The Google search “Can minimalists have pets?” boasts a whopping 170,000+ results as of writing this. As a minimalist with now nine pets, I was shocked that some people believe not. I even read a few stories of people giving up their pets for a minimalist lifestyle and even more questioning if they should. I believe that the two can live in harmony. Pets aren’t right for everyone, but they can be right for a minimalist. Last time, I discussed how to manage the time requirements of a cat. Today, we’ll cover how you can keep the amount of “cat stuff” to a minimum.
Litter boxes are probably the most dreaded part of cat ownership. Cats have a reputation as fairly self-sufficient animals, but the litter box is one place where that is definitely not true. Litter boxes require cleaning, are sometimes stinky, and are usually unattractive. I plan to write another article about litter boxes, but for now, I’ll sum it up to what I believe to be the best solutions.
My first solution to the litter box problem was getting a litter box I could stand to look at. There are expensive models like the Modkat litter box, but I went with the Iris top entry litter box for a cheaper, still attractive option. There are many attractive versions of cat litter boxes.
My ultimate solution was to get a hidden litter box that is disguised as a planter. It’s simple, we bought it from someone who’d handmade it. There are many commercial and DIY models as well.
I think the first step towards reducing cat towers is limiting the need for them. We used to have four cat towers in a tiny studio apartment. It was a little crazy! But a big reason it had to be that way was because of our furniture layout. Now, we have our furniture organized in a better fashion so that for the most part, our cat can use those to stay up high.
There are undeniably places in your home where you’ll need a cat tower–whether you don’t want your cat to climb over your desk while you’re working or simply have a furniture gap, they’re important and useful. Sometimes, though, alternative solutions work perfectly.
Cat shelves are a very popular and attractive option for adding cat walkways throughout the home. However, they can be pricey. DIY options can reduce the costs, however, I still don’t have much experience with them as they are out of my budget.
I know, I know. I just said furniture arrangements. But that’s not what I mean this time. One gap in our cat highway was a corner between a shelving unit and our windowsill, where we previously kept our laundry basket. Our ultimate goal is to replace our current laundry hamper with a wooden one that Dean will be able to leap onto, rather than putting a cat tower there.
Searching online will reveal countless different solutions to the cat tower problem aside from those listed here. From cat hammocks to multipurpose bookshelf cat trees, there are tons of possibilities depending on what works for your space and your budget.
Finally, for those places you need a cat tree, go with an option you can bear to look at. We recently were gifted a Vesper cat tree and we love it. Compared to other cat trees, it’s gorgeous and we love to see Dean lounging on it. The replaceable pads are just an added bonus. There are lots of other attractive cat tree options, and sometimes even just getting a gray vs a tan cat tree can make all the difference.
Rather than ending up with 1000 tiny mice toys, stick to three or four variations on classic toys that your cat loves. Our cat loves balls and ring-shaped toys, so we have several different types of those to rotate through. This keeps him happy and entertained without overwhelming us with toys.
Stick to one or two wand toys with replaceable heads. You only have one stick to keep track of and store, but tons of options for your furry friend to play with if they get bored.
Keep your toys contained and organized. I’ve done both the big basket of cat toys and the box, and the box is so much easier. I can keep track of which toys are in rotation currently much easier, and it provides a physical limit on toys in case I’m ever tempted by some big, fancy cat toy. If it can’t fit in the box, it goes.
Although cats do come with a lot of stuff if you’re willing to compromise with them to find a balance of cat and human things that works for you it’s well worth it. After going through many cat trees and toys that made me hate my space, I’ve managed to find objects that work for me. Seeing the cat tree fills me with joy rather than dulled disgust. It may take time, but it’s definitely possible! What’s your biggest cat clutter struggle?