Is a flat, no garden, ever suitable for a cat?

(35 Posts)
bittenipples Sun 13-Oct-13 08:20:32

I am day dreaming really, maybe its too soon after my old rescue dog was pts a few months ago. Its just that Ive never really had a pet free household and it feels wierd. I cant get another dog, that would be just silly as Ive got a small toddler and a small flat.

So just curiosity really, could (in the future) a flat provide a home for perhaps an older rescue cat? what about the toddler?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 13-Oct-13 08:44:09

Often the rescues have cats that can only be house cats for a variety of reasons. These maybe suitable though some would not be good with children. You need to approach the rescues and see what they have.

cozietoesie Sun 13-Oct-13 09:04:00

As Lonecat said, a rescue might well have a cat or two who needs to be a housecat (eg an oldie who just want to sit and be loved, a blind (but otherwise healthy) cat or a cat with some other special need.) If you feel you can give one of those a few loving years, why not email them to ask.

You can find out your local rescues here if you're not sure and many of them will also have websites where you can have a look at their cats and at their policies etc.

Just be sure to tell them frankly about your home and life/work situation so that they can match you.

Good luck

smile

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 13-Oct-13 09:08:52

we had a rescue cat rehomed with us when we lived in a (reasonably spacious) first floor 2 bed flat, after a home check. She was an older cat whom the rehomers thought had not ever lived outside.

when we moved to a house, she went out maybe three or four times just to explore the back garden, decided going out was not all it was cracked up to be, and reverted to being an indoor cat.

PatoBanton Sun 13-Oct-13 09:18:30

If you are Ok with a tray then it doesn't have to be a problem. It really depends on the cat - some will be miserable indoors, some will bolt, some will be happy never to set foot in a garden.

I had several indoor cats years ago when I lived in a flat - I fostered them - it was hard work with a tray especially when they were poorly.

If you have babies or toddlers or a busy life then think carefully as changing litter every day, the smell, etc is not that easy to manage with loads else going on.

Our rescue always has a number of cats that either have to stay indoors for their safety (they're blind, or deaf or are a bit wobbly due to a brain injury say, or have less than the normal number of legs etc) or who would be perfectly happy inside (mainly older cats who just want a comfy bed, food and someone to make a fuss of them).

If we are desperate to space (which unfortunately we always are) we will consider rehoming cats that have come from an indoor only home to another indoor only home, on the basis of what they have never had they won't miss.

You will need to be very careful with open windows, and balconies can be a challenge, but with the right cat you should be fine.

ZebraOwl Sun 13-Oct-13 14:05:48

A friend of mine adopted two 5 month-old kittens from Celia Hammond a few weeks ago & she (& her husband) live in a flat without a garden/yard/other-outdoor-space.

As the others have said, there are various reasons a cat might need an indoor home so it's a matter of contacting local rescues & seeing what they say - I know some places won't let cats go to homes with toddlers, fr'example.

With an older cat it's easier to find a cat who'll fit in well to your household as their personalities & proclivities are established. Older cats are often harder to home, so you'd be doing A Good Thing by giving a home to one.

Managing a litter tray (especially for a single cat) shouldn't be too arduous a task once you fit it into your routine. You might want a closed tray to prevent your toddler from playing with the contents of it & reduce the smell, I guess? I have two cats who very happily share (to point they'll sit side by side, apparently channelling their inner Ancient Romans, to use it) a single large open tray & I pick up poo immediately I see it's there (which is generally once or twice a day) & take out broken-down litter (they have a wood-pellet one) at the same time. I do a full change of the litter & clean the tray about once a week - it's a speedy job cos this sort of litter doesn't cling to the tray so it's: empty contents of tray into binbag; clean "lid" of tray; clean outside of tray; clean inside of tray; getting out last little bits of sawdust; line tray; refill tray; put binbag full of dirty litter & tray-wipe used for cleaning into dustbin. Takes maybe 10 minutes or so.

CanucksoontobeinLondon Sun 13-Oct-13 20:05:44

We have had indoor-only cats for many years and they've always been fine. However, it can be a lot for an adult cat who's always been allowed outside to adjust to an indoor-only lifestyle. I would say get a kitten (who won't know any different) or get an adult cat from a rescue who's used to being indoors. They will have adult cats who've been surrendered by people who live in flats, that kind of thing. Particularly when it's an elderly former owner who's died, they'll often have already lived in a flat.

And good luck!

bittenipples Mon 14-Oct-13 07:52:37

Hi, thanks for the detailed replies, sorry I didnt reply yesterday. I will think carefully over the next month or so. I live over a pub and am a sahm so I am here a lot. I have no problems with litter trays and we have no windows etc. that open at the bottom iyswim. I may ask for a home visit even if i am not sure, I will donate some money for there time.

It would be an elderly cat I think, Ive always had a rescue soul pottering about my abode and i feel strangely empty without one. I am possibly considering fostering . . .?

bittenipples Mon 14-Oct-13 07:53:24

*thier time blush

cozietoesie Mon 14-Oct-13 08:36:22

As I mentioned a couple of months back, I saw recently on a breed rescue site an elderly chap (19) whose owner had died. He looked so sad (but dignified) and you can only imagine how hard it must be to lose your special person at that age. Luckily, he was only on the site for a few days before he seems to have found a new home.

I realize that that is probably a tad older than you were thinking of but taking on an oldie for their remaining sunset years is great for them as well as yourself.

Lots of luck and let us know how you get on.

Just a point on windows. You say you don't have any that open at the bottom. Windows that open at the top can also be a problem. You'd be amazed at what a determined cat can get out of. So for the first few weeks you need to keep all windows closed, however small the gap and wherever they open.

Of course if you get an old cat its climbing abilities are likely to have seen better days. You will still need to be careful though.

loraflora Tue 15-Oct-13 15:59:11

A friend had a rescue cat and she lived in a flat in a busy part of North London. The cat was FIV+ I believe so couldn't go outdoors and mix with other cats. Still made a great companion and was happier there than in a rescue.

eggyhead Tue 15-Oct-13 16:09:03

Unless it's an indoor cat it will need some outside space.

My cat doesn't go far but he loves the garden and we also have a woodland beyond. He loves to sit on top of the shed to check what's happening!

A rescue centre will probably have a few indoor cats looking for a new home. I am sure they will be delighted to come and live with you!

CanucksoontobeinLondon Tue 15-Oct-13 21:59:01

This thread is a fascinating example of cultural differences, because many rescue organizations in Canada won't adopt out a cat unless you promise to keep it indoor-only. Although I suspect that promise is honoured more in the breach than in the observance by many adopters.

cozietoesie Tue 15-Oct-13 22:04:07

Is that anything to do with local legislation though and/or the likelihood of predators, Canuck ? (I don't know, just wondering.)

CanucksoontobeinLondon Tue 15-Oct-13 22:42:55

Apologies for threadjack.

Well, we've only ever lived in big cities here. I suspect it varies from locality to locality. And the local SPCA here may or may not adopt out indoor/outdoor cats. We adopted our two boys from a private rescue which seemed quite paranoid about the dangers of cats going outside. The two we adopted, as it happens, had always lived indoors, so we decided to keep it that way. But there were other cats up for adoption there who'd been indoor/outdoor in their previous homes who they were still insisting should only go to an inside-only home. In my experience, convincing a cat who's accustomed to being allowed outside to stay inside all the time is a tough ask.

On a practical level, even if you want your kitty to go outside, it gets so darn cold in the winter in much of this country that realistically, your cat's going to be indoor-only most of the winter. And we have coyotes, which are much bigger than foxes (the indigenous British predator, or so DH says). When I was a kid, we used to keep our cat in at night because coyotes are nocturnal.

MokuMoku Tue 15-Oct-13 22:53:17

Yes, it is funny for me too that people in the UK seem to see keeping a cat indoors as a big problem.

I was talking to another mum at kindergarten recently in Japan and she told me that they have 7 cats, all indoors only.

Having said that, my rescue cat is looking very miserable today as there is a typhoon and even he isn't brave enough to go out in it.

I suspect any rescue would be pleased to find an older, indoor cat for you.

By the way, my toddler loves watching Maru the cat on Youtube. He is a very spoilt cat that lives in a lovely flat.

CanucksoontobeinLondon Tue 15-Oct-13 23:06:27

7 cats is a lot!

Yeah, when we lived in a high-rise apartment, before we had a house, our cat at the time was indoor-only, and she was fine with it. And our cats now don't have any interest in going outside. I guess it boils down to what they're used to.

I'll have to look up Maru the cat. My DD is 4, and loves cat videos.

MokuMoku Wed 16-Oct-13 00:22:59

Yes, she did seem slightly embarrassed about the sheer number. She said most were rescue cats.

The Maru videos are posted by mugumogu, the box ones are utterly adorable.

cozietoesie Wed 16-Oct-13 00:25:47

I think thecatneuterer who posted above had 21 at the last count. (Mind you, it's been a few days since she gave that number so the figure may have changed!)

smile

cozietoesie Wed 16-Oct-13 00:32:27

PS - she volunteers for a rescue so I think she tends to end up with some of the apparent 'no hopers' that need fostering/care/home comforts.

CanucksoontobeinLondon Wed 16-Oct-13 02:10:17

Well, I can't fault someone for having that much commitment to animals in distress. Well done.

catameringue Wed 16-Oct-13 22:06:15

I love Maru!
He's so awesome the way he slides along in boxes.

I was given a large kitten by someone who had kept him in a one bed flat. He was too boisterous to cope but is now an indoor cat in a house with an enclosed run.

I think flats are fine just need to be creative with making high up places do cats can be high up and also tear about.

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 16-Oct-13 22:08:50
cozietoesie Wed 16-Oct-13 22:09:51

grin

dementedma Mon 21-Oct-13 21:58:04

Personally I wouldn't have a cat if it had no access to outdoors but I can't abide litter trays so that's probably just me.

livinginwonderland Tue 22-Oct-13 07:34:47

We have two cats who have always been indoor cats. We live in a 2-bed flat and we've had them since they were 12 weeks.

They have lots of places to climb up and they have lots of boxes to play in and we do make sure we play with them everyday. I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping cats indoors so long as you make sure they're well-stimulated.

You need to make sure you have the time to play with them and you have to make sure you clean the litter trays regularly too.

ILoveMakeUp Tue 22-Oct-13 07:37:07

Cats are happy indoors, if that is all they've ever known. We have indoor cats. They have a good life. In fact, our vet recommends that you keep cats indoors.

Just one thing... please, please get from a rescue center.

Noodles123 Thu 24-Oct-13 14:08:32

I think it depends on the cat. We have British Shorthairs which are often recommended as house cats and they are definately very chilled out, relaxed souls. Ours are lucky - after we lost our beloved Blue on the lane outside we spent quite a bit on cat proofing our garden (which is maybe 30m long by 15m wide) so they have the run of that, with two big apple trees to climb and lots of shrubs and flowered to hide in.
But - they wouldn't mind overly being inside I don't think, certainly they both came from families of indoor cats.
How about an older cat that has been used for breeding?

schnockles Thu 24-Oct-13 14:14:14

Our rescue cat has feline aids so she can't go outside. She's been an indoor cat since we got her as a kitten and she's always been happy. We make sure she exercises by doing lots of playtime and she has a scratching post etc.

If you'd like a cat have a talk with your local cats protection league or RSPCA. There are plenty of rescue cats gentle and tolerant enough for toddlers too.

Caitlin17 Sun 27-Oct-13 23:49:43

It's absolutely not acceptable for an adult cat who has had outdoor access.

It's not acceptable for a kitten to bring it up denying it the chance of outdoor access.

I'm not even sure if I think it's acceptable just because an adult cat has never had outdoor access. One of my 4 had no outdoor access before she came to me and she adores getting out to the garden.

However if a rescue cat is genuinely very nervous and timid or has health issues then it might be ok. It's certainly obviously better than no life at all.

Caitlin17 Sun 27-Oct-13 23:51:37

As chuckles says, in the case of feline aids outdoors access is impossible

Caitlin17 Sun 27-Oct-13 23:52:30

Sorry, schnockles, not chuckles.

Treasures Thu 31-Oct-13 00:45:51

We rescued our cat a year ago from CP. He had never been outside. We live in a second floor, 2 bed flat. He's perfectly happy, gets tons of exercise as he loves racing around the flat and jumping off/over any furniture that gets in his way grin and we play with him lots. The only problem we had was that he liked to stand on the windowsills, up on his back legs, to look at birds flying past. We worried he might try to go for them so we got cat nets from ZooPlus online. They're brilliant. They are ugly!! But they do the job and it's easy to unhook them to open/close Windows.

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