Is a Studio Apartment Too Small for a Cat?

Owning a cat can be a big responsibility, and prospective cat owners should familiarize themselves with the environment they should create to ensure their pet remains happy and healthy throughout its lifetime. However, moving to a different residence in the future is something that many cat owners fail to take into account when they first get their pet. 

Cats are considered low-maintenance pets that learn to adapt to just about any environment. However, that isn’t to say that every environment is ideal for a cat. 

Many cats are dissatisfied with living in cramped studio apartments. However, you can still find ways to make them feel more comfortable. In this guide, we will go over some ways to tell if your studio apartment is too small for your cat, as well as how to solve this problem.

How Big is a Studio Apartment?

Before discussing whether a studio apartment is too small for a cat, it is important to learn about the typical size of a studio apartment. So how big is the average studio apartment?

The average size of a studio apartment in the United States is approximately 600 square feet, with many being as small as 500 square feet. By comparison, the average hotel room is around 400 square feet in size.

This means your new residence will be a bit roomier than a standard hotel room. This may seem like a lot of space, given that comparison. However, it is important to note that all your belongings will take up a fair amount of space in your apartment.

You wouldn’t typically put all your items in a hotel room, so your studio apartment living space will feel less spacious than a hotel room once you have moved all your items into it.

How Much Space Do Cats Need?

Unfortunately, there is no set answer to the question, “How much space do cats need?”. Some people recommend offering a minimum of 18 square feet of space for your cat. However, this space still might not be enough to keep your cat happy.

What Factors Determine How Much Space Your Cat Needs?

There are multiple factors that could impact how much space your cat needs. This includes:

Your Cat’s Breed and Size

Your cat’s breed and size could play a vital role in how much space it needs to stay happy. For example, Maine Coons are the biggest domestic cat breed, growing up to 40 inches in length. These cats will need more living space than a Munchkin cat, which grows to be only about 18 inches in length.

Indoor or Outdoor Cat

The term “outdoor cat” is usually reserved for feral or stray cats that live on the streets. However, there are also many types of household cats that enjoy spending most of their day outdoors. These cats tend to be very active and enjoy moving around, even once they are back in their indoor living space.

Such outdoor cats may need more indoor space to stay happy, especially if you live in an area with a cold climate and cannot let them roam outside during freezing or snowy winter months.

Indoor cats tend to be more docile and remain confined within a small space in their homes. Their urge to see the outside world is usually limited to sitting by the window or balcony, so you won’t have to worry about them needing too much space.

How Many Cats You Own

An important consideration to keep in mind is how many cats you intend to keep in your studio apartment. A studio apartment could offer more than enough space for one cat. However, it will become more difficult to keep your pets happy if you own multiple felines. 

Every cat needs a bit of space to call its own to be happy. Some of these felines can get extremely territorial, so it is best to ensure they can be comfortably spaced apart in your home. 

One study found that cats need anywhere from 1 to 3 meters of individual space when housed with other cats. This means you could comfortably house up to three cats in a studio apartment. However, you will still need to be careful about each cat’s temperament to ensure they are fine with living in relatively close proximity to other cats.

Your Home’s Layout

Your studio apartment’s layout could also impact how your cat feels about living there. A studio apartment’s design is meant to fit all living areas, such as a kitchen, living room, dining room, and bedroom into one room. If your studio apartment features this type of open arrangement, it may leave your cat feeling as though it is confined to a single room.

Some studio apartments have closed-off sections, such as a sleeping area or a kitchen bedroom with a partition wall. Such apartments give your cat different rooms to move to when they want to. This allows them to get away from your other pets as needed to catch up on some alone time.

How to Tell If Your Studio apartment is Too Small For Your Cat?

As you can see, there are plenty of factors that influence whether your cat will be happy living in your studio apartment. This makes it tricky to know if your new apartment will be too small to accommodate them. 

Here are some signs your cat is unhappy with living in a studio apartment.

  1. Destructive Behavior

Cats might engage in destructive behavior for a number of reasons. This could be as simple as boredom, in which case you will need to spend more time playing with your cat and give them toys to keep them occupied.

In some cases, a cat that feels confined in a small apartment will also engage in destructive behavior. So if you see your cat chewing on random objects or scratching your leather couch repeatedly despite having plenty of dedicated items for these activities, it may be acting out due to not having enough space.

  1. Urinating Outside Its Dedicated Litter Box

Your cat may also be hinting that it needs more space if it has begun urinating outside its litter box. This issue can also occur if your cat is experiencing health problems such as kidney disease, diabetes, or a urinary tract infection.

Once you have ruled out these health problems, you can try moving your cat’s litter box to other sides of your studio apartment. If the problem persists, it could indicate that your feline needs more space.

  1. Looking for Spaces to Hide In

Some cats have a general tendency to hide in and around objects. This includes jumping into boxes and tucking themselves under the couch. However, this behavior can also indicate that they aren’t satisfied with their living space.

It might sound counterintuitive for a cat to be hiding in a small space if your apartment is too small. But these felines could simply be trying to avoid seeing how limited their full living space actually is by doing so.

  1. Attempting to Escape

Does your cat attempt to leap out the front door the moment you leave it open? Escape attempts are one of the clearest signs that your cat is dissatisfied with living in a small apartment. 

This sign can be especially concerning as you might not be able to catch your feline in time, and this may lead to you losing them. 

What To Do If Your Cat Is Dissatisfied With Living In Your Studio Apartment?

If you’re certain that your cat is dissatisfied with living in your studio apartment, you might feel as though you can’t do anything about it. Moving to a bigger apartment simply for your cat’s sake might not be a feasible option.

The good news is that you might be able to help your cat feel more comfortable in your current studio apartment by making a few changes. This includes:

Adding Vertical Spaces

Cats perceive spaces differently than we do. This means giving them a vertical space in an otherwise confined studio apartment can give them the feeling of being in a new spot.

So consider setting up a cat tree or some shelves along your wall. Your cat will enjoy climbing these whenever it wants to get away from being on the ground. This solution also works great if you have multiple cats and want to give each one a bit of extra space.

Create Partitions

Creating semi-confined partitions in your studio apartment is another great way to give your cat the perception of having more space. So consider adding a partition wall to your sleeping area or living room if you can.

If your landlord doesn’t permit you to do this, you can always hang up a certain to give your cat the illusion of having a separate room with a solid partition.

Move Your Furniture Around

You can also try changing up your furniture arrangement to create more open floor space for your cat. So you could consider getting rid of that oversized coffee table and replacing it with a smaller one or moving your couch away from your dining table.

A few small arrangement changes may be all you need to help your cat feel more comfortable at home in your studio apartment.

Helping Your Cat Stay Happy In Your Studio Apartment

The tips mentioned above should help you identify when your cat is feeling unhappy living in your studio apartment and also remedy the problem. Living with your cat can be a rewarding experience, so be sure to follow the tips mentioned above to keep them happy.

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