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(46,206 posts)
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 05:19 PM Nov 2021

Taking a feral cat to an apartment

I currently live in a house, which I'm selling. I plan to move to a studio apartment and want to take a feral cat with me.

I have two. They aren't related or friends but tolerate each other. One is super friendly and is a total lap cat when I'm outside. I want to take him with me. I'm allowed to have two cats, but I honestly can't see that in a studio.

The apartment I'm looking at has a balcony large enough for a table and chairs. I don't think Kitty would jump from a balcony. I plan to buy a good litter box like this:


I'd also like to take Kitty out for walks, but I'm afraid of him running away and getting lost. So, I was thinking of getting a harness and leash to keep him with me. There are outdoor common areas in the building. (There's a dog park, lol.)

BTW, I have no idea how old he is because I got him as an adult, but I think I see a few gray hairs, so he might be getting up in years.

I'm hoping to home the other cat with someplace like Cat Town in Oakland, a cafe that adopts out cats. If folks here have other ideas for him, I'd love to hear them.

1) am I out of my mind?
2) will Kitty go nuts in a small space, or will he just find it pleasant not to have to deal with weather?
3) will the harness and leash thing work?

Edited to add, both cats are neutered.

Thanks so much.

18 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Taking a feral cat to an apartment (Original Post) wryter2000 Nov 2021 OP
I know very little about cats bucolic_frolic Nov 2021 #1
Either you take that kitty or abandon it jpak Nov 2021 #2
I don't understand your reaction wryter2000 Nov 2021 #5
Wtf was that for? ShazzieB Nov 2021 #13
I once had a feral kitten who I tamed. She tolerated a harness Arkansas Granny Nov 2021 #3
I took 2 cats that had been independent, semi-feral for 12 years sinkingfeeling Nov 2021 #4
I wouldn't keep him on the balcony wryter2000 Nov 2021 #6
I doubt the cat would jump WhiteTara Nov 2021 #10
How about a catio? FuzzyRabbit Nov 2021 #7
That's wonderful! wryter2000 Nov 2021 #8
Son and DIL have 3 cats Freddie Nov 2021 #14
Feral cat MoonlightHillFarm Nov 2021 #9
I bet your kitty will come around wryter2000 Nov 2021 #17
Me feral cat MoonlightHillFarm Dec 2021 #18
This message was self-deleted by its author Naio Nov 2021 #11
Crystal litter drmeow Nov 2021 #12
Why can't you take both cats? hamsterjill Nov 2021 #15
Thank you wryter2000 Nov 2021 #16


(43,688 posts)
1. I know very little about cats
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 05:30 PM
Nov 2021

Focus on the cats' behavior now. How will that adapt to a new home? A feral cat is out wandering day and night, no?


(46,206 posts)
5. I don't understand your reaction
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 05:39 PM
Nov 2021

Do you think I'm treating one or both of them cruelly? I have to move. I'm 73 and unable to take care of this house. It's falling into ruin. I'm not going to abandon either cat.

I may have suggested I was going to keep Kitty on the balcony. Not at all. He'd be wherever I am, inside or out. I just thought a balcony would give him a bit more room and some sunshine and fresh air.


(16,755 posts)
13. Wtf was that for?
Sun Nov 28, 2021, 12:21 AM
Nov 2021

This is not an appropriate response to a sincere request for advice from a fellow DUer.

Wryter2000, I don't have any experience with feral cats. So I can't speak to that aspect of your situation. But in my experience, most cats in general really don't require a huge amount of space and are pretty good at adapting to changing circumstances. Some of them (not all, by any means), will go into hiding at first in a new place, but that rarely lasts long.

Cats like to have cozy spaces to curl up and sleep in, toys to play with, and windows to look out of, all of which can be provided in a small space. If your balcony has the typical floor to ceiling ceiling glass door, your cat will love lying on the floor in front of it to watch whatever's going on outside. I would not be at all hesitant to move into a studio apartment with a cat.

Arkansas Granny

(31,553 posts)
3. I once had a feral kitten who I tamed. She tolerated a harness
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 05:33 PM
Nov 2021

and leash quite well, but she was quite young when I started working with her. I've never tried with an older cat.


(51,539 posts)
4. I took 2 cats that had been independent, semi-feral for 12 years
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 05:36 PM
Nov 2021

with me to sn apartment 500 miles from home. I started litter box and inside training 2 months before we moved. They adjusted very well. Unfortunately. I lost one to congestive heart failure Oct. 20. About 13 months after the move.

I would not trust putting.one on the balcony. I tried by buying a 'play yard' but the skinny.one went right through it. No way could I leash train the remaining cat. He won't even tolerate a collar.


(46,206 posts)
6. I wouldn't keep him on the balcony
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 05:41 PM
Nov 2021

I'd let him out there while I was there. Otherwise, he would be in the apartment with me. I was just thinking it would give Kitty more more to move around.


(29,745 posts)
10. I doubt the cat would jump
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 07:26 PM
Nov 2021

and a harness is a great idea. Get one of those leashes that stretch out. Cats adjust to most situations. I think the solution is to give them lots of good food and pets.


(1,974 posts)
7. How about a catio?
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 06:21 PM
Nov 2021

I am a fan of catios for cats if it is not safe to allow them outside. A catio will protect them from falling and protect them from predators. Cats love sun and fresh air, and a catio will give them an opportunity to to enjoy the outdoors.

My kitty loves it out on his catio, but he wishes I had built it larger so I could join him out there. I don't have a balcony, so my kitty's catio is only window size. If you decide to build (or buy) a catio, keep it simple. Cats aren't fussy, they just like the fresh air.

Here is an example of a catio on an apartment balcony:



(9,300 posts)
14. Son and DIL have 3 cats
Sun Nov 28, 2021, 12:42 PM
Nov 2021

One of their criteria when looking for a house to buy was a screened porch - the popular “Florida room”, they’re in FL - so the cats would have their own catio. They found one and everyone is happy.

9. Feral cat
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 07:25 PM
Nov 2021

I have a totally feral cat living in my guest bedroom. She’s a beautiful Siamese. As she’s had no prior contact with humans, she won’t let me get near her

I talked to a TNR person about her. I was concerned the cat was miserable. She assured me that if she has a warm, safe place, clean litter, fresh water and food, she would be perfectly content. I go in her room three or four times a day. Some day she might let me touch her.

Taking the cats with you is an excellent decision. They will be fine.

I enclosed one of my porches as a catio. Cats love it, and I don’t worry about them.

Good luck!

Response to wryter2000 (Original post)


(5,053 posts)
12. Crystal litter
Sat Nov 27, 2021, 11:48 PM
Nov 2021

can dry out some cats paws very badly. Also - cats can be weirdly picky about litter and won't use litter they don't like. I would see if the litter box will work with other types of litter before buying it. I'd also try to test the litter in a cheap/throw away litter box before investing. Some cats may also get freaked out by the automatic cleaning while some are fine with it.


(15,229 posts)
15. Why can't you take both cats?
Mon Nov 29, 2021, 07:02 AM
Nov 2021

There are some really good ideas for small living spaces for cats. Cats can use “vertical” space whereas humans think in terms of mostly horizontal.

There is a fantastic cat stroller on Amazon which I would suggest for any outdoor outings early on, at least. Most cats don’t do well on a leash and can go nuts if they become frightened or afraid of a noise or smell.

Any new living arrangement requires a period of adjustment, particularly for a cat used to being outside in familiar surroundings. Watch the entry to your new space carefully because the cat may try to get out. You should confine the cat to one area of the house for a period if time. Remember, it’s all about smell!

If this cat is not familiar with using a litter box, you may need to use some potting soil in the box initially to “get things going” so to speak.

I’m a cat rescuer with about thirty years under my belt. Happy to answer any questions via PM. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your caring of these kiddos!


(46,206 posts)
16. Thank you
Mon Nov 29, 2021, 11:24 AM
Nov 2021

Two cats and one litter box in a 500 square foot apartment just won’t work.

The stroller sounds like a good idea. And the vertical space. Cat Town here is really great. I think I’ll try them for both cats.

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