Today in central Oklahoma, it is 74 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny with a little bit of breeze. The catio is open, the windows are up, and the doors are propped open to get as much of the fresh, warm air through the house as possible. The dogs have been rolling around in the dry grass in the back yard (and then bringing it into the house), and the cats are in the catio or in a window sill, sleeping or grooming or watching the birds.
We are fortunate to have a parcel of land, a little slice of heaven, where our four-legged family can run around, or escape their siblings and curl up for some alone time. Recently, a friend of Sauerkraut's was struggling with whether they could keep their cat because they had to move into a small space, and they weren't sure it was fair for their feline to be "cooped up" in a confined area.
I am by no means a cat expert, so these are merely my thoughts and observations, but from what I've been able to tell, a cat can be just as happy in a small space as in a large one. Sauerkraut's older "sister" Nuggette used to live with us here, but moved out with her Humom to a one-bedroom apartment when she went off to college. There have been times we've needed to keep one of our cats in a single room, whether because they need to recuperate, or we're on the road, or because they needed a "time out"...
It has never seemed to bother any of our cats to be in a space smaller than the whole house. I think the only reason they've ever complained is because we are on one side of the door and they're on the other side... but that's true whether they're in the small space, or if Humom and I are in the small space and they have the run of the rest of the house!
We have fostered many cats and kittens in our foster room, and you can see that they are able to manage in the single room with no trouble. No really, click the Foster Cam tab above and watch them - they LOVE the space, and seem no worse for the wear.
I think what we forget is that our cats are not human. We are so used to seeing the love and the humor and feistiness in them that we also feel, that we assume they have the same preferences that we do. Many people couldn't stand to be in a small space for long. But with a cat, as long as they're able to get adequate exercise, it doesn't matter if that's running from room to room in a large house, or in a 10x10 room while you play with them with a feather toy. Make sure they have something to climb and rest atop, a space that's their own.
In any case, it's better that a cat be moved from a home into a smaller living space with their owner, because the alternative could be that they are kept in a 2x2 cage at the shelter... or worse. There are resources for any kind of help you need. Here, the Central Oklahoma Humane Society and Oklahoma City Animal Welfare offer several outreach programs, such as pet food pantries and low cost veterinary services. Elsewhere, the ASPCA and many other great organizations are there to help.
Many breeds of cats are perfect for a small living space. As always, Sauerkraut and Humom and I suggest adopting over shopping, and consult with a professional to make sure the pet you're bringing home is right for your living situation. I can't think of a better friend to share a space large or small than any of our four-legged kids.