Cats are, by far, the most popular pet in the United States, with over 88 million felines living in American homes across the country. Despite the fact that their owners are fiercely loyal to them, landlords and property owners don’t always think so kindly of our feline friends, making apartment hunting with a cat a bit tougher than a normal search.
In honor of National Cat Day, we asked Niccole Schreck, Senior Brand Manager for Rent.com (and a cat owner herself) for her tips on how renters can find the perfect home for both them and their furry companions.
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Look specifically for cat-friendly buildings
It seems obvious, but apartment hunters would save themselves from a lot of heartache if they concentrated on finding pet-friendly units from the outset. Luckily for cat owners, “there are a lot more restrictions for dogs than cats,” notes Schreck. What you don’t want is to find an apartment you love, only to be crushed when you discover you can’t bring your kitty along. (Rent.com has a cat-friendly filter that makes the process much easier.)
Always start a conversation
“You can talk to the property manager or landlord,” says Schreck. “The number one factor [that leads landlords to ban cats] is fear of damage to the unit. Obviously, cat urine is a smell that’s almost impossible to get rid of. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, they fear they will bring bugs or birds into the unit.” A little assurance goes a long way.
Create a cat résumé
It may seem silly, but a ‘cat résumé’ is a great tool to show landlords that you take their concerns seriously and also answers any questions they have about your pet. “You should always include a photo of your pet, along with your cat’s name, weight and any medical information - for example, is it spayed or neutered? Is your cat declawed?” In addition to being a convenient page for property managers to reference, “it also reassures the landlord you are taking this seriously.”
Follow the rules
Whatever you do, says Schreck, don’t even think of sneaking your cat into a building where pets are forbidden. “It’s a really bad idea for a couple of reasons,” she notes. “One, you are breaking a contract. A lease is a legal document and not following it could lead to being fined or losing your security deposit — or even being evicted.”
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Lakshmi Gandhi is Metro's Social Media Manager. Follow her on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.