Is It Cruel to Have One Indoor Cat?

We don’t think it is cruel to keep a single indoor cat if you are attentive to their needs. However, keeping an indoor cat by itself can make it easier for them to become bored and lonely. We would consider knowingly keeping an indoor cat bored to be cruel.

Having a single indoor cat will make them much likely to lack entertainment, companionship, and mental stimulation through the day. This can lead to many different behavioral problems which can quickly negatively impact you and your cat’s relationship.

Can I adopt a single indoor cat?

Many cat shelters are now only offering indoor cats and kittens to be adopted in bonded pairs. If you want to have an indoor cat but think you can only keep a single cat, you may need to search through more options before finding somebody who is happy to let you adopt a single indoor cat.

There aren’t any laws about keeping an indoor cat by itself. The decision to give out cats in bonded pairs is the shelter’s decision and they often make it for the benefit of their cats. If you are serious about adopting a cat and giving it a good life indoors you should respect it.

You may have better luck looking for older cats to adopt and FIV positive cats. These cats are either used to living a solitary life or need to be kept indoors in isolation for their health. A lot of prospective cat owners are prepared to get a kitten. Keep in mind that this period of time is a relatively short period of a cat’s life. Cats of all ages need love and care.

Why can’t I have one indoor cat?

Indoor cats need more mental stimulation and exercise as they can’t freely roam the outdoors where they would usually have access to both of these things. This means that you need to provide regular and consistent entertainment and enrichment through play and interaction.

Although this sounds easy, keeping up with a young cat’s energy levels can quickly become tiring. Its generally recommended that indoor cats get a half hour of play split into at least two sessions throughout the day. In truth, your cat will probably need more. This can quickly get in the way of your schedule and lifestyle.

Indoor cats that live in pairs or groups have the opportunity to entertain each other constantly through the day. They will show affection, lounge about, and play fight even when you are busy or out of the house. This won’t completely cover their entertainment needs but it will be a significant help.

Cats that don’t get enough attention and play can become bored and anxious. How would you like it if you were locked indoors for most of the day with nobody else and nothing to entertain yourself with? Behavioral problems like aggression, spraying, destruction and over vocalising. Cats that are bored for a long time may even become depressed. This leads to poorer health as they give up on play and exercise.

This rule is especially true for kittens. Cats learn a lot of good behaviors liks moderating their aggression during play and displaying affection from other cats at a young age. Isolating a kitten makes it more difficult for them to learn these crucial behaviours. Younger cats are also significantly more energetic and require more attention and time to be happy.

Can I keep single indoor cat?

With all of that being said, there is no law against keeping an indoor cat by itself. Animal welfare may get involved if somebody is concerned about the health of your cat, but it would be extreme inappropriate for them to step in just because you keep a cat by itself indoors.

If you do decide to keep a single indoor cat, you need to be responsible for their health and happiness for many years to come. This will involve the basic steps of making your home an inviting space for your cat to live in which can be done in a relatively small space.

The most difficult thing will be giving them enough attention and play through the day. Some cats can become very needy for your attention and become demanding of play. You might lose a lot of sleep if they haven’t had an opportunity to burn off their energy during the day.

It can become very difficult to live with a cat that is not happy with their living situation. The longer they are unsatisfied, the more difficult it will be to get them back to being happy. Cat behavior is complicated to assess. Its always best to look after your cat and satisfy their needs so problems don’t crop up in the first place.


It’s not cruel to keep single cat indoors but it can make it a lot more likely that your indoor cat is kept in cruel conditions. The main problem is that single indoor cats can quickly become bored and lonely while you are out of the house. If this happens, your cat will have a poor quality of life and may develop bad behaviors like aggression or depression.

Keeping indoor cats in pairs gives them the opportunity to have a constant companion throughout the day. This is especially important for kittens that need other cats to learn how to behave from.

If you can only support one cat and want to keep them indoors, consider re-homing an older indoor cat or an FIV positive cat.