Can You Have a Cat in an Apartment?

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Can you have a cat in an apartment? Is it fair to keep a cat in an apartment? And how do you know if they’ll be happy there, or not? In this post, we’ll answer all of this and more. “Is it ok to have a cat in an apartment?!” By the end of it, you’ll know the answer, for sure! So let’s get stuck in, shall we?

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Can You Have a Cat In an Apartment?

In order to answer the ultimate question of whether you can have a cat in an apartment, let’s break down some of the most common arguments and deliberations. First up…

Is It Ok To Keep a Cat Indoors?

Did you know, almost half of domestic cats are now being kept solely indoors?!

Why? Well, 85% of those surveyed said the major reasons for keeping cats indoors related to perceptions around cat safety. Uh huh, we want to keep our “totally purrfect” furry friends alive and well!

More than half (59%) of cat owners cited concerns about traffic as the major reason for choosing an indoor-only life for their pet; with almost all owners (98.7%) influenced in some way by traffic when making their decision to keep their cat indoors. But I guess it’s no surprise really…

With urbanisation and more buildings, roadways and developments, it doesn’t always feel like a safe place to be!

The interesting thing, the growing number of indoor cats, seem to be from 26-35 year olds; and it’s happening worldwide.

However, with most of the best places to live in your 20’s and 30’s being city locations – it wouldn’t be safe to allow your furry friend to roam free!

For this reason, it’s becoming the “new norm” to keep cats indoors, which is why studies suggest that more and more cat owners are expected to keep their pets inside.

With indoor cats becoming more of a thing, having a cat in an apartment is also growing in popularity.

After all, if they’re staying inside anyway, does it really make much of a difference which type of accommodation it’s in, as long as there’s space? We’ll soon explore…

could I have a kitten in a flat

Is It Fair To Keep a Cat Indoors?

So we know now, that more cats are being kept indoors. But is it fair to keep a cat indoors?

After all, it was previously said that indoor-only animals may exhibit more undesirable and stress-linked sickness behaviours than those that have a mix of indoor and outdoor lifestyle.

However, it depends on their level of care, and there’s actually far more risks that come with outdoor cats that indoor cats don’t get…

Risks For Outdoor Cats

For example, as covered in American Humane, cats that venture outside are likely to encounter other cats, which then puts them at risk of picking up diseases like:

  • feline leukemia (FeLV)
  • feline AIDS (FIV)
  • FIP (feline infectious peritonitis)
  • feline distemper (panleukopenia)
  • upper respiratory infections (or URI).

There are also several common parasites that are more likely to be picked up by your cat when venturing outdoors. These include:

  • fleas
  • ticks
  • ear mites
  • gastrointestinal worms
  • ringworm (a fungal infection of the skin)

There’s also safety concerns for them, like:

  • Being hit by a car, or similar vehicle.
  • Being chased or attacked by loose dogs or wild animals.
  • Accidentally ingesting dangerous chemicals or toxins – like antifreeze or rodent poisons.
  • Getting stuck up trees… it sounds cliched but it does actually happen!
  • And sadly – animal cruelty. (Which is something you wouldn’t even want to think about!)

All of these can be incredibly harmful, if not fatal. Whereas when you have an indoor cat, these risks are removed.

Keeping Cats Indoors

So when it comes to, “is it fair to keep cats indoors?”, well – yes. If you’re protecting them from danger, and keeping them happy and healthy inside, doesn’t that actually seem better than fair?

Even the consensus amongst veterinarians and organizations, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), is to keep cats confined, whether indoors or outdoors. (Outdoors being, within a catio.)

Ultimately, indoor living contributes to a longer life expectancy for cats.

And sure, you could argue, “but it’s not natural / normal for cats to be inside.” Well yes, but if that’s the case – this applies not just to indoor-only cats, but indoor-outdoor cats which are allowed to do both. But here’s also the thing…

Is It Ok To Have a Cat in an Apartment?

Can You Have a Cat In an Apartment?… And Take It Outside?!

Just because you have a cat in an apartment, doesn’t mean it needs to be stuck within those apartment walls.

Cats are actually more trainable than you think; especially if you pick the right breed. This means you can train your cat to walk on a leash and ultimately take your cat on a walk!

Or, at the very least, get it used to going out in a cat travel backpack with you, so they still get the fresh air and adventure!

When you’re able to this – it doesn’t actually matter if you live in a house or an apartment. Your cat will still be getting fresh air and exercise, outdoors; but safely… with you. It’s a win, win, situation!

Is It Fair To Keep a Cat In an Apartment?

It’s not so much about where you keep your cat, but how you treat them, and how you utilise the space that you have.

  • Do you give them the love, care, time and attention that they deserve? Are you actively engaging with your cat? Keeping them active? Tiring them out? And there for them when they need?
  • Do you make time to play with them and keep them entertained? Are you playing different games with your cat? And providing them with things to keep your cat entertained when you’re busy or not there?
  • Have you fully cat-proof your apartment and ensured that they have everything that they need? Perches? Climbing frames? Scratching posts? Toys? The lot?
  • Have you prepared for when you’re out, and they’re left at home on their own? Do they have sufficient food left out? And water too? I mean, how long can cats go without water? This is all useful stuff to know!
  • Have you / are you, going into this – fully prepared – knowing what having a cat or kitten entails, how much it costs, and both the pro’s and con’s of owning a cat… but are happy with that?!

At the end of the day:

  1. You could have a cat in a house, but deprive it of love and care; vs. have a cat in an apartment and totally value it – stepping up to be the best Cat Mom / Cat Dad to make your little one the happiest it can be!
  2. Also – it really does go back to how you use that space. Cats actually need less space than you think. Like we said, it’s more important what they’ve got in it.
  3. Not to mention the fact that – houses and apartments both come in shapes and sizes. If you’re keeping your cat indoors anyway, there’s nothing to say that your apartment can’t be or won’t be, bigger than some sized houses!

Are You ALLOWED a Cat in an Apartment?

Now a big consideration that has to come into all of this, is if you’re ALLOWED to keep a cat in an apartment. This could actually be the biggest decider as to whether you can have a cat in an apartment, in all fairness.

In fact, it has been a major roadblock for many. In the UK for example, it’s estimated that one million households would like to have a cat, but can’t because they are in a rental property that doesn’t allow pets (5.2% of non-owners) – many of which are apartment properties.

Whether you personally, are allowed a cat in your apartment will vary based on where you’re based, what your situation is (renting vs. buying), what your landlord (if you have one) says, and what rules are in place.

Ultimately, it’s for you to check. But – as much as you may not want to – it is good to check.

Because yes – you could have a cat in an apartment without anyone else knowing. But if there’s an emergency, it’s good for people to be aware of your cat, so that they can get them out of the building if needed!

But presuming you don’t have the no-pets rule, and are indeed, allowed to have a cat in your apartment, let’s go back to the “debate”, shall we? 😀

indoor vs outdoor cats

What About The Practicalities?

Now of course there will, inevitably be some “practicalities” to weigh up and consider, if you’re having a cat in an apartment vs. a house. The two biggest ones are:

What About The Litter Box?

The #1 thing that comes up when considering, “Can I have a cat in an apartment?” is, “But what about the litter box? Won’t it smell?!”

After all, unless you have a balcony, you can’t get as much fresh air into an apartment as there’s no open doors, and – generally – apartments have a smaller space which you’d think would contain the smell more.

Then there’s the fact that your cat literally can’t go “to the toilet” outdoors, like outdoors-indoors cats can and do, so you have no choice but to litter train your cat and them then use it for the rest of their lives. (Or at the very least, as long as you live there!)

There’s Ways Around Everything…

The thing is, there’s things you can do to diffuse or even diminish any smell:

  • Clean it out as soon as the deed is done! That way, the smell goes straight away too. Simple, right?!
  • If you’re not always on hand, or don’t want to have to worry about it, you could also get a self-cleaning litter box, which does it all for you straight away! There’s both basic, more affordable self-cleaning litter boxes, plus more expensive, but more stylish self-cleaning litter boxes, so there’s plenty to choose from.
  • Buy / create a hidden litter box enclosure, hooded litter box, or hidden litter box, box(!), which contains the smell more; plus keeps your apartment looking nice and slick! After all, even when it’s empty, a litter box is a bit of an eye sore you’d really rather not have!
  • If you have the space – create a Cat Room to put the litter box in. This again, helps to separate it from you. It’s what we did!
  • Within your cat room / around your cat litter box enclosure – grab a timed air freshener, a diffuser (a basic one or even one of these fancy ones!) and / or have plug-in air fresheners close by. These work an absolute treat!

At the end of the day, smells can come from all kind of things anyway. But with this sort of prep – you’ll have your home feeling fresher and smelling cleaner, than many others house / home!

What About a Little Privacy?

The second big debate is about the lack of privacy, and this also comes when you have an indoor cat – even if you’re in a house versus an apartment. Your cat can’t get out, they have nowhere else to go, which means they will always be there.

This causes privacy concerns – both for you and your cat. What if one of you needs some space? Won’t it get a bit too much?

Well just remember:

  • You got (or are getting) a cat for a reason and – most of the time – you’ll only appreciate them being there.
  • You’re not stuck in your apartment. You can (and will!) go out, which gives the both of you space then.
  • If you have a clingy cat, then yes – maybe they will follow you around… Everywhere! I know Cody does! And sure – having them watch you whilst you’re in the bathroom may be a little off-putting, but you can always kindly shut the door! The two of you don’t HAVE to be clued at the hip, constantly, when you’re there!
  • Cats also sleep a lot, so they won’t be in your space 24-7 anyway.
  • But if your cat needs space also – or wanders off into the other room – the one thing I would say, is to simply let them. Allow them to do their own thing and respect it. (Even if you want cuddles in that moment in time, respect the fact that they don’t and leave them be.) This is an essential rule when it comes to building a bond with a cat and so it must be applied. Don’t force them or make them feel like they can’t “escape.” After all, it’s your cats home as well as yours now, so you want to be a good “flat mate” for them too!
is it fair to keep a cat in an apartment?

Can You Have a Cat in an Apartment?

Ultimately, any obstacles that come from having a cat in an apartment are either:

  • Still present if you have a cat in a house, or have a purely indoor cat. Fundamentally it makes little difference.
  • If there are differences between having a cat in an apartment and having a cat in a house / having an outdoor cat – there will still be pros and cons for both. (And therefore negatives on the flip side, that you don’t get if you have a cat in an apartment.)
  • Many potential issues or obstacles can be worked out and overcome. There’s solutions, you see!

That’s All For This One

So there we have it – the key things worth considering (and knowing!) when looking at if you can have a cat in an apartment.

I know, I know, this article has PROBABLY come across as a little biased (oops!), but seeing how happy our little Maine Coon is, living in my apartment with us, and feeling the benefits of having this little bundle of joy in our lives now – I want you to know that it could be an option for you too!

I hope you’ve found this valuable. Thanks for reading!

Be sure to browse our articles for more tips and tricks, to make you the very best Cat Mom or Cat Dad.

Can You Have a Cat in an Apartment?
Photo of author
Ell is the Founder of Totally Purrfect & Cat Mom to Cody, The Maine Coon. Her areas of expertise lie in Cat Care, Enrichment & Training.

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