Can a cat kept in an apartment be happy? We asked a cat therapist and an animal protection lawyer

Ferenczi Deborah

2023. April 11 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

How much space does a cat need to feel comfortable even if it is only kept in an apartment? There are many assumptions surrounding this question, and there is simply no complex agreement that the animal feels comfortable above so many square meters, while below that it is uncomfortable and unnatural. However, it may be worthwhile to deal with this both from an animal welfare and health point of view, since it does not matter at all how big the living space of a cat kept in an apartment is. We asked our experts about the issue.


Since it is almost impossible to navigate the given topic precisely, we thought it reasonable to interview two of our experts about what they think about how much living space a cat needs. We were also curious as to whether the animal’s happiness is directly proportional to the size of its living space. On the topic dr. We asked Cecília Kajó, a lawyer, and Zsófia Osvald, a cat SUV.

We thought it important to first ask a specialist about the conditions of keeping kittens, who comes into contact with kittens every day, deals with them and knows their needs. Zsófia Osvald can be found on social media under the name Mancsterepeauta. We were interested in his opinion below.

– How big is the living space in which a cat feels comfortable?

O. ZS: The answer is a big big “it depends”. It matters a lot how the available space is used, how open or crowded it is, what kind of furniture is used to arrange it, what the distribution of the home is like. Cats are small predators, for them the large, open spaces can be scary, as they would be easily noticed by other predators or competitive cats, which is why they like to occupy tight, crowded, crowded places. At the same time, it is also important to know about them that they also like to stay high up, where they also feel safe. I think that a huge apartment with spacious rooms, sparse furniture, and few obstacles is useless if the cat’s well-being is bad because of these features. A smaller home can also be arranged to be cat-friendly, in which our pet feels good. It is important not only to place hiding places, toys, and scratching posts on the ground. We should also think about high points, the tops of cupboards, shelves, tall cat furniture, because the home space will seem bigger to the cat even if it can also expand upwards in the apartment following its instincts.

– What is the key to moving the cats down?

O. ZS: Of course, there should be no question that the cats living in the apartment should be played regularly and exciting programs should be organized for them in order to exercise them sufficiently and tire them out mentally. And we can help in this if we can make good use of the opportunities provided by our home. It’s also worth mentioning that every cat has a different need for exercise, in general, a Bengal cat’s, for example, is much bigger than a British Shorthair lazing on the sofa.

– What size home would you consider ideal for a cat?

O. ZS: If you really have to use numbers, I think that a home of 30-35 square meters is ideal for a cat, so that it and its owner have a livable space, but of course, as I said before, a lot depends on the layout of the apartment, the usability of the space. Personally, I would not keep more than one cat or other pet in the home under 45-50 square metres.

In addition to the fact that we were interested in the ideal living space for a cat according to the eyes of an expert, we also considered it essential to emphasize the legal implications of this. So we asked Dr. Cecília Kajó, a lawyer, also spoke about the topic.

– In the case of keeping several animals, is there a main square meter legislation?

K.C: We can approach the problem both quantitatively and qualitatively. For dogs, depending on their body size, the legislation requires a minimum size of the housing area, which, taking into account the size of our property, is practically the main limit that determines the number of dogs we can keep. In the case of group housing, for example, the minimum size of the housing space is 6 m², which means that 10 dogs can be legally kept in a 60 m² apartment. The legislation does not distinguish between parts for human habitation and parts possibly designated for keeping animals, it does not talk about useful floor space, it is simply calculated in square meters. Of course, this does not mean that no matter how well-behaved, cooperative and small the 10 dogs are, it is reasonable to keep so many animals on top of each other. Of course, this also applies to cats.

– What is needed to keep a cat happy in the home?

In conclusion, it is worth considering what conditions are necessary for a cat to feel comfortable in an apartment, despite the above. First of all, maybe not the size, but that pet-friendly design of the home matters. Furthermore, the apartment can be of any size, if the cat is not sufficiently exercised and is not cared for intensively for at least half an hour a day. From now on, it is necessary to have an arrangement and equipment suitable for the needs of the cat. So there should be both heights and hiding places. In addition, common sense is also important, since it is by no means recommended to keep many cats in a small apartment, even if the law allows it.

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