I know some cats would be very miserable if they couldn't go outside. But I was wondering if there is such a thing as an "apartment cat" where a cat would be perfectly happy to live in a small flat (20~30 m2)?

Also, some kind of studies or "scientific evidence" would be appreciated as answers.


We have a few existing posts about how much space a cat needs, I have included some below. Your area is large enough for a cat. But even a larger space will not be sufficient without enough enrichment, so having toys, and things to climb on will make a big difference.

Each cat is going to have a unique personality. So you need to consider the cats personality when choosing your pet. A cat with a history of living on a farm, is not going to do as well as one who spent their entire previous life in a small apartment.

Most cities that have small flats are also going to have cat rescues or shelters. Contact a cat rescue near you, should give you opportunity to find a cat that is good match for you and your apartment.


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    "Each cat is going to have a unique personality." Technically, cats are not persons so they have felinalities, not personalities. I have a pair that are very different from each other, but they both are fine in a small space, even if they don't always get along with each other (it's really just tolerating each other). – Ron Maupin Nov 26 '18 at 3:36
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    @RonMaupin you are clearly failing to anthropomorphism here:) – James Jenkins Nov 26 '18 at 13:06

It is totally dependent upon the age at which you adopt the cat and current environment of the cat if the cat is an adult cat.

If you are adopting an already grown up cat habituated to outside life, it will be very stressful for the cat. But if the grown up cat was previously habituated to a small closed environment it should not be a problem. You only need to give the cat some time to get habituated to the new environment.

On the other hand, if you take in a kitten who has never experienced outside world, it should not be a problem at all.

Also there are some cat breeds who are more adapted for living inside small apartments than others.
Check out:
Best Cat Breeds for Apartment Living

They say Ragdoll, Main Coon, Siamese, Bengal, and Sphinx breeds do well.

Also a key to overcoming limited horizontal space for cats is utilizing vertical space. Cat trees are excellent for this purpose. Search for cat trees on e-commerce sites or go to the nearest pet store.

A lots of cat toys is also key to cat happiness for cats living in small apartments.
Check out:
Treat Your Cat to … Different Types of Cat Toys

They include Tunnels, Exercise wheels, Climbing toys, and laser pointers.

For further reading, check out:

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    This is a good answer but it is very dependent on outside links. If we have an existing post that provides the same info as one of your outside links, you should use our posts instead. If we don't have the same info, as one of your links you should summarize the info in the link and use the link as reference. – James Jenkins Nov 25 '18 at 16:55
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    Agreed on everything except the laser pointers. There are considerable amounts of people concerned that laser pointers are actual stressful for cats (the very short version: Because they never get the stress relief of actually having caught something). – Tom Nov 26 '18 at 12:59
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    The article about which cats do best in apartments is just wrong. They barely mention that several of the breeds they picked as "best" tend to be high energy and will want to do a lot of climbing at active play. Great cats, but better if they can have another cat friend and a play space that won't disturb you in the middle of the night, both of which are going to be hard in a tiny apartment. (Personal recommendation: Get an adult cat from a shelter and pick based on personality, they can let you know which ones are actually low energy.) – user3067860 Nov 26 '18 at 19:19
  • +1 for mentioning that you should use vertical space (e.g., cat trees) – mhwombat Dec 19 '18 at 0:37

I can only give you an answer from personal experience. I adopted two kittens from an animal shelter when I was living in three storey townhouse that had three floors: the main floor, upstairs, and a basement. I raised them to be entirely indoor cats. When they were 13, we moved to a small bachelor apartment. They seemed to do just fine there despite having much less space to roam around. But they never really took advantage of the space in the townhouse anyway; they mostly hung around with me. And slept a lot, as cats always do. They had no desire to go outside and didn't even spend a lot of time in the windows except perhaps to bask on a very sunny day in either the townhouse or the apartment.


As for the question of one cat or two, I deliberately chose to have two kittens for the same reasons others have given: so that they would have company of their own species, even on the occasions where I wasn't home. In hindsight, I'm not sure that was a great idea. They were initially unrelated strangers and my male kitten decided that he wanted to be the boss; the female didn't defy him so much as try to do her own thing. He got quite aggressive with her to the point where they fought quite a lot of the time and he made her quite miserable with his dominance games. After several months, she decided to give in to his will and from that point on, they got along quite well. They would lie together every day for at least a while and groom each other. (He would also try to mate with her, with her apparent consent, although nothing could happen since both were fixed.) Despite the improved relations, I rather suspect at this point that she would actually have had a happier life if she could have been the only cat in the house. I think she always wanted to be a lap cat but she only finally dared to do that once the male had passed away; before that, she didn't seem to have "permission". Sleeping was much the same; she always deferred to him and let him sleep by my chest; she was effectively restricted to sleeping no closer than my knees. After he died, she moved closer. Sadly, she died a few months after he did so I really didn't get a lot of lap time with her (and he had never tried to sit on my lap.)

I see comparable issues in my current environment. I'm sharing a house with my brother and he has two cats, also an unrelated male and female. They were a little older when he got them: the male was around 18 months old and the female was only about 9 months old when he got her a few months later. She is much more aggressive than he is and he seems to walk on eggshells when she's around. He's never tried to climb into my lap but I think that's because she's decided that my lap is for her only. The two cats had some pretty vicious fights when she first joined the family - to the point where she had him bleeding - but they eventually settled things after he apparently agreed to submit to her. Quite frankly, I think both of them would have been happier if they had been the only cat in a house.

Age difference is probably a major factor in having two cats or kittens. One of my friends had a 9 year old female, then got a female kitten. The older cat DESPISED the kitten from the first day and never stopped hating her until the day the older one died, 9 years later. The older one wouldn't even let the younger one ON my friend's bed: she was banished to sleeping UNDER the bed. In retrospect, I think my friend regretted having those two cats at the same time; she loved them both but could see that they weren't very happy to have another cat in the house. When the second one died, she got a new kitten and this time made a point of having only one. Last time I saw her, that was working really well.

Of course having two kittens or cats from the same litter is somewhat different. I've experienced that too and that seemed to go somewhat better, although even they sometimes fought. (And despite both being males, the dominant brother tried to mate with the submissive brother on occasion.)

Just my two cents worth....


No, you should not. The cat will literally go insane or into a deep depression. Twenty years ago I went to see a friend I hadn’t seen for a few years. I went into the laundry room to get to the guest bathroom and there was a cat in there. She looked to be about a year old. Her hair was completely matted, her nails were way too long, she was skinny, had eye infections in both her eyes, covered in fleas and was literally running around going nuts. I asked the friend about the cat and she said she bought her but she was naughty and so keeps her in laundry room. I asked if I could take the cat and my friend said no and got really defensive.

So I waited till the middle of the night, I was sleeping over, packed my bags, grabbed the cat and took her with me. I took her to the vet and they had to shave her bc her hair was so matted, she had literal maggots coming out of her bum from another infection she had and her eyes were streaming with puss. It was touch and go with her for a long time but I spent as much time at vet with her as was allowed, got her a cat bed and put her in that and slept next to her when vet would let me. When I brought her home she was so scared she was shaking. I know it is generally advised to keep a cat in a room and slowly add more rooms but I couldn’t do that after what she had been through. I had an open kitchen, dining, and living room so I kept her there and slept with her at night. It took a long time to get her to trust me but once she did she was so sweet and loving and would give hugs and kisses and want to be held like a baby. She was with me for fifteen fantastic years and when she died, it was in my arms.

So again, you can not keep a cat in a room. Besides what I’ve mentioned above they also enjoy socialization with their humans. If you are going to keep the cat in one room, do it a favour and find a new home for the cat. Don’t take it to a shelter, they’ll probably put the cat on kill list. You got it, sounds like you don’t know or want to take care of it properly, so at least find the cat a new home. It is your duty to do so and do it quickly because I’m quite sure the cat is suffering.

Thank you for sharing your experience! Pets Stack Exchange answers require more context than an interesting anecdote alone can provide; this story-based answer really needs some authoritative references to support it. Please add links to help support the experience you're describing, or this answer might eventually be removed.

  • Welcome to Pets Stack Exchange :) Thanks for sharing your experiences but a single instance where a cat was mistreated and happened to be in a room is doesn't provide an answer to the question. For more information, please read How to Answer. – Henders May 7 at 15:12

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