You love your little slice of urban paradise. Sure, you may not get as much living space as your friends who have quit the big city and fled to the suburbs. Sure, you might get a little more noise from traffic during the day (and revelers at night). And yes, there may be times when you hear the sound of your neighbors’ amorous activities a little more vividly than you’d like to at night. Still, there’s no feeling quite like knowing that you have a whole world on your doorstep, with live theatre, movies, cafes, bars and restaurants all within walking distance or a short cab ride away.
But as happy as you are in your apartment, there’s been something missing for some time. Something that can give you comfort and happiness when you need them most or help the stress of the working day melt away instantly… You’re ready to be a cat parent. But while cats can (and do) live long, healthy and happy lives in urban apartments, it’s up to you to create the right environment for them. Here are some steps to creating a cat-friendly apartment that will help you to exist in harmony together…
First of all… you’re going to have to tell your landlord
Don’t be one of those people who tries to sneak a pet in under the landlord’s nose. It has the propensity to go really, really badly for you. Landlords and letting agents are within their rights to inspect the property with as little as 4 hours’ notice… and that’s not a lot of time to hide all traces of your furry friend.
Your best bet is to be proactive. Write your landlord a letter detailing why you would like to bring a cat into the apartment, outline the precautions you will take to prevent accidental damage to the apartment (and its contents if the apartment is furnished) and how you will take responsibility for any negative consequences. You might even invite more regular inspections for the landlord’d peace of mind.
There’s a good chance that they will be amenable because you’ve done them the courtesy of asking them first. This sample letter makes for a good starting point.
Kitty litter… how to make it less awful
Okay, if you’re inviting a cat into your home, kitty litter is just something you’re going to have to deal with. And there’s no smell so unholy as the smell of a freshly used litter box. And if you’re sharing a diminutive urban apartment together, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to work, sleep or relax in close proximity to the litter box at some point. Here are some ways you can make it less awful;
- Invest in an air purifier. You can check some out using this link. It’s a much more sustainable and effective approach than trying to mask the smell with sprays or plug-in room deodorizers.
- Use a powder made from activated charcoal to help absorb and neutralize odors.
- Use a clumping litter to assist in easy cleaning of the litter box.
- Remove *ahem* solids from the litter box regularly and dispose of… but do not flush them down the toilet!
Make sure your plants and flowers are cat-safe
Flowers, plants and cacti add a splash of color to any urban apartment… but be aware that some plants and flowers can be dangerous and even fatal to cats. Pet MD has a comprehensive list of flowers and plants that you’ll need to throw out before welcoming your cat to their new home.
Keep furniture safe from curious claws
Cats mark their territory by marking parts of their home with the scent glands on their paws. They also dig their claws in to exercise them and assert themselves over the territory. However, whether the furniture is yours or your landlord’s you’ll want to keep it safe from curious claws.
Make sure our cat has access to a scratching post and position it within easy reach of areas where you notice unwanted scratching behaviors. Try rubbing a little catnip on the surface to get your cat interested in using it. Applying a spray of citrus oils to your sofa can also discourage clawing without discomfort to your cat.
Make the most of your vertical space to give your furry friend room to play
Finally, living in an apartment is all about making the most of your space. And for many that means making effective use of the available vertical space. Your cat will need a lot of exercise since they don’t have access to the great outdoors. As such, they should have plenty of space in which to climb, jump, claw, and hide. All the hunting behaviors that are such a crucial part of play for cats.