Lyndall Jones shares her 9 Tips for apartment living with cats

Apartment living with cats

Darcy and Bailey. Photo: Lyndall Jones

Lyndall Jones knows about apartment living with cats.  She lives in rental accommodation in Sydney with her two eight year old Burmese cats Darcy and Bailey.  Lyndall’s cats have never been allowed to roam outdoors because she feels strongly about protecting native wildlife.

In mid-2014, she moved from a three level townhouse to a one level rental apartment with her cats.  Lyndall shares her experience of adjusting to apartment living with cats.  She has 9 great tips for cat owners who live in rental apartment accommodation with a cat.

Pets4Life: How did Bailey and Darcy adjust to apartment living?

Lyndall: For the first six years of their lives they lived with me in a three level townhouse with access to a mesh covered outdoor area.  Litter trays were inside and they slept on the top level and litter trays on the bottom level. They have always been indoor cats. I feel strongly about keeping wildlife safe as well as the cats.

In mid-2014 I moved from the townhouse to a three bedroom rental apartment which has a balcony but as I am renting I can’t mesh it off. It is too dangerous to let them wander outside.

Darcy adjusted well to the apartment but Bailey has struggled – to the extent where he was yowling at night.  I sought specialist vet help who suggested some strategies and also medication. The vet thought that some outside animals/shadows may have “spooked” him, so I ensure the blinds are down at night, a nightlight is on to reassure him inside the apartment, and I have continued to maintain his medication. He has settled down somewhat, but still remains “my cat” looking for cuddles to reassure him also.

I found weight management is an issue in an apartment. They both put on weight because they are now living in one level as opposed to three in the townhouse. This is a challenge, even with strict food control!

Pets4Life: How do you care for Bailey and Darcy? What’s your daily routine?

Apartment Living with cats

Darcy on his scratching post. Photo: Lyndall Jones

Lyndall: I have two bathrooms and one of them is dedicated to the cats litter trays and water. I am fastidious about keeping litter trays clean. There is nothing worse than walking into a unit and smelling cats. I have two trays (at least one is recommended per cat) and I use the Oz pet System – two trays on top of each other. The top one has a sieve. The bottom tray has a scoop of litter which is a wood material. The cats’ wee falls through to the bottom tray and is absorbed. Solids are scooped out ASAP after I find them! I can’t stress how important this is.  I wash and change trays twice a week. Have a sensor motion air freshener set up to assist with any smells.

I have three bowls of water situated throughout apartment. They aren’t all that keen with toys but I try to encourage exercise and some play with toys during the day.

Pets4Life: What tips do you have for apartment living with cats indoors?

Lyndall: Here’s my 9 tips to keep you and your cat happy in a rental apartment.

  1. Look for an apartment or unit with two bathrooms (if you can afford it) to dedicate one to the cat’s litter tray and water
  2. Scratching posts are vital – and need to be high up to provide lots of high sleeping areas (on top of filing cabinets). I brought with me a favourite heavily damaged dining chair from the last house. Familiarity is important for the cats.
  3. Keep claws clipped to minimise damage to owner’s property.
  4. Being a tenant, you have to be responsible with cleaning and care.  Get a good carpet stain remover!
  5. Manage your indoor cats’ diets, try and use a specific indoor cat or weight management dry food.
  6. If you are living alone and work long hours, consider getting two cats that get on well together to give each other company – it’s an extra cost but not double the cost. Also some vets give a discount for two cats.
  7. Be organised about cat sitting arrangements – I will leave my boys overnight – with plenty of food and water but not any longer. You need a backup plan for food cleaning and cuddles. I am very lucky to have wonderful friends who will look after the boys – and also have used a pet sitting service. Particularly for indoor cats who don’t go outside I think they are happiest at home.
  8. If you have two cats make sure there are plenty of spots where they can get away from each other.
  9. Make sure you cover furniture you want protected – don’t leave in harm’s way!