Two Cats in a Tiny House

by Tammy Strobel on November 22, 2011

Since we moved into the little house, I’ve received a lot of emails about the cats. Most readers have asked, “How are the cats adjusting to the new space? Are they happy?”

Sunday, marked the one-month anniversary of moving into the tiny house. We love the house and so do the cats. In short, we’re all happy and content.

I believe the cats have adjusted well to the new environment because we introduced them to the outside world slowly. Both Eliana and Christie have been indoor-only cats for their whole lives and we didn’t want to force them to go outside. So we let them explore their new environment one day at a time.

For instance, during the first week we were in the house the cats didn’t go outside. They spent most of the week sleeping and exploring every inch of the new dwelling. They also learned to climb the loft ladder within 24-hours of being in the house.

During the second week, they took very slow and tentative steps onto the front porch. They would stand on the porch for a few minutes and then run back inside the house. I left the front door open and watched them sniff the air and enjoy the sun from the window seat.

Before we knew it, both cats ventured onto the grass, explored every inch of the side yard and even sniffed noses with our neighbors dogs. Over the weekend, they both walked the fence line and yesterday Elaina crawled onto the roof of the big house! I can’t watch the cats all the time, so I leave the bathroom window open during the day so they can come and go as they please.

So far having two people and two cats in a 128 square-feet hasn’t posed a problem.

More questions? Ask in the comments section.

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I won’t be posting content to the blog until next week. Enjoy the upcoming holiday and the cat photos below. :)

Christie plays in the leaves . . . 

Elaina crawls all over the roof . . .

I spy a cat. Do you?

1 Kane November 22, 2011

It’s good to see the cats outside enjoying the open air, I guess they have gained a whole new perspective on life with the outdoors to explore and enjoy. We moved house a couple of years ago and in the process rented a place for a few months in the interim whilst I made like a real building contractor. When we got to the rental one of our cats headed straight to the bottom of the garden and hid behind the shed. Even worse when I ‘rescued’ her she wrapped her paws around some trellis to try and stay there. They know how to get a big message across don’t they! Mind you she came round with the first helping of fresh warm chicken. (Don’t even ask).

I hope they don’t start bringing in too many gristly offerings.

2 Sunday November 22, 2011

they definitely look content :) have a great holiday, Tammy! i am thankful for your posts.

3 Tammy Strobel November 22, 2011

Thank you Sunday! I appreciate all the comments you leave on the blog. :) Have a wonderful holiday.

4 Megyn @ Minimalist Mommi November 22, 2011

WOOHOO! I’m a HUGE believer of indoor/outdoor cats under the right circumstances. It can solve SO many behavioral issues. Trust me, your cats will be much happier now!

5 Tammy Strobel November 22, 2011

@Megyn – I think you’re right. They seem a lot happier when they have the option of going in and out.

Today it’s been pouring and both cats have stayed inside. They seem a little annoyed by the rain. :)

6 Cameron November 22, 2011

That’s GREAT NEWS about the cats adjusting so well to their new home! (as well as their humans, of course.)

I just want to tell you that your cat Christie looks EXACTLY like a cat I had for years, Mitzi. I mean, they could be twins!

7 Tammy Strobel November 22, 2011

@Cameron – Too funny! I love that name – Mitzi. :)

8 DJ November 22, 2011

I dearly wish my cat could be indoor/outdoor. Unfortunately, we have coyotes and foxes that run through the area, so it isn’t in the cards.

Our house is large enough for her to not feel too confined, though. I think. : )

9 Tess The Bold Life November 22, 2011

What joy to watch your cats explore a new world. And what fun!

10 Aggie November 22, 2011

Such cute and sweet cats! Elaina has amazing eyes! I am a bit worried though-usually letting kitties outdoors dramatically increases risk to their lives and health….. I hope they both stay safe!

11 Matt Gone November 23, 2011

I have 2 cats in 65 sq. ft. near you in PDX. Did the “rebuild a classic vintage trailer as a strong as a tiny house. No 1″ thin walls. Now 3″ house type walls. Just looks like a shiny metal trailer on outside. Made furniture out of cat sisal posts, and carpeted the shelving into a “cat loft”. I did build in much more food storage space. A pantry, 1 deep freeze, a 12v cooler for fruit/veggies, and the RV tiny fridge. All low power units. The dry goods storage holds bulk cat food. Only need to shop 1-2x a month. Simpler that way. Make own breads, yogurts, etc. Super cheap. With a well-stocked pantry, I only need $65 in food a month to eat well in an economic crisis.
Cats will not starve if there in an “interruption in services”. I through Hurricane Katrina. Next disaster, tow the house & pantry away.

Cat odor is the main issue. Litter box is scooped ASAP. The smell will wake me up to scoop litter. Cat farts
linger in colder weather when less ventilation. 2 cats want attention all the time. They are leash trained. The female calico is disabled, and won’t run away. The mmale tabby escapes, and comes back. Took 9 days to come back the 1st time it ran away.

A tiny house in a friend’s yard is much different than a vintage travel trailer in a RV park in Felony Flats 82nd & Flavel. 5 miles, and $550 a month total bills distance. Easier for a trailer. That is why mine looks like one, even if it is a tiny house on the inside. Hard to find land for tiny houses, and vintage trailers. Almost ended up @ Sauvie Island 2 months ago.

I did this because my cats had not walked on real grass in 5 years. It was no way for a cat to live.

Good blog. Good luck.

12 kim November 23, 2011

Hi Tammy- I’m so happy to see your kitties having so much fun…. I never had anything but indoor cats in my life, but a few years back a mama kitty adopted me by having babies under our bush, long story short she and 2 of her babies are our indoor/outdoor kids (spayed and neutered of course) and seem so happy…. even when it’s raining they still want to go out even just for a couple of minutes….. I’m sorry if I’ve missed the info, but do you have a litterbox in your house or do they just take their business outside? Have a great holiday!

13 Mike | Homeless On Wheels November 23, 2011

It’s more common to see people try to change outdoor cats to indoor. It is interesting to read about you doing the opposite. It is nice to know they are adapting well. I’ll bet they really love the combination of having the whole outdoors to play in and a tiny cozy house to come home to.

14 Rose Byrd November 23, 2011

All of us cat-lovers and cat-servants deeply appreciate this post. Photographs? Truly memorable captures of feline habits!

15 Brittany November 23, 2011

I’m so glad I got online and saw this. We had to put my 23 year old cat to sleep on Saturday night and it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, even though it was the right one. So I’m kinda sad and mopey because I have no cat in the house, so I really, really appreciate seeing photos of happy kitties!

16 Tammy Strobel November 23, 2011

@Brittany – I’m so sorry to hear about that. But I’m glad the post made you feel a little bit better. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

17 Jill November 25, 2011

Hi Tammy,
Please keep watch over your kitties whilst they venture outdoors. Here is a NYT article about cats’ impact on the wild bird population… http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/science/21birds.html

18 Frugal Ecologist November 26, 2011

Along with Aggie, I worry about your kitties health – many more risks for them outside, as well as, the impact of cats on wildlife – particularly birds, small mammals and lizards.

19 glenda November 26, 2011

I’m pleased you wrote about the cats. I too have been wondering how they’ve adapted. I live in a small home and have been working on fencing in the backyard for three years now. The cats keep finding new ways to abscond. It’s become a battle of wits. I work much harder at this than the cats. I do love the looks they give me from the other side of the fence!! Sort of well…that was too easy! You must try harder. I think cats should be allowed to go outside if at all possible. They desire to sniff the breeze and chase leaves and be in the outdoors as much as we do. Problem is that neighbors don’t always appreciate the cats and it can escalate to nasty disagreements.So in consideration of my neighbors I decided to at least slow “the boys” down!! My cats always seem to want to be on the other side of the fence. It would be the same if I had 10 acres fenced in. They would go to the fence and want to be on the other side!!

20 Jessica | mnmize November 27, 2011

So happy your cats are adjusting well! I am nervous about moving my 2 cats to a smaller apartment next year, but it won’t be under 500 SF so I think they will still be content. I’m in 600 SF right now and it took a while for them to adjust from my previous house. They run around and play so much but if your cats can be happy in that tiny of a space, granted they have the outdoors too, I think mine will be good!

21 Christina November 28, 2011

Your cats are so pretty. We let our little boy and girl outside with our supervision (as much as possible) and they each have a tracking collar on since we live in the country with coyotes and mountain lions. However, according to a Fish and Wildlife report, over 39 million songbirds are killed by domestic cats annually. Neither of our cats are very good birders or mousers, but if more people kept their cats in, we would hear more birdsong.

22 Tammy Strobel November 29, 2011

@Christina and Jill – I’m concerned about songbirds and other creatures too. So far the cats haven’t roamed far and aren’t good hunters. That might change, but keeping two cats inside a 128 square-foot home all the time is not feasible.

23 Tom November 29, 2011

Sorry, but I have one word: leash. Ok, so I have a couple more words. Domesticating animals inherently follows no natural order, so, the illusion that letting domestic (even those gone feral) animals loose as ‘natural’ is a purely human rationalization. Here’s another word: stewardship. The trouble is that cat owners imagine their cats are not causing much trouble; out of sight, out of mind. However, the numbers are staggering.

Otherwise, love your philosophy; just this part is a somewhat disappointing.

24 Tammy Strobel November 29, 2011

As far as my cats and other creatures go . . .

1. I work from home and I can keep an eye on my cats when they are outside.
2. They actually sleep most of the day and don’t roam much.
3. They do not go outside at night.
4. Currently they don’t go very far from the house and have not killed any other creatures.

A quick note on my comments policy: Please remember that I’m a human being. I’ve received a lot angry comments about this post. I will not approve comments that are hateful, mean-spirited or that talk down to me. I do my best to operate from a non-judgmental frame of mind and I expect the same from readers. If this continues, I’m apt to shut comments down on the blog and move them to Google +.

If you disagree with me, that’s fine. But please be respectful and offer options in a helpful, not hurtful way.

25 Mara Rose November 29, 2011

Your house and your kitties are adorable. I am sure you are thrilled with your new home. Congratulations!

26 Tammy Strobel November 29, 2011

Thanks for stopping by Mara. It’s good to hear from you!

27 Tom November 29, 2011

My wife insists I relate, for her amusement, that after a month-long digital sabbatical, my very first foray back into the sunlight I managed to piss off the Buddha of digital sabbaticals. 

28 Tammy Strobel November 29, 2011

@Tom – I detected a hint of sarcasm in your comment and frankly it was a little hurtful. I care about other creatures and I don’t want my cats to hurt them. However, it’s unrealistic to keep them indoors constantly. As a side note, I have been looking into leashes.

I wish you all the best and I hope your sabbatical treated you well.

29 Tom November 29, 2011

Sorry Tammy. I come from a place where sarcasm has become ubiquitous, to a point even that I find myself out of sorts in its absence. Also, my civility tends to wither when I feel the standard social mechanisms have proven to be fixed, static, faulty. I saw this post through the eyes of long inequity, with a string of responses somewhat lacking diversity, and I reacted, not intending for you to be the lightning rod for what is a global shortcoming. I do apologize. You are a truly good person.

The sabbatical has been a real eye opener, and now, having seen my shadow, I’m heading back in.

peace,
–tw

30 Tammy Strobel November 30, 2011

Thank you Tom.

I’m happy to hear the sabbatical treated you well. Every time I take an extended break from the web, I learn something new about myself or have to re-learn old lessons. Generally that has to do with taming my temper and learning to be more patient. :)

Wishing you all the best.

31 Beth December 6, 2011

Hi! I love your website and I LOVE that you are letting your kitties explore. Are you doing anything for flea/tick prevention? I currently use the topical stuff on my dog and cat but am nervous about the many side effects (especially since my last dog developed a melanoma close to the application site, though that may not have been the trigger). I know fleas carry diseases and are tough to get rid of, but the fact that ticks still attach before they die makes me think it does nothing to prevent Lyme disease. What are your thoughts on the topical stuff?

32 Tammy Strobel December 7, 2011

Hey Beth – Thanks for reading. Sorry to hear about your puppy. Right now we use Advantage for our cats. I would encourage you to talk to your vet. :)

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