To some people cats are like potato chips – you can’t have just one. While a whole litter of cats can seem like a cute, instant furry family, squeezing them into a tiny apartment may prove challenging. How many cats are too many for an apartment?
In addition to how many, what type of breeds are favored for apartment life as well. Cat breeds that don’t shed, are more docile and are naturally more domesticated to dwell in smaller environments with little or no outdoor spaces.
Unless you are a cat hoarder or run a cat sanctuary there is no reason to have 20 cats running around your house. Most cat owners are perfectly happy with 1 or 2 cats, maybe three or four at the most.
There are many factors you need to consider before bringing cats into an apartment space, mainly the amount of room you will have. Here are some things to take into consideration before adding a new feline addition to your small space.
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9 Things to Consider Before Adopting a House Cat
1. Check with the Landlord or Property Management First
Many apartments have rules for having pets. If your apartment does except pets there may be breed and weight restrictions (even for cats) and how many you can have at one time.
Some landlords accept pets on a case-to-case basis depending on your past references, or what type of cat you have, i.e. is it an older, mature cat that sits around all day and doesn’t have the energy for mass destruction?
Specifically, some apartments like a 1 or 2 bedroom may accept pets, but a studio apartment does not. Check with the property management before adopting a new pet.
There may be a small deposit or monthly fee to have a cat in your place. In general, most newer apartments accept pets due to the overwhelming amount of pet owners that there are today, and cats are usually more accepted than dogs, especially larger dogs.
After you’ve checked with your landlord or property management company decide how many cats you can financially and otherwise have the ability to care for. Take into consideration buying your cat’s food, litter, and accessories, vet visits, pet sitting and boarding expenses, and also the time you have available to care for them. With the rising costs of food, pet food is no exception.
Most pet food companies are beginning to use more natural, grain-free ingredients and the cost of food, especially quality food for your pet is on the rise. Adding additional cats will increase those monthly food costs.
Remember owning a cat is a commitment for its life that can extend to 20+ years. Be prepared to take on the care and expenses of your cat(s) for a good length of time.
3. Litter Box Control
One of the biggest factors to consider when owning cats is making sure you have ample space for the clunky portable toilet cats come to know as cat’s litter box. When owning multiple cats it is suggested that you have two litter boxes or more to adequately provide sanitary relief for your cats.
Cats are very finicky and are masters of cleanliness so even a speckle of waste in their box can often disgust them into not using it.
Cats are also fussy about other cats using their litter box so by having more than one you give them options to mark their territory and feel more comfortable using despite other cats in the household.
In addition to having space for two or more litter boxes, the scent of a litter box is also something to consider. There are self-cleaning litter boxes for those who don’t wish to clean their cat’s litter.
Keeping small spaces smelling like spring gardens is no simple task. Candles and other home fragrances tend to just put a band-aid on the stinky problem and are not always healthy for the human. Keeping a clean litter box is a constant task morning through the night with multiple cats.
In an apartment situation if you are not able to fit the litter box in the bathroom you will need to be creative in finding a space that makes it comfortable and accessible for your cat and out of your way. It’s best to use litter with odor control.
Sometimes having a roommate can prove challenging, but imagine having a roommate who is allergic to cats. When considering how many cats are too many for your apartment it might be wise to check in with the roommate or friend or family member who shares space with you.
Different factors can include allergies, an affinity for cats, how many cats the roommate may already have, sharing common space with the cat, i.e. food bowl in kitchen and litter box in the bathroom. Having cats is like having another roommate that doesn’t pay rent or wash the dishes, so make sure your housemate is okay with adding a cat to the mix.
5. Nocturnal Nuisance
Cats are nocturnal which means when the sun sets that’s their cue to turn up the party. Cats are sleeping beauties during the day, but at night they are normally wide awake and ready to play. If you’re not awake, they’ll find plenty of ways to entertain themselves around the apartment.
One cat is noisy but add another and then another in the mix and you’ll have flashbacks of all those frat parties you used to crash in college. This might prove to be a nuisance for not only you or a possible roommate situation, but also if you are living above another unit.
Even laser playtime can prove to be a loud ruckus for someone living below you. Make sure you are able to sleep in tight quarters with loud felines who don’t care much about humans getting a good night’s rest.
6. Cat Hair Don’t Care
“How many cats is too many?” is a question to weigh in ounces of fur. Cat hair does not care about your new black pants, your navy blue sofa, or your morning bowl of cereal. Cat hair makes your home and you will find it everywhere. Your vacuum will look like it just sucked up a month’s worth of dirt fuzz after just one day – yes you must vacuum daily (okay every other day).
You’ll be checking any food you put in your mouth to see if you will catch a taste of feline fuzz – cat owners have probably unknowingly consumed enough to make their own hairball.
If you can’t handle cat grooming, being overcome with cat hair in your apartment, and thinking twice about buying black clothes when shopping then maybe keeping your cats to a manageable minimum is a good plan. Remember when living in a tiny space a little cat hair becomes tons of cat hair pretty quick.
7. Cats Have Different Personalities
There is no one mold of a house cat. They all have very unique personalities which may include different eating habits, sleeping habits, play habits, and of course temperaments. Having multiple cats in an apartment may be challenging if the cats are needing their space not only from humans but also from other cats.
Cats need their own private, personal space which may include a dark nook and cranny, a comfortable chair or under the bed, a cat house, or a cat tree. Cats are territorial so it’s possible that fights may break out over whose secret spot is whose.
Cats also have different eating habits which may include spilling over the bowl of water or food, allergies to certain proteins like chicken, and only wanting to drink out of the bathroom sink.
In an apartment setting, having multiple cat bowls and food choices can get your space cluttered pretty quickly. Having multiple cats in an apartment can also turn your home into a crowded jungle gym with various cat scratching posts, beds, play tunnels, tons of mouse toys, and other cat furniture around the house.
Some cats may like to scratch different types of surfaces so with multiple cats you may have to have several options for them at one time – hopefully, one not being your sofa.
8. There is no such thing as personal space
Living in an apartment with cats you’ll find cats will make the apartment their own and take it upon themselves to explore and/or claim all territory as theirs. You may find cats on your kitchen counter-tops, atop your fridge, lounging on windowsills, sleeping in bathroom sinks… there is no privacy in an apartment.
And while these furry roommates can be quite entertaining and good company, having too many in a small space can make for uncompromising situations. Try to watch your favorite television show with a cat’s tail dangling over the screen, trying to take a shower with cats staring at you from outside the shower door, and cat owners know the trials of trying to make a bed with cats – at least they could do is help with the fitted sheet.
9. Best Cat Breeds For Apartments
While most any cat breed is domesticated enough for apartment dwelling, there are some cat breeds that are more suited for the small space life than others.
For allergy sufferers, there are hypoallergenic cats, like Sphynx cat (imagine the cat from Austin Powers, Mr. Bigglesworth) is a hairless cat that is both friendly and playful and of course easy to clean – just remember to keep it warm in the winter months!
Siamese cats are playful and have a doglike personality. They love to follow their owners around and engage in playtime.
Russian Blue cats have a very docile demeanor and are more reserved than other cat breeds. Some cat experts believe this breed is of higher intelligence and is empathetic to human emotions and also easier to train.
Persian cats are one of the quietest breeds. They have a mild temperament in addition to other positive traits for an apartment: social with strangers, affectionate towards owners, and are very into taking care of their hygiene – aka clean freaks.
How many cats are too many for an apartment is entirely up to the owner (and of course any restrictions from your landlord). In addition to how much space you may have for extra pets in your apartment, owners have to take into consideration financial costs, long-term stability, the time you can spend caring for them, and the quality of life you can give your cats.
Cats are by nature independent and do not need as much personal attention as dogs do, however they do need constant care when it comes to keeping their space tidy and well kept. Apartment lease terms average one year so cat owners may need to keep in mind how often they plan on moving with multiple cats.
Cats get settled and are not fond of being moved around from place to place, especially when it comes to carriers and cars. However, cats are a great company, even if you choose to have just one or two cats in your apartment, there will be lots of joy with lots of added cat hair.
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