Can Cats Live In One Room? Surprising Answer!

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Things are changing fast and people are living in all kinds of different circumstances and situations, having a cat companion is becoming more and more popular for people that want to live differently. Having a pet cat can introduce a lot of questions to one’s lifestyle and for the cat itself, especially one living in a smaller living space.

Cats are adaptable creatures and are able to live in all types of environments. Does that mean that they can live in one room and be happy? A cat can live in one room as long as the room is at least 15 square meters. It’s possible to have more than one cat for living spaces larger than 15 square meters especially if the living area has a lot of vertical elevation. Introducing the cat to a proper meal and play routines will keep them happy and healthy within that space.

Picture 1. Latte, the Bengal cat has lived in a small room most of his life. He is as healthy and as playful as ever. Maybe too playful.

Take it from me, I have lived years in a studio apartment with 3-4 cats for years and my cats are all healthy, active, and curious. Very rarely do I have to take to them to the vet and when I do take my cats in for their routine health check, the vet is always exclaiming how healthy they are (especially their weight for being indoor cats).

I have lived with cats in rooms the size of 18 square meters, 25 square meters, and now 30 square meters – progressively getting larger but the concepts remain the same: catification, routines, and schedules.

Why Live in One Room with Cats?

There can be a lot of reasons why a cat might live in one room. These are some of the most common reasons:

  1. Inter-cat relationships (cats not getting along)
  2. Spread of illness and other contagious factors
  3. Personal living situations (just living in a small home)

Whatever the case or situation that you might be in, all cats (and animals in that matter) require their physical and emotional needs met if they’re going to lead happy and healthy lives.

When It Might Not Be a Good Idea To Keep a Cat in One Room

As mentioned above, if you’re not able to give the attention required to your cats (play, time, & general interactions), it might not be a good idea. The smaller the space that your cats are in, the more time you should spend either on catifying the space or having quality playtime with them – this is because of course, they get bored too. Therefore, if you’re at work for a majority of the day (9-10+ hours) and can only come home to sleep and feed the cats, it might not be a good time to have a pet cat yet.

Additionally, If the room is smaller than 15 square meters without any type of catification or catproofing, then it is probably not suitable for a cat to live there. Cats developing negative or destructive behaviors are increased dramatically for extremely small spaces that are not prepared properly for the cats.

How Big Should a Cat Room Be & How Many Cats Can You Have?

Maximum # of CatsMinimum Recommended Room SizeComments and Notes
1Approximately 15 square metersOne cat generally won’t be too fussed about the size nor will they care much about elevated spaces because they’re the sole owner of the space.
2-3Approximately 20 square metersWhen there are multiple cats that live in a small space – we have to think about our one room as a room with many zones. To provide more zones is to provide more vertical places to get to.

Remember, cats are territorial and if they have more territory (it doesn’t matter if it’s horizontal or vertical), the more confident they are. As a result, the a higher chance for healthy relationships between cats and humans.
4+Approximately 30+ square meters4 or more cats in a small space definitely need a lot more thought and creativity of how to use the amount of space that is available. Using racks and stacking cat furniture is recommended (see my article for tips and ideas about living with cats in a small space)

More cats mean more time/routines required to keep them busy and stimulated throughout the day. Engaging and entertaining cats can be very easy and simple, read about it in my article here!
Chart 1. Recommended Room Size & Maximum Number of Cats

How to Keep a Cat Happy in One Room

Keeping a cat happy in a room is a combination of having the right environment to keep them mentally/emotionally healthy and a routine to manage their physical health and energy levels.

Environmental preparations (catification) have a lot of benefits. These include:

  • Better cat to cat relationships – the more territories cats have to claim, the fewer conflicts that might arise between cat to cat relationships
  • More places to escape to and observe what’s happening – during noisy or intense situations, cats can escape to these special places to release stress or get away from something that might be bothering them. It’s also a great tool to get our cats off human surfaces such as the desk or computer table.
  • Confidence in their environment – a confident cat is a cat that has fewer behavioral issues (i.e. litterbox problems, destructive habits, aggression, general unfriendliness)
  • Safer for everybody – catifying frees up floor space and as a result, it lowers the risk of any injuries, tripping, and accidental stepping on of any cats!
  • More space for humans to do human things! – cats not being on the floors means that you can have your floor space back and walk around! Or sit down! Or whatever you guys do on the floor.
  • Play variety – cats don’t only want to get to high places but they also want to climb, hide, and perch. Catification allows them to do all of these things.
Picture 2. Suction cup perches and hammocks are lifesavers. See my recommended products page on which one I use!

How about having a routine and schedule for play and meals? How does this benefit a cat in one room?

  • Better able to manage their energy – not to one extreme (lethargic and sleepy the whole day) or the other (too energetic, wanting to play constantly)
  • Maintain a good weight through meal scheduling
  • Develop into more active and curious cats without being destructive
  • Stronger bonds with their butlers and other cats – you are involved with every process that creates positive feelings (food provider, and fun provider through interactive play)
  • More predictable behavior and thus can adapt to their human’s lifestyle

Can a Cat Live in a One Bedroom Apartment or Studio Apartment?

There are a lot of people living in studio apartments these days with cats or pets. There is no reason why it can’t be done with cats and humans living well despite the floor space. Cats can live fulfilled lives anywhere and it falls on us to be a little creative and compromise between cat spaces and human spaces.

As a cat owner that has lived almost exclusively with their cats in small apartments such as the one below – I will be the first to tell you that it is possible and not only that, it’s been a very fulfilling journey. Again, the concepts remain the same: routine, schedules and environmental preparation is crucial in living in these types of homes.

It’s a continual learning process and I’m always thinking about the next thing to improve or implement in my small home. One of the benefits of having cats so close to you is that they interact with everything that you do. Whatever you try to implement – it’s easy to see how effective it is on the cats. For example, there was a bit of anxiety on the addition of a cat wheel in my apartment but it was a joy to see almost all the cats use it.

In conclusion, with the correct mindset, it’s easy to live in these types of places with cats. Both the butlers and their felines can live a quality, healthy life without the need for a huge home, yard, or space.

monsieurtn

With a science background and years of experience including learning, observing, and training cats - increasing our beloved feline's welfare and wellbeing is the priority and passion.

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