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What to Do If Your Landlord Requires You to Have Your Cat Declawed

Learn what to do if a potential landlord requires your cat to be declawed.

If you are trying to move into a new rental, you may have experienced a situation in which the landlord requires that all cats living there must be declawed.

This can be a challenging situation because it happens so often, and an otherwise perfect place to live may entice some cat owners to consider the crippling surgery.

Landlord's Requiring Declaw? Here's What to Do

If a property owner is requiring that your cat be declawed, don't panic. You may be able to change his or her mind. Follow the steps below.

First, Be an Exemplary Pet Owner

You will need to convince your landlord that you are an outstanding cat owner. You can prove this by:

  • Having your cat spayed or neutered. Female cats that are constantly going into heat or males that are trying to get out, mark their territory, and fight with other cats don't make good tenants. Having your cat spayed or neutered can automatically make them better prospects for staying in a landlord's property, and it has great health benefits, too.
  • Keeping your cat inside at all times. Not only is this safer for your cat, but it makes you a better tenant. Outdoor cats may bother other residents, negatively impact bird populations, and even create problems by urinating on people's outdoor belongings.
  • Knowing local requirements for cats and keep yours up-to-date. Keep current paperwork that shows your cat has all required vaccinations and licenses for your area.
  • Using flea preventative. Your veterinarian can recommend the best product for your individual cat, but be sure you are using routine flea preventative. A landlord will feel more comfortable knowing that the property isn't likely to be infested with fleas that are hard to get rid of.
  • Keeping your cat's claws trimmed. Learn how to trim your cat's claws, and do it routinely. Most of the damage caused to items by cat scratching happens due to the hooks at the ends of the claws. Keeping them trimmed up will minimize the damage they can do.
  • Using Soft Paws®. Keeping these non-toxic vinyl claw caps on your cat will minimize the damage that your cat's claws can do to the landlord's property.
  • Having cat scratching posts. Cats need to scratch to stay healthy and happy, so be sure you have great cat scratching posts available for him. This will also demonstrate to the landlord that you are on top of the cat scratching situation.

Second, Show that You're a Great Tenant

If you have rented before, ask for a letter of recommendation from your previous landlord. If possible, have him or her specifically discuss how your cat did in their property.

Be sure to always pay on time, don't cause any disturbances, and generally take good care of the property.

When you leave, be sure to ask for another letter of reference.

Speak Kindly, Respectfully, and Honestly with Your Potential Landlord

First, explain what a declaw surgery is. Many people do not understand that the surgery involves an amputation up to the first joint of each toe. Bone, tendon, nerves, and blood vessels are all severed. It is a painful procedure and recovery, and it often has long-term negative consequences on cats.

Declawing has been banned as inhumane in several US cities and multiple countries. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) both oppose declaw surgeries. Share this information respectfully with your potential landlord.

Declawing actually leads to many negative cat behaviors, especially urinating outside of the box. Initially, it hurts them so much to dig around in the litter box that they associate the pain with the box and can develop a lifelong aversion to using it. This can be a much bigger problem for a rental property than scratching.

Let your landlord know about the Soft Paws® and scratching posts that you use. Offer to host a meeting so he or she can meet the cat, see the Soft Paws®, and look at the scratching posts.

Over at, there is an information sheet that you can print and share with your potential landlord: "Things Landlords Should Know Before Requiring a Tenant to Declaw Their Cat."

If you and the property owner can't see eye to eye on declawing, you will need to find another perfect home for you and your cat. However, if can convince the landlord, think about all of the future cats moving in there that you will have saved from the devastating procedure.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Declawing Cats: Just Don't Do It

What Is the Best Cat Scratching Post for Your Cat?

Declawing Cats: Banning Declaw Surgeries

Soft Paws Can Help with Life Transitions

Please Do Not Declaw Your Cat

Benefits of a Good Cat Scratching Post

Training A Cat or Kitten to Use a Scratching Post

Choosing the Best Cat Scratching Post

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