My Cat and I Are (Finally) Adjusting to Apartment Living


For the most part, I grew up living in apartments. As a kid, it was great. There was a built-in friend group and babysitting jobs were readily available. Sure, I had to share a room with my sister most of the time, but I was a bossy older sibling, so things usually worked in my favor.

I remained an apartment dweller until my husband and I moved into our first house, a few years after we wed. The hardest thing for me to get used to was the quiet, especially at night. I was used to hearing neighbors through the walls, music blaring out of nearby windows, and cars entering and leaving the parking lot. I initially found the silence a bit unsettling, and then every little house creak made me jump. I was certain an intruder was breaking in through the back door or a ghost was walking down the hallway, ready to haunt me. Do ghosts even walk? I think they do — I’ve heard the recordings on Ghost Hunters.

Cosmo emerges from under the sofa for a brief moment on our first day in the new place.

At the beginning of January, one of my cats and I moved from a house to an apartment. Our house had been in a rural area, and my Cosmo kitty was used to lots of windows and a fair amount of critter-watching. Our new pad is in the city (which I love), but the change in residence has been an adjustment for both of us. Cosmo had never lived anywhere else but our old place, and I was newly separated from my husband. I had no idea how either one of us would react once settled into our new surroundings.

Velcro cat by my side.
Velcro cat by my side.

At first, Cosmo was completely skittish. Every sound made him anxious, and he spent his time under the bed, glued to me, or howling while wandering around the apartment. In fact, he spent the entire first night howling. He was completely freaked.

Speaking of freaked, I was now back in a world of hearing my upstairs neighbors walking and people chatting in the hallway as they passed by my door. I had to sleep with the television on the first few nights because the “intruders” and “ghosts” scenarios played out in my mind, just like they had when we first moved into our house.

Lovin' the city life!
Lovin’ the city life!

Oh, and the window situation is quite different now. Instead of countless kitty-cat lookouts, we now have two windows — one on top of the other — and they’re five feet off the ground. Don’t get me wrong; I love my apartment. It’s a loft in a historic building situation right on the banks of the Mississippi River, directly across from downtown Minneapolis. The location is dreamy! I can walk most anywhere, and it’s a scenic location. It’s just that Cosmo isn’t quite tall enough to look out the window, and — until recently — I didn’t have a cat tree to elevate the poor chap. I think he assumed the outside had vanished from existence.

Still here.
Still here.

While perched on his new cat tree, he can now watch people pass by our window and keep his eye on local birds. He’s still forming a bond with the giant tree, but in time I know he’ll be up on those leafy platforms constantly. He still likes to be in the same room as me, and continues to stare at me while I work, but overall he’s feeling at home. I think he’ll perk up even more when my other cat, Phoebe, joins us this summer.

Cosmo rarely reacts to building noises these days, except for the occasional hootin’ and hollerin’ of people coming home from a night of partying. We live near one of the entrances, so we’ve become accustomed to a bit of traffic, mostly the click-clack of shoes. He still dives under the bed when someone comes to visit, but emerges after a few minutes and happily greets the guests.

The outside didn't disappear!
The outside didn’t disappear!

Me? I think I’ve adjusted pretty well. The sounds of neighbors, building creaks, and passing cars don’t faze me, and I can nod off without the voices of vintage sitcom characters coming from the television. I’ve met lots of new friends and regularly attend social gatherings. There’s a movie theater a couple of blocks away, so I can stuff my face with popcorn and watch the latest releases. On Tuesdays, it’s only $5 a ticket! Deal!

It took a couple of months, but Cosmo and I are happy in our new home, starting our new life. He’s a city cat now, so that tuxedo he wears fits right in! Now we need tickets to somewhere fancy. Do you think he’d enjoy the opera? Probably not. Anyway, his new cat tree gives him the best seat in the house!

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