No dogs allowed is one thing, but who wouldn’t allow cats? Well, I learned that plenty of apartment and condominium buildings turn away people with cats.
To understand why some landlords or management companies are
more finicky than a cat would ever
be, I asked several to explain their
reasoning. Here are the responses:
cats smell; cat litter boxes smell; bad
experiences (renters moved out, leaving carpeting shredded by felines or
ruined by cats who had far too many
accidents); I don’t want a “cat lady”
living in my unit with 20 or 30 cats;
another tenant in the building might
be allergic; I don’t like cats.
These objections are the best I
could find — but they’re still lame.
➜ Cats smell. Any cat in reasonably decent health doesn’t smell. Cats
bathe several times daily; most people don’t. Who’s cleaner? I posed that
question to a landlord. Funny thing:
I quickly learned some dirty words
before experiencing a dial tone.
➜ Litter boxes smell.
Responsible cat owners scoop the
litter box daily. If the odor of stinky
poop is easily detected by neighbors,
either they’re part Basset Hound or
it’s not a place I even want to live in.
Imagine smelling everything that goes
on in a neighbor’s home. Gross.
➜ Bad experiences. The complaint might be valid about cat urine
odor if cats are continually having
accidents. If that happens, and renters
don’t appropriately clean up or move
out with carpeting ripped apart by
their cats, their landlords or management companies can legally refuse to
return a deposit check. And I believe
they should refuse to return that
money. If Mr. Magoo lived there and
watered the wood floor and not the
plants, his deposit check wouldn’t be
returned either. That’s why landlords
and management companies have
this protection in place.
➜ “Cat lady.” As for being over-
whelmed with too many pets in
too small a place, some landlords
place a cap, such as no more than
three dogs per unit. But with cats,
especially in larger properties,
management might feel they can’t
enforce a cap — not knowing what’s
happening behind closed doors. So,
to protect against the “crazy cat
lady syndrome,” they set the cat cap
at zero. In reality, if they rent to a
hoarder, no rule is going to matter.
Hoarding is a psychological condi-
tion, and rules aren’t followed. It’s
true that it may be easier to evict a
hoarding tenant if the lease doesn’t
allow for pets, but the landlord or
management company will have to
work with the local department of
health as well as animal control.
Steve Dale is a certified
animal behavior consultant.
He is a national newspaper
columnist (Tribune Content
Agency); heard on WGN
Radio, Chicago; host of
the nationally syndicated Steve Dale’s Pet
World; and author of the e-book Good Cat,
among others. He’s a founder of the CATalyst
Council and serves on the boards of the
Winn Feline Foundation and Tree House
Humane Society, Chicago. Check out his blog
I CATCUR BY STEVE DALE
LIFEWITHC A T T I T U D E
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