You’ve dreamed of becoming a cat owner but there’s one little obstacle – your landlord says you can’t have a cat. Should you just give up or plan to move? For many, moving is not an option but there’s no need to give up yet. Instead, try some of these suggestions to persuade your landlord that indoor cats are not a drawback and are even a benefit.
Get in touch with your landlord or management group and tell them you’d like to add to or modify your lease. Offer to pay an extra deposit to keep a cat and/or a monthly fee (usually around $25 – $50 dollars).
Assure your landlord that you will be a responsible cat owner. Tell him your cat will be spayed or neutered and point out the behavior benefits of doing this (including no marking, less meowing, less aggression). Point out that indoor cats are useful for keeping the rodent population down. Remind him that cats are clean and don’t have to leave the apartment to go to the bathroom like a dog does. Include promises that there will be no flying fur or smell. Do some research and tell him that, in selecting a cat, you’re going to ensure that he is apartment-friendly. Another idea is to suggest that you foster a cat for a shelter for a limited time in order to prove to the landlord that you can be a responsible pet caretaker (all while helping a kitty on her way to a new home).
On another note, if you already have a cat and are applying for a no-pets-allowed apartment unit, glowing references from other landlords on your capability as a pet owner might sway a new landlord your way.
When you start looking for cats, consider their breed and personality. A [Siamese](http://www.catster.com/cat-breeds/Siamese “Siamese”) is usually too vocal for an apartment while an Abssynian is almost silent. Look for a low-activity cat (older cats are a good choice), an independent cat, a quiet, docile cat, and a cat that requires little grooming (preferably a short-hair). Here are a few breeds that come to mind:
Address any issues that could come up from owning a cat. Although you’re doing everything you can to avoid any issues, present your landlord with a plan for any behavior problems such as excessive meowing, scratching, or marking. There is a lot of information on the web about cat training.
If you decide to move, check for a “pet addendum” that’s attached to the end of the lease and spells out the landlord’s requirements, such as weight or breed restrictions. See if you’re required to have any extra insurance. Is any pet deposit refundable? Is there an extra monthly fee? If you have a local web site where people post things about the area, log on and ask about cat owners’ experiences in local apartments. Another good resource is www.craigslist.com. Many cities have a Craigslist page where you can peruse apartment listings and talk on pet forums. And there are plenty of other online resources for finding a cat-friendly apartment.
There are ways to enjoy the company of a cat without adopting one. One way is to volunteer for a shelter where you can help take care of cats and spend lots of quality petting time.
Another option is visiting family or friends who have a cat. Just remember to give the people some attention too. You can also visit Tokyo where you can sip some tea and rent a cat by the hour at cafes. If Tokyo is too far, try a local bookstore or pet shop. There are often cats wondering around there. And there’s always your neighbor’s cat who, for some reason, likes to hang out on your porch. Maybe the can of tuna on the steps has something to do with it.