For cat owners searching for rental properties, navigating the challenge of finding a cat-friendly landlord can sometimes be daunting. Landlords often have valid concerns regarding cats, ranging from potential property damage to hygiene issues. However, with the right approach, cat owners can employ strategies to persuade landlords to allow cats in rental properties.

By addressing these concerns, showcasing responsible pet ownership, and offering compromises, cat owners can increase their chances of securing a rental home that accommodates their furry feline companions.

In this article, we will explore effective strategies that cat owners can employ to persuade landlords to allow cats, fostering a harmonious living arrangement for both tenants and landlords.

Why Landlords Don’t Like Cats in Rentals

There are several common reasons why landlords may have an aversion to allowing cats in rental properties. Here are some of the main concerns:

  1. Property damage: Landlords worry that cats may scratch or damage furniture, carpets, walls, or other surfaces in the rental unit. The potential cost of repairs or replacements can be a deterrent.
  2. Allergies: Some landlords or other tenants may have allergies to cats. Allowing cats in the property could trigger allergic reactions and create discomfort for those affected.
  3. Odor and cleanliness: Cats have litter boxes that require regular cleaning, and if not properly maintained, they can emit unpleasant odors. Landlords may be concerned about the smell permeating the property or the potential for unsanitary conditions.
  4. Noise disturbances: Cats can be vocal, especially during mating season or when they are in distress. This can result in noise disturbances that may bother other tenants or neighboring units.
  5. Fleas and pests: Cats can carry fleas and other pests that may infest the rental property and cause problems for both current and future tenants. Landlords may worry about the potential costs and inconvenience of dealing with pest control issues.
  6. Insurance policies: Some insurance companies have restrictions or higher premiums for properties with cats. Landlords may be reluctant to allow cats due to the impact it could have on their insurance coverage and costs.
  7. Limited demand: Landlords may have had previous negative experiences with tenants who had cats, such as difficulties finding new tenants due to allergies or property damage. As a result, they may prefer to exclude cats altogether to avoid potential problems in the future.

It is important to note that not all landlords have an aversion to cats, and some are open to making exceptions or implementing specific pet policies to accommodate responsible cat owners.

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Specific Concerns and Issues with Cats for Landlords

Specific Concerns and Issues with Cats for Landlords

Landlords may have specific concerns or issues with cats compared to other pets. One primary concern is the potential for property damage. Unlike smaller caged pets or dogs, cats have sharp claws that they use for various activities, including scratching furniture, carpets, and walls. This can result in costly repairs or replacements for the landlord. Additionally, cats are known to climb and explore their surroundings, which can lead to accidental damage to curtains, blinds, or other items within the rental property.

Another concern is the issue of cleanliness and odor. While all pets require proper care, cats have litter boxes that need regular cleaning. If not maintained, these boxes can emit unpleasant odors that can be difficult to eliminate from the property. Landlords may worry about the impact on the overall cleanliness and potential complaints from other tenants.

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Lastly, some landlords may have concerns about the potential for noise disturbances caused by cats. Although cats are generally quieter than dogs, they can still vocalize, especially during mating season or if they are in distress. This noise can disrupt the peace and quiet of the rental property, potentially causing discomfort for other tenants or neighboring units.

These specific concerns distinguish cats from other pets and contribute to landlords’ reservations about allowing them in rental properties.

Handling Cats in Rental Properties: Landlord’s Approach

Landlords typically handle the presence of cats in rental properties through various approaches and policies. Here are some common ways landlords handle cats:

  1. Pet-friendly policies: Some landlords are open to allowing cats and have pet-friendly policies in place. They may explicitly state in their rental agreements that cats are permitted, and they may have specific guidelines regarding the number of cats allowed, breed restrictions, or additional pet deposits or fees.
  2. No-pet policies: Other landlords may have a strict no-pet policy that applies to all animals, including cats. This policy is often in place to minimize potential property damage, allergies, noise disturbances, or other issues associated with pets. In such cases, cats would not be allowed unless the landlord makes an exception.
  3. Case-by-case basis: Some landlords evaluate pet requests, including cats, on a case-by-case basis. They may consider factors such as the tenant’s history, references, and willingness to comply with specific conditions. This approach allows landlords to make individualized decisions based on their assessment of the tenant and the cat’s potential impact on the property.
  4. Pet agreements and addendums: In situations where landlords permit cats, they may require tenants to sign a separate pet agreement or addendum to the lease. These documents outline the specific responsibilities and rules related to pet ownership, such as maintaining cleanliness, preventing damage, and adhering to local ordinances.
  5. Pet deposits or fees: Landlords who allow cats may require tenants to pay a pet deposit or a non-refundable pet fee. This financial arrangement is intended to cover any potential damage caused by the cat or to offset the additional cleaning required when the tenant moves out.
  6. Regular inspections: Some landlords may conduct regular inspections of the rental property to ensure that the tenant with a cat is adhering to the agreed-upon rules and maintaining cleanliness. These inspections help landlords identify any potential issues early on and address them promptly.

It’s worth noting that the approach landlords take can vary depending on their personal preferences, property management policies, local regulations, and the specific circumstances of each tenant and rental property.

Legal Implications and Restrictions for Landlords Allowing Cats

Legal implications and restrictions for landlords regarding allowing cats in rental properties can vary depending on the jurisdiction and specific regulations. Here are some common legal considerations:

  1. Fair Housing Laws: In many jurisdictions, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants based on their disability or certain protected characteristics, which may include allowing assistance animals, including cats, as reasonable accommodations. If a tenant has a documented disability and requires a cat as a service or emotional support animal, landlords may be legally required to make exceptions to their pet policies.
  2. Pet-related ordinances or bylaws: Some cities or municipalities may have specific ordinances or bylaws that regulate pet ownership and impose restrictions on the number of pets or certain breeds. Landlords need to be aware of and comply with these local regulations when formulating their pet policies.
  3. Lease agreements and pet addendums: Landlords can include specific clauses in lease agreements or pet addendums that outline the rules and expectations regarding pets, including cats. These agreements may address pet deposits, restrictions on the number of pets, pet-related responsibilities, and consequences for violations.
  4. Insurance policies: Landlords should review their insurance policies to ensure they provide coverage for rental properties with cats or other pets. Some insurance companies may have specific requirements, exclusions, or higher premiums associated with pet ownership. Non-compliance with insurance requirements can have legal implications in case of accidents, injuries, or property damage.
  5. Property damage and security deposit deductions: Landlords have the right to deduct funds from the security deposit to cover any reasonable costs for repairing pet-related damage caused by cats or other pets. However, deductions should be documented, fair, and compliant with local laws regarding security deposit deductions.
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It is crucial for landlords to familiarize themselves with local laws, consult legal professionals, and stay informed about any updates or changes in regulations to ensure compliance and mitigate legal risks when allowing cats or other pets in their rental properties.

Alternative Solutions for Cats in Rentals: Landlord-Tenant Compromises

Certainly, there are alternative solutions and compromises that landlords and tenants can consider when it comes to allowing cats in rental properties. Here are a few options:

  1. Pet agreements: Landlords and tenants can work together to create a pet agreement that outlines specific guidelines and responsibilities regarding cat ownership. This agreement can cover issues such as property damage, cleaning expectations, noise control, and any additional requirements or restrictions.
  2. Increased security deposit: Landlords may request a higher security deposit from tenants with cats to provide a financial cushion in case of any pet-related damages. This can help alleviate the landlord’s concerns while giving the tenant an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to responsible pet ownership.
  3. Pet references or certifications: Tenants can provide references from previous landlords or veterinarians to vouch for their responsible pet ownership. Additionally, if the cat has undergone training or certification programs, documentation of these can be provided to assure the landlord of the cat’s behavior and obedience.
  4. Renters insurance: Tenants can obtain renters insurance that includes liability coverage for pet-related incidents. This can provide an extra layer of protection for both the tenant and the landlord in case of any accidents or damages caused by the cat.
  5. Regular inspections: Landlords may consider conducting periodic inspections to assess the condition of the rental property and ensure that the cat is not causing any significant damage or hygiene issues. This can help establish trust and provide reassurance to the landlord.
  6. Trial period: Landlords can agree to a trial period where the tenant is allowed to have a cat for a specified duration, during which the landlord can evaluate the cat’s behavior and the tenant’s adherence to the agreed-upon terms. At the end of the trial period, both parties can reassess the situation and decide whether to continue allowing the cat.

It’s important for landlords and tenants to engage in open communication, understand each other’s concerns, and be willing to find mutually agreeable solutions. Flexibility, compromise, and a clear understanding of expectations can often lead to successful resolutions when it comes to allowing cats in rental properties.

Data and Research on Landlords’ Dislike of Cats

While it is challenging to make broad generalizations about landlords’ attitudes towards cats, as preferences can vary significantly among individuals, there isn’t comprehensive data or research specifically focusing on landlords’ attitudes towards cats. Landlords’ preferences regarding pets, including cats, can be influenced by a range of factors such as personal experiences, property management policies, local regulations, and individual circumstances.

However, it’s worth noting that surveys and studies have been conducted on pet-friendly housing and rental policies in general. These studies often highlight the challenges faced by pet owners in finding suitable rental accommodations. Some research has explored landlords’ concerns related to pets, which may extend to cats as well. Common concerns identified in these studies include property damage, potential liability, noise disturbances, and issues related to cleanliness and hygiene.

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These studies generally aim to examine the availability and accessibility of pet-friendly housing rather than specifically focusing on cats. They provide insights into the broader landscape of pet-friendly rental policies and the challenges faced by pet owners in finding suitable housing.

While there may not be specific data or research that supports the claim that landlords generally dislike cats, anecdotal evidence and individual experiences of tenants and landlords can provide some insight into the varying attitudes towards cats as pets in rental properties.

Strategies for Persuading Landlords to Allow Cats in Rentals

Strategies for Persuading Landlords to Allow Cats in Rentals

Cat owners can employ several strategies to persuade landlords to allow cats in rental properties. Here are some effective approaches:

  1. Compile a pet resume: Create a comprehensive pet resume that highlights your cat’s positive attributes and responsible pet ownership. Include information such as the cat’s age, breed, temperament, spay/neuter status, vaccination history, and any training or behavioral accomplishments. This can help demonstrate that your cat is well-behaved and poses minimal risk to the property.
  2. Provide references: Obtain references from previous landlords, neighbors, or veterinarians who can vouch for your responsible pet ownership and the well-being of your cat. Positive testimonials can help build trust and reassure the landlord that your cat will not cause any issues.
  3. Offer a higher security deposit: Propose an increased security deposit to address any concerns the landlord may have about potential pet-related damages. This shows your commitment to covering any unforeseen costs and can help alleviate the landlord’s worries.
  4. Offer to pay for additional cleaning: Assure the landlord that you will be responsible for the cleanliness of the rental unit, including any additional cleaning required due to your cat’s presence. You can even offer to have the property professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy or as needed.
  5. Provide proof of renters insurance: Obtain renters insurance that includes liability coverage for pet-related incidents. Sharing proof of insurance can provide peace of mind to the landlord, knowing that they are protected in case of any accidents or damages caused by your cat.
  6. Offer a trial period: Propose a trial period during which the landlord can evaluate the impact of your cat on the rental property. Assure the landlord that you will closely monitor your cat’s behavior, address any issues promptly, and comply with all agreed-upon terms. At the end of the trial period, the landlord can assess whether to continue allowing your cat based on their observations.
  7. Be open to compromises: Demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to compromise by discussing alternative solutions. For example, you can agree to additional terms or conditions, such as limiting the number of cats, providing regular updates or reports on the cat’s well-being, or allowing the landlord to conduct periodic inspections.

Remember to approach the landlord respectfully, present your case clearly, and address any concerns they may have. It’s important to be understanding and open to their perspective while advocating for your cat.


In conclusion, while it can be challenging to find landlords who are open to allowing cats in rental properties, cat owners have several strategies at their disposal to persuade them. By presenting a pet resume, providing references, and offering a higher security deposit, cat owners can demonstrate their responsibility and commitment to addressing any potential concerns.

Additionally, obtaining renters insurance with liability coverage and being open to compromises can help alleviate landlords’ worries about risks and damages. Effective communication, understanding the landlord’s perspective, and proposing trial periods can foster trust and provide an opportunity for both parties to evaluate the suitability of allowing cats in the rental property.

By employing these strategies, cat owners can increase their chances of finding a cat-friendly rental home and enjoy a harmonious living environment with their beloved feline companions.

About the author 

Eric Lee

Eric, Co-Founder of REIInsiders, brings extensive real estate investing expertise and a finance background to drive growth and oversee marketing and business development efforts.

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