How Much Space Does Cat Need?

Cats are well known for spending most of their time curled up in a tight ball of fur. However, this does not mean they can live happily in a cage. Cats need room to be relaxed and healthy. Good cat caretakers will wonder, “how much space does a cat need?”

How much space does a cat need depends on the cat’s background and whether it is living alone or with others? Cats in shelters or rescue facilities need more space than a cat at a forever home because of the stress.

Cats in the Wild

Feral cats or stray cats need larger spaces than indoor cats. This is because cats are predators and hunt prey for food. Feral cats range over wide territories in order to find enough prey (or scraps of human food) to survive.

According to a two-year study by the University of Illinois, toms (males) possess larger territories than queens (females.) One male had a whopping 1,351 acres (547 hectares) to patrol. Fortunately, a cat that’s fed regularly needs a lot less space.

How Many Square Feet Do Cats Need?

Hoarding is a big problem. This is when too many animals are crammed into too small of a space, leading to many health issues like eye infections and hair loss. Cats crammed together tend to fight.

A general rule is no more than one cat per bedroom. Other rooms in the house – unless it is a whole floor like a furnished basement, don’t count. One cat needs 500 square feet. This keeps beds, exercise areas, food bowls, and litter pans enough room to make a happy cat.

How Big of an Apartment Do I Need for a Cat?

Cats are one of the few pets that are allowed in many apartment buildings. However, too many cats in one apartment are too much of a good thing. To be safe, any apartment under 500 square feet should only have one cat.

Remember that you need to keep the food bowl and the litter pan as far apart as possible. You do not like eating next to an unflushed, full toilet. Cats don’t like eating next to litter boxes. Be sure to clean the litter box at least twice a day in order to keep the apartment from stinking.

How Much Space Does a Cat Need in a Shelter?

Once upon a time, cats in animal shelters were tossed into cages barely large enough for them to turn around in. Animal welfare organizations saw that cats in larger rooms or communal areas were more relaxed and more responsive to people thinking of adopting a cat.

The American Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPCA) recommends that each cat in a communal cat room have at least 18 square feet. Beds or perches need to be at least three feet apart. Any closer and the cats will fight.

Can Cats From Communal Rooms In Shelters Do Okay in Smaller Spaces?

If you go to a shelter and see a kitty you’d like to adopt in a big cat room where many cats are, do not worry about your apartment is small. Cats living by themselves usually adjust to smaller quarters because they do not have to worry about competing with other cats.

Make a small room larger by getting cat furniture he or she can climb on. Smearing some catnip on these encourages a cat to explore the new kitty condo. A window perch gives the cat a kind of “cat TV” to keep him or her occupied.

What About Outdoor Cat Runs or Cat Patios?

Many cats hanker for the outdoors – but only for a little while. Their owners spoil them with outdoor cat runs, also called cat patios, where they can go outside safely. You can build one, but there are many pre-made to buy from stores and websites.

The bare minimum for one of these is six feet by eight feet for one cat. If you want more than one cat at a time to use the cat enclosure, then it needs to be larger. Cats should not live in these structures but just stay there for a few hours at most.

A Note About Cats From Kitten Mills

Just as there are puppy mills, so there are kitten mills. Fortunately, many organizations help to rescue the breeding stock from these horror factories. Cats live out their lives in cages barely large enough to turn around in. They sleep in their own filth. The cage is their whole world.

When adopted, these cats may seem frightened of even a small apartment. It’s just too much space! The whole WORLD has gotten bigger! They are not used to anything larger than their old cages. Be patient and give the cats time to adjust. It may take weeks or months, but they will.

In Conclusion: Before Bringing Home a Kitty

The best time to find out how much space do cats need to live in is before bringing a furry friend home. The more cats you have, the more space is needed. Indoor cats need far less space than outdoor or stray cats because they do not need to worry about other cats or getting food.

Although each cat is different and has different needs, a general rule is one bedroom for one cat. Do you keep cats in apartments? Do you have any more questions? Feel free to comment, ask questions or share your feline experiences below.

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