Open-Plan Living Is Bad For Your Cat, According To Animal Expert

It may be the epitome of modern design, but open-plan living is bad for your cat. One expert explains just why this is a problem for your pet.

open-plan living is bad for your cat
Robert Tortorelli / Flickr

These days, many people opt for the ultra modern open-plan look in their homes. This minimal style is super popular these days and looks incredible. Still, when you’re designing your home, do you consider the needs of your pet? The truth of the matter may be that open-plan living is bad for your cat. Here’s what you need to know.

Animal experts recently spoke out about just this issue at an Animal Welfare Foundation seminar based in London, UK. The core idea was that open-plan homes mean extreme socialization for our cats. While that may not sound like such a bad thing at first, it could cause your pet to become anxious.

“While we may consider we are one big family, with our husbands and wives and our children, those cats might not consider those other cats or dogs as part of their same social group,” explained Sarah Ellis, of International Cat Care, at the seminar.

The fact that open-plan designs don’t allow for much privacy is the crux of the issue. You see, felines tend to prefer time alone. Unlike humans, they are not particularly social animals, spending much of their time in isolation or hunting by themselves. In an open living environment, though, there’s not much space for them to have some alone time.

That means that our cats can get seriously stressed out when forced to be around people or, indeed, other animals for too long. “Humans often like physical interactions that are high intensity and for longer durations,” explained Ellis. “Many of our pet cats find this need for high social interaction distressing.”

Oh, and it gets worse! While we all know that looking after your cat is key, Ellis had a warning for those with pets living in an open-plan home. She claimed that failing to meet the needs of your pet could quickly lead to what she termed ‘chronic negative emotions, chronic negative stress, human directed aggression and house soiling’. Yikes.

Needless to say that the last thing any of us want is for our cats to be stressed or depressed. So, what should you do to make sure that you tackle this issue? Well, even if you already have an open-plan living space, there are some hacks that may well help. Here are a few things that you may want to try for yourself and your cat:

  • Invest in boxes and cat houses

Your kitty may not be able to hide away in a room, and so you need to give them another option. You can get plain old cardboard boxes or even a cat house for your pet. As you know, cats love to sit in boxes! These small things may just make all the difference because they give your pet a space of their own.

  • Use room dividers

We know that open-plan living is bad for your cat, so making things a tad less open could be the answer. Most home stores sell affordable room dividers that you can put anywhere in your home. Simply sectioning off some of the areas could be the answer.

  • Use the height of your home

If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings in your home, you have to make use of them for the good of your cat. You may want to get some shelves that your kitty can climb on or even just a tall cat tree. If your pet feels that they can escape above the room, the open-plan living will stress them less. Genius!

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