If you live in an apartment, choosing the right cat is a bit like choosing a human roommate. You have to consider the temper...
What are the Best Cat Breeds for Apartment Living?
May 1, 2013
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What are the Best Cat Breeds for Apartment Living?
May 1, 2013
If you live in an apartment, choosing the right cat is a bit like choosing a human roommate. You have to consider the temperament, how well they will fit into your current lifestyle, and how much of a contribution to the household an addition resident will make. While all cats are the right size to live in an apartment, not all of them are well suited to the limited space and restrictive conditions. Below is a list of several breeds that are known to be good companions for apartment dwellers. Of course, personalities and temperaments will vary somewhat within each breed.
The British Shorthair is particularly known for its ability to adapt well to apartment life. Quiet and friendly with its owner, this hardy breed is also a good fit for first-time cat owners. If you want a lap cat, this breed is for you.
The easygoing and affectionate Persian, with its relatively placid demeanor, is a good fit for apartment life. However, the Persian does need attention and will not thrive in an environment where its owner is away a lot. The Persian requires daily grooming to prevent mats.
If you like the Persian personality but would prefer a lower-maintenance coat, check out the Exotic, the short-haired version of the Persian.
The Russian Blue is an affectionate but independent cat, well-suited for a life with working singles. They are known to be shy with strangers but very loyal to their favorite person. Their plush blue coat requires very little maintenance. They are moderately active and enjoy playing.
The Javanese is playful, affectionate, and vocal. Although the Javanese can tolerate being alone during the day, they do need daily one-on-one time with their owners to be truly happy. This breed is best suited for first-time cat owners and would do best in the household of a retired senior.
The Ragdoll is known for its laid-back and gentle temperament. If you're looking for a lap cat that enjoys playtime but isn't especially demanding, a Ragdoll could be your ideal companion. These cats should be kept indoors only and adapt well to apartment life.
Other Apartment Cat Options:
There are lots of mellow, easygoing cats waiting at animal shelters for permanent homes. If you choose to adopt from a rescue organization, look for an adult cat. Once a cat is three years old or so, its personality is fully formed, and the shelter staff can help you find a feline friend that fits your lifestyle. If you can cope with the fact that your cat may not be with you for many years, senior cats tend to be especially calm and would welcome a warm and loving home for their golden years.
Consider adopting two cats, either littermates or adult cats with compatible personalities. They can keep each other company and entertain one another while you're away, and you'll get twice as much love and affection when you return home after a long day.
Your cat will benefit from having vertical territory. A tall cat tree or a special place on the mantel or bookshelf, or just some shelves mounted spaced out on a wall can give your feline friend the feeling that your apartment is much bigger than it is. This is particularly important if you have more than one cat; the extra space can help to prevent stress-related behavior problems such as fighting or inappropriate elimination.
Ultimately, the most important factor in selecting an apartment-friendly cat is not its breed but its personality. A breeder can help you choose a companion that will suit your living situation and your lifestyle. Be honest about your housing and your lifestyle--including how long you tend to be away from home for work or travel--and if a breeder tells you that a particular breed is not suitable for life in small apartments, take their word for it. Breeders want their cats to have good "forever homes" and will do everything they can to ensure a good match. When you take your time to find the right cat, you and your feline friend can be boon companions for life.
An important thing to consider when looking for a cat to grace your apartment is their temperament. Breeds that are adaptable and easy-going, fairly quiet, and sociable without being excessively territorial, as well as those that can tolerate being left to their own devices for reasonable periods without going stir crazy, are best suited for these homes. Also, remember to consider YOUR lifestyle and how it will affect your cat. For example, if you enjoy having guests over frequently, make sure that noise and a large number of people coming and going won’t send your cat into a panic.
Some breeds, including British Shorthairs, Javanese, and Ragdolls are known for their adaptability when it comes to living in smaller quarters. These breeds are fairly quiet, able to entertain themselves in the absence of their owners, and have minimal to moderate grooming and quality time needs.
Another factor that should be taken into account is how much noise you want your cat to make. Breeds like the Siamese and any of its relations are highly vocal, and can get progressively louder until they get the response or attention they are after. While this may not be a problem for you and your family, the neighbors may be less than ecstatic at having to hear your cat yowling at all hours because you are not available, and he or she wants someone to talk to. If you suspect that noise is going to be a potential problem, you may want to consider breeds such as the Scottish Fold, American Curl, or Russian Blue. You might also want to adopt a pair of cats, either from the same litter, or two breeds that have similar characteristics. This will ensure that neither animal feels lonely.
You also need to consider your lifestyle and personality when selecting a feline companion for your apartment. If you are going to be working or otherwise occupied much of the day, you may want to consider a slightly more aloof breed that can manage on its own during the day. On the other hand, if you are homebound or able to work from home, a more affectionate and cuddly cat would better suit your needs. Don’t forget to take into account the cat’s grooming needs as well. If routine grooming is neglected, a cat’s coat hairs can mat and tangle severely, with the snarls going all the way down to the animal’s skin. In these cases, the only way to get through the mess is to have the cat completely shaved, which carries with it potential health risks, as sedation is required, and some cats do not tolerate anesthesia well. Breeds such as Persians are well suited for those who are at home a fair amount of the time, and can dedicate the time necessary to maintain the cats’ long, silky fur.
For those who have a more hectic schedule, yet are looking for an equally laid back cat, an Exotic, often called a Short-haired Persian, would be a better choice.
Age is also something that should be considered very carefully, particularly if you are getting the cat for the whole family. While kittens are absolutely adorable, they require a good deal of time and training so that they learn what they can and cannot scratch, sit, or climb on. It takes time for them to form bonds with their human families, and cultivate the traits that are desirable. If you don’t have sufficient time to take on the role of teacher, but still want a cat, an alternative would be to adopt an adult cat from a local shelter or through a rescue organization. By the time a cat reaches three years of age, their personality is fairly well-developed, and staff members will be able to help you choose a breed that will be a good fit for your lifestyle and living arrangements.
Regardless of which breed you select, be sure to provide the cat with plenty of physical and mentally stimulating activities to keep them healthy and happy. Most cats enjoy climbing and exploring, so providing them with cat trees or other multi-leveled pieces of cat furniture, along with some smaller toys, will keep them entertained until your return. This can also help head off stress-related behavior problems such as fighting and toileting in unwanted areas, as well as the territorial disputes that may arise if you have more than one cat.
I always recommend getting a cat from the local rescue shelter before you go to a breeder, but you should consider all your options.