How to Rent When You Have a Cat with You

5 min read

Mr.Fluffles may look like a darling kitty to you; but your landlord sees a ball of shedding fur and razor-sharp, sofa destroying claws. On top of that, some units are just plain uncomfortable for your fur kid. Here’s how to rent a place when you’ve got a cat:

1. Consider the upsides of renting unfurnished

Unfurnished properties provide three advantages:

First, you can decorate and personalise the unit; this allows you to pick and arrange the furniture in a way that suits you, and your  cat. In a furnished unit, for example, you may find that heavy clutter (antique desks, big dining table, floor lamps, etc.) is constricting, and harder to keep clean.

Second, there’s no furniture for your cat to damage other than your own. Your landlord won’t have an excuse to keep your security deposit.

Third, unfurnished units tend to have lower rental costs than fully furnished counterparts. You’ll save money, while maintaining the flexible furniture arrangements you need.

Empty houses decreases probability of furniture damage by your cats.
Your cats will have lower probability of damaging furniture in an unfurnished house.

2. Make the landlord aware that your cat is neutered, and what that means

Explain that your cat is neutered – this will reduce or prevent spraying, in about 85 per cent of male cats. It’s also less aggressive, and less likely to damage property.

Not all landlords understand this, so provide clarification for them. Do have the papers (to show your cat was neutered) on hand; some landlords will want to see proof of the neutering.

3. Provide a lot of scratching posts and toys

Scratching posts and toys are a diversion for your cat. While they’re clawing at these things, they’re not clawing at the furniture or walls. If there are other tenants staying in the house, remember to ask them not to move scratching posts, toys, etc. out of reach of the cat – a bored kitty can be become a vandalising kitty.

Set up scratching posts at three main locations:

– On your cat’s route to food and water bowls

– In the cat’s sleeping areas

– In doorways

Cat resting on the scratching tower.
Provide cats with toys, such as the scratching tower, to prevent them from vandalising your property.

4. Keep fine drapes or veils out of kitty’s way

If your landlord has got long curtains or drapes, be warned that these are fragile – and often favourite – playthings among pets. It may be a good idea to take stash away good fabrics like silk table cloths, and place them somewhere your pet isn’t likely to roll around in them or rip them.

You might also want to request if you can change the drapes (to protect them if they’re expensive). As long as you keep them in good condition, and put them back up before you leave, most landlords won’t mind. What they’ll mind is a a meter long rip in a $3,000 curtain.

5. Remember that HDB doesn’t actually allow cats

Yes, we know people in HDB flats keep cats. But just remember it’s technically illegal, which is why most landlords won’t allow it either. Whatever the unwritten rule may be, we strongly advise you against choosing to rent in an HDB unit.

In the event someone does complain, your landlord is confined by the rule of law. Your pet has to go. That often means losing your security deposit as you break the lease.

To be safe, we suggest you confine your rental choices to condo units. Even if the owner of a flat is okay with your cat.

6. You do NOT want your cat dealing with a pest problem

This isn’t the 1800’s, and your cat is not a solution to rat or other vermin problem. The last thing you want is for your cat to bite into a mouse encrusted in sewage filth, or some toxic bug that made it’s way in via a garbage chute. Their guts are tougher than ours, but not as tough as paying the potential vet bill.

Be wary of ground floor units; critters are more likely to crawl in, especially around the rainy reasons near December.

Ensure your house is clear of pests, otherwise vet bills are pretty expensive.
Ensure your house is clear of pests, otherwise vet bills are pretty expensive.

7. Be wary of high units with open balconies

Watch out for units with open balconies, that your cat can easily climb on. Their instinct is to perch, and you might end up finding them somewhere precarious (e.g. if the jump from the balcony to the air-con ledge). Condo security aren’t experts at handling these events, so don’t expect they’ll come running with a ladder.

If the unit does have these features, make sure there’s a way you can prevent your cat from getting to them (maybe get floating shelves or a “cat condo” in the house, so they have somewhere else to perch).

Do you rent with your cat? Voice your thoughts in our comments section or on our Facebook community page.

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