How to Have a Cat in a Small Apartment

Indoor cat with cat teaser

Lets face it, house and apartment sizes seem to be getting smaller and smaller, which means our feline friends are having less and less room to play in. If your cat is a totally-indoors cat, then it is important to provide a good stimulating environment for them to live in. So here are 6 Tips in maximizing your space for your feline.

1. Perching

Having a good cat tree or cat condo is a great way to maximize the vertical space that you have. Buying a cat condo that has high platforms, scratching posts, and hidy-holes are a great way to increase the amount of play area your cat has. You can also get shelving specifically designed as a perch for you cat, that gives them a space off the ground where they can look at the world below them.

2. Toys

Play time will be an essentially part of an indoor cats lifestyle. They need a way to let out energy, and play time with cat toys is a great way to stimulate your cats mind, as well as giving them some exercise. lazer pointers are good in this respect since you can have your cat running up and down halls, trying to chase the tiny dot. Just make sure that you point the lazer at a toy towards the end so they can have some satisfaction in catching the darn thing. Other ideas are cat wands or cat dancers that have a wand like handle with an attachment. These are another good way to play with your cat as they try to catch the little teasers on the ends.

3. Feeders

Feeders can be another good way to exercise your cats mind. Some feeders work like puzzles, where cats have to work to get their food out of small holes. This also has a double advantage for cats that are overweight as it means they can only eat so much food at one time. There are also small balls that you can put treats inside that work similar to feeders as they slowly release the treats inside.

4. Balcony access and being outside

If you live in an apartment with a balcony, this can be a great way to give your cat some outside time. Just make sure that you put a harness on your cat, since they could try to jump if they think they can do so “safely”. Just sitting there while letting them wander is a good relaxing experience for you and your cat. There is also the possibility of walking your cat to stimulate them ever further, and getting some exercise in along the way.

5. Tricks

Tricks can be a fun way for you and your cat to bond. Teaching them a few simple tricks like ‘sit’ and ‘paw’ are fun, easy ways to stimulate your cat’s mind. Like with dogs, this is far easier to do with cats that are food motivated. But do not worry if this does not sound like your cat, a little patience can go a long way, you just need to find what your cat bonds with most (like a toy or catnip).

6. Litter box

Keeping your cat’s litter box clean and easily accessible is a vital part of living with your cat in a smaller apartment. First of all, it helps to minimize the smell, and it keeps your cat happier and healthier. Its also important to keep the litter box constantly accessible since that will avoid any “accidents”.

Just Remember

The most important thing here is to just have fun with it. Switch up the layout of your floor set-up every few months to keep it interesting. Introduce new toys and cycle through them to keep your cat stimulated. There are many things you can do but most importantly make sure to give them lots of love!

Can You Walk Your Cat?

How to walk a cat

Walking the cat

Cats are not often associated with being walked, however that does not mean that it is impossible. Cats, like dogs, do like a little bit of outdoor exploration and a cat on a leash is the perfect way to let your cat roam the outside world safely. Cats that are already raised to be outdoor cats may not take to the leash well since they already do plenty of exploration on their own. The leash is more a way for indoor cats, who do not spend time outdoors, to safely explore and roam with their human companion.

Training your cat with the Harness

The first step is just to let the cat wear the harness around the house to let them get used to it. Since the harness attaches to the upper torso (around the neck and shoulders), it may take a while for the cat to get used to walking in the harness. Just make sure it is not too tight. Once they are used to the feel of the harness, you can attach the lead and let them drag that along behind them so they can feel its pull. This first stage usually takes place over a few days. You want to cat to be as comfortable as possible in the harness and leash before taking them outside.

When they are ready, you can start by taking the cat outside into your yard (or closest outside area) and just letting them wonder around with you holding the leash. After a few days the next step is taking it beyond the confines of your home and onto the streets. Just be careful of passing dogs since they may try to “play” with your cat. Try not to pull on your leash, since most cats don’t like being told where to go, so let your cat wonder at their own pace, exploring their new environments.

The important thing to remember when training your cat is to let your cat gradually get used to the idea of walking outside on a leash. They may be quite resistant if you try to make them do too much at once, so slowly taking it step by step is a good way to increase your likelihood of being able to walk your cat.

Walking young cats vs old cats

It is generally easier to train a younger cat to walk. They are still learning about what they like and dislike and are more inquisitive about the outside world.  The important thing is consistency and letting the cat explore at its own pace.

Older cats may take longer to train since they are more reluctant to be on a leash and may already have mixed feelings about the outside world. It just means that an owner with an older cat will need more patience and you may need more encouragement from treats to get the cat feeling comfortable with the harness.

Just Remember

Not all cats will want to walk outside on a harness. If that is the case, just forcing them will do more damage than good. Respect their independence and you can always try again in a year when they are older and may be looking for more stimulating activities.