or even visit with the neighbors. Try a kitty stroller, like the Paws & Pals deluxe folding stroller, to venture outdoors with a more gregarious pet, she suggests.
“It just adds a little bit of variety, and it’s a nice little adventure they can do together,” says Wilbourn.
The bottom line? Keep an apartment cat happy by “giving them what they need,” says Wilbourn, from a climbing apparatus to a clean and private litter box.
By: Rose Sala