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Welcoming Cats to Your Rental Housing

Info for housing managers: Making cat owners feel at home while keeping your units clean

  • Cats are great apartment pets, and your policies can make their owners feel at home while protecting your property. Photo by Mike McFarland/The HSUS

Cats are America’s most popular pet, living in more than 42 million American households. Approximately 30 percent of cat households have two cats, and more than twenty percent have three or more. Cats can make perfect apartment pets, since they are generally small, quiet and clean. The key to ensuring success with cats in your properties is establishing clear expectations of your residents from the start.

When owners have the right pet care tools and information, pet related problems like damage and nuisance complaints are much less likely.

When it comes to cats in apartments, the most common challenges can be avoided by following a few basic rules:

  • Residents should keep their cats indoors, eliminating risk of outdoor property damage, keeping fleas out and cats safe. Cats can live perfectly happily in an indoor environment with a little enrichment. When cats can perch and observe their surroundings, they feel more comfortable and less stressed, which means they’ll behave better. Your cat-owning residents can learn more from our online Cat Answer Tool.
  • Cats have a natural need to scratch, so it’s vital that they have appropriate ways to express that behavior to prevent damage to the rental unit or furniture. Recommend scratching posts and pads to your residents with cats; you could even have a display model in your leasing office to promote them. Get more ideas here.
  • Cat owners need to provide their cats with litter boxes. Most cats use their litter boxes perfectly well as long as owners maintain them properly. Your residents can get tips here.
  • A spayed or neutered cat makes a better apartment cat because they’re less likely to develop or exhibit problem behaviors. Encourage your residents to have their cats spay/neutered as early as possible, ideally by two months of age. Find referrals and reduced-cost spay/neuter clinics near you.
  • Be sure your residents and maintenance staff are cleaning any cat accidents with the right products. Typical carpet cleaners won’t eliminate odors a cat can detect and this can lead to more problems. Cat owners should use a product specially designed to break down pet urine.

    Looking for a pet?

    Find your perfect match at a local shelter.

    Shelter Pet Project
    can help.