How Much Space Does a Cat Need?

How Much Space Does a Cat Need
5 minutes to read

How much space do cats need to feel at home? Does the size of your cat determine whether they are comfortable living in small or big apartments? Turns out, cats don’t care much about space like we humans do.

 

An average cat will make do with about 18 square feet of space. No house is too small or too big for any cat not to thrive in. But if you are raising more than one cat, you will need more than 18 square feet.

 

As pet parents, we sometimes believe we need a bigger house for our pets to thrive in. But pets, especially cats, don’t care much about real estate. For a cat, the layout of a home is the biggest determinant of whether they will thrive in that home.

 

And there is more.

 

Cats are not big on large spaces as we humans may think. Even the tiniest of houses is perfect as long as they can claim a portion of it as their territory. If you are a pet parent looking for a home for you and your feline, space should be the list of your concerns.

 

Important

Cats only need about 18 square feet of space to call home. They also want plenty of obstacles and hiding spots in their chosen space.

 

And that’s the biggest secret you should know about cats and the spaces they live in. To put it more into perspective, these are the main things you should consider when making any cat comfortable in your space;

  • The layout of your house
  • Cat’s activity level
  • Location of the space

 

House layout

House layout for cats

Cats don’t like being out in the open because it makes them feel vulnerable. In their primal days of living and hunting in the while, open spaces made them easy targets for predators. Cats learned to hide in concealed areas. They also used this vantage point to target their prey.

If you bring a new cat home, the first thing they would do is scout the area for hidden spots. If they find no secluded areas that guarantee their privacy, they are likely to feel stressed. Possible areas cats love to hide in include;

  • Card boxes and shoeboxes
  • Behind curtains
  • Under the bed
  • Behind furniture
  • Inside empty grocery bags
  • Under potted plants
  • Behind warm appliances

When your cat looks for secluded places, they are not always trying to hide. Cats love to rest, groom, or bask in private places too. How many times have you found your feline patched atop the curtain box? Or found him snoozing in the bathroom sink.

When the house is too busy or too hectic with other pets, cats will disappear for a while to go regroup and recharge. So when planning your new house, consider adding hiding spots for your cat.

 

Cat’s activity level

Cat’s activity level

A cat with an active lifestyle will want a large area to play and explore. For such cats, big houses with a favorable layout will do for them. Another great idea is to create obstacle courses for the cat to challenge their jumping or maneuvering skills.

Put a stool in proximity to a chair so your cat can always practice jumping from one surface to the next. Alternatively, leave a small space between furniture for your cat to wiggle themselves through. This will make your active cat happier than having a big spacious house.

If your cat is more of a laid-back feline, then you do not need to go through all the hassle.

 

 

Location of space

Location of space for cats

As said before, 18 square feet of any room is enough for a cat to thrive in. Now all you need to decide is where to allocate this said space. Ideally, the base space for a cat should be;

  • Areas accessible to the cat
  • An area free from traffic
  • An area that is warmth

Cats love small spaces because they get warm faster. If a cat finds it hard to warm its body in a large space, it will retreat to find a tiny space to wiggle. This is why you find your feline mingled with the dirty clothes in the laundry basket. The area behind curtains also offers ample insulation for a cat to warm itself.

 

How much space do cats need?

Cats are likely to get distressed if they live in a place with an unfavorable layout. If your cat cannot find a secluded place where they can have some alone time or flee from the chaos, they will find it hard to cope.

 

Some of the signs that your cat is not happy with its space include;

  • Always seeking places to hide like under the bed or behind furniture
  • Spraying or peeing outside the litter box
  • Destructive behavior like clawing on seats
  • Fleeing outside whenever a door or window is opened

Your cat does not have to feel like a stranger in his own home. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your cat never feels out of place.

 

How to make small spaces cat-friendly

Keep the space your cat is clean. Cats love clean places to rest, snooze, feed, or play. Do not put the feeding or drinking bowls next to the litter box. Cats don’t poop where they eat.

Ensure your cat’s space remains warm throughout. This means a room without an AC or fan pointing directly at it. Include obstacles in this space to provide your cat with plenty of hiding places. You could rearrange furniture or add empty card boxes in the room.

Last, but not least, schedule some time to play with your cat. The more a cat bonds with you, the safer they feel living with you under one roof.

 

Video: How to Set Up Space for Foster Kittens

 

Conclusion

You do not need a mansion for your cat to feel at home. Even the smallest space is perfect for a cat as long as it is clean, warm, and has plenty of secluded locations. Start making your home cat-friendlier today!

 

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Resources

  1. Hiding Spots for Cats By Kate Miller-Wilson, cats.lovetoknow.com
  2. How Much Space Does a Pet Cat Need?  By Richard Parker, seniorcatwellness.com

See Also


Frequently Asked Questions

Measure the length and width of the space in square feet. Multiply the two numbers then divide them by 18. The answer you get represents the number of cats that will fit in that space.

18 square feet is enough for a cat even in the smallest of apartments. But if you are living with more than one cat, you may have to expand your space.

Yes, small spaces can thrive in studio apartments. You just need to make the area clean and filled with obstacles. Make areas like under your bed or behind furniture accessible. Install a shelf next to the window where your cat can bask during the day.

A cat’s size will not matter as long as it has ample space in your house to thrive in. About 18 square feet is enough for any cat to claim as its own.

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