Have you ever looked into renting a vacant apartment and thought to yourself, “there have been cats living here”. Pet owners are usually adept with these types of things since they know what to look out for. But for new time cat owners who’ve yet to experience the responsibilities of pet ownership, there are some common issues you should expect. From lingering smells to scratched up walls, there are several indicators that a cat could jeopardise your rental bond.
Follow these helpful tips to help keep your apartment in perfect condition, and you won’t ever have to worry about getting your full refund back.
Create the Perfect Litter Box
If you are renting and you want to ensure your bond is secure, you’ll need to keep your apartment smell “neutral”. Cats are naturally clean pets but are creatures of habit, so if things aren’t exactly quite right or something may have changed with their litter box, they could attempt to use another area in your home.
Keep your litter box maintained and you won’t ever find surprises in your property. It may be necessary to try a few different types of litters or litter boxes before you find that perfect combination for your picky feline. In fact, be scientific about changing only one thing at a time so that you can be entirely sure what your cat’s preferences are.
Here are a few tips and tricks to create that perfect litter box.
- Keep it clean – Clean your litter box daily and replace the litter once every two weeks.
- Find the right litter – When it comes to litter, there are unlimited choices that can be made: scented or unscented, clumping or non-clumping, silica crystals or newspaper. We recommend unscented scoop-able cat litter.
- Try a larger box – Some cats need their space, so try various sizes to see if your cat has a preference.
- One litter box per cat – Sharing is caring, but if you have two cats, give each their own litter box in separate areas of the house.
- Keep it away from food – Cats are sensitive to different smells, so separate the litter box from where you feed them.
- Try adding more litter – Sometimes cats prefer to sink their toes into the litter. Try adding a little more next time.
Avoid Damage to Carpets, Floors and Walls
The key to avoiding scratched furniture, shredded carpets, or clawed wallpaper is with prevention. By reinforcing positive behaviour, your cat will instinctively learn the proper places to mark their territory.
- Keep your cat stimulated – Cats are naturally playful creatures and stimulating them will keep their hunting skills sharp. Get plenty of cat toys at your local pet shop that encourages frequent short bursts of energy.
- Remove scents from naughty areas – If your cat is scratching to mark its territory, it will return to the same spot repeatedly if it recognises a scent. Clean the area thoroughly to remove the smell as much as possible, and keep your cat away until the area is completely dry. If the cat keeps returning, you may have to find a way to restrict its access.
- Train your cat on their scratching post – If you catch your cat in the act then move him or her to the post immediately, encouraging them to continue scratching there. This will help spread the cat’s scent and give them a more natural place to mark their territory.
- Restrict room access – Especially with newer homes, consider restricting room access to create a “safe haven” for your cat. Slowly introduce them to a larger area once they are comfortable with their surroundings.
Reduce Anxiety in Your Cat
Lastly, if your cat is damaging property, it could be signs of other issues unrelated to territorial marking. One factor could be anxiety or stress – in fact, just like humans, it is estimated that 20% of cats suffer from psychological issues caused by stress. Catster has some great information that can help you identify some of these stress symptoms while Purina has a great list of strategies to calm your cat.
You’ll also want to remember that while we all give cats (and dogs) human qualities, their naughtiness isn’t necessarily bad behaviour. We should always avoid punishing our pets and instead search for other strategies to correct behaviour.
If you feel that you’ve tried absolutely everything and unfortunately nothing is working, you may want to have a word with your vet. They can help address any behavioural issues and work with you to come up with more effective strategies to curb the behaviour.
When you’re finally ready for the big move, check out this handy Guide to Moving with Pets for tips on planning ahead, crate training, and getting acquainted with the new neighbourhood.