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Every cat is different, but as a general rule, cats need around 20 sq ft of space as a minumum. But it’s not so simple, to find out how much space a cat needs, you need to consider the wider apartment or living space they get to roam. Around 200 sq feet of space can be enough to keep an indoor cat healthy, especially if they have multiple rooms to explore.
On top of this, indoor cats need places to climb scratch, hide, and somewhere comfortable to sleep, so accommodating such factors is also important.
A large room with little to stimulate a cats mind will not be sufficient for their well being. Still, all cats are different, and some may be able to cope with less space. For peace of mind, it is always best to give them access to multiple rooms.
How Much Space Do Two Cats Need?
One cat needs around 20 sq feet of personal space, and two need around 40. Give them access to multiple rooms so they can come and go as they please, and have somewhere to shelter alone should they feel the need.
It’s true that cats who have grown up around one another are better at sharing the wider home, but even socialised cats need their individual space.
Provide distinct areas where they can get away form one another. Start by placing their beds in different areas of the same room or in different rooms altogether. Cats can be territorial, so give them the space to claim their territory in peace.
How Much Space Does A Cat Need When Introducing A New Cat To Your Home?
This doesn’t change, 20 sure feet is still they key. But when introducing a new cat, try and give your new feline friends a quiet room to adjust to before opening up the rest of the home for it to share with another cat (or more).
To ensure your home is humorous for a new cat to co-exist, you’ll need to consider adding more feeding and drinking areas. Also give them plenty of places to hide and sleep, as well as multiple toilet areas.
What Happens When A Cat Doesn’t Have Enough Space?
If you are wondering how much space your cat needs, then some tell-tale signs that they do not have enough.
Look for the following signs in their behaviour that your cat needs more space:
- Soiling and urinating in places outside the litter box.
- Constant staring through windows
- Scratching, hissing, and general irritable behaviour towards humans
- Excessive grooming
- Excessive scratching (sorry furniture!)
- Signs of stress and anxiety
- The need to rush into new spaces when the opportunity arises.
Do Cats In Shelters Get Enough Space?
It is hardly surpassing that cats are happier and less stressed when they have more room. So, do cats in a shelter get enough space? With multiple cats bundled into a small area, you’ll find that our feline friends can show signs of anxiety, be less playful and even be a little aggressive with one another.
It’s understandable. All cats need space, without it they may lack energy, but that isn’t all. Cats need stimulation, a healthy diet, the space to explore, and a quiet area to relax when they want some space. There is a significant difference in the behaviour between cats with a minimum of 4 square meters per cat and those with just one metre each. This can be difficult for shelters to offer.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for Protection of Animals), shelters should provide at least 18 square feet for cats in communal living.
One Swedish study from 2016 found that cats with less space became more aggressive in the afternoon before feed time. Here is a snippet from their research:
The difference in available space had an effect on solitary play, which increased significantly when increasing the area from one to four square meters per cat. This difference could only be seen in the afternoon, just before the cats were fed. Play could be an indicator of positive welfare (Sarti Oliviera et al., 2010) and has been shown to be suppressed in cats experiencing stress (Carlstead et al., 1993). Therefore, we believe that this result gives an indication that larger areas could increase the welfare of cats in groups.
Cats need their space for their wellbeing. If you are worried you don’t have enough, you should think twice before introducing another (or a first) cat into your home.
We all want the best for our feline friends, and a little planning for their living space can help make them as comfortable and stress-free as possible.