puppy biting furniture in apartment

Resident Blog

How To Pet Proof Your Apartment

We love pets at RPM Living, so much so that unlike many property management companies, we impose no breed restrictions at our communities! Still, one of the downsides to owning a pet is the toll they can take on your apartment. Even well-behaved pets sometimes leave behind damage or make your living space a little less comfortable for you and your family or your roommates. Luckily, there are some very simple steps you can take to help pet-proof your apartment, preventing damage and minimizing discomfort. Here are our top pet-proofing tips for dog and cat owners living in apartments.

Pet-Proofing Tips for Cat Owners:

One of our top pet-proofing tips for cats is to have plenty of scratch-friendly items. In fact, get multiple types if you’re unsure what kind your cat will prefer. Scratching posts, cat trees, scratch lounges, and other scratch products use rope or corrugated cardboard to provide a spot where your cat can engage in their scratching instinct without harming your furniture, curtains, or other areas. Remember, scratching helps keep your cat’s claws healthy, so the goal is not to prevent scratching entirely, just to make sure they are scratching in approved locations.

You should also ensure that you have multiple litter boxes (and clean them regularly). Most vets recommend having one litter box per cat plus one extra. This helps ensure that your cat has a comfortable place to do their business. Many cases of cats urinating outside of a litter box are due to insufficient litter box availability or cleanliness—cats can be pickier about this than you might think, and can even develop stress-related urinary tract issues if not provided with just the right litter box arrangement.

For cats that fight, spray, or scratch where they aren’t supposed to, consider a feliway diffuser. This harmless diffuser releases a pheromone into the air that cats release when they are feeling at ease. For some, adding feliway diffusers helps reduce stress-related behaviors and aggression between cats.

Pet Proofing Tips for Dog Owners:

For dog owners, we highly recommend getting a safety gate. A gate can be a great way to introduce a new dog to one part of your apartment at a time without having to keep them behind a closed door. It also provides an option for separating visiting pets and/or people from your own pets and gives your pets a safe place to retreat to if they’re feeling anxious.

Getting a puppy? Definitely use puppy mats to help train them to use the bathroom in designated areas while they’re still on their way to being fully house trained.

General Pet Proofing Tips:

For both cats and dogs, ensuring your animal is fixed (if they are old enough) can help address undesirable behaviors and ensure all animals in your apartment are living together harmoniously.

When it comes to protecting your furniture, consider water-resistant furniture protectors like mattress covers, Scotchguard spray, or naturally resistant materials like faux leather.

It’s also important to have toys that captivate your pet’s attention. This will help keep them from directing their playful attention toward your furniture, clothing, and other belongings. Note that automated toys can be great for pets with boundless energy, but nothing beats setting aside time to play with your pet yourself.

For pets that like to chew on cables and cords, try a chew deterrent spray or electric cord protectors. These help prevent harmful electric shocks and damaged appliances.

Additionally, always ensure toxic items (including plants) are out of reach. Bear in mind that dogs and cats both have a habit of getting into unexpected places, especially if looking for food. You may even want to look into baby-proofing cabinet locks and similar items.

Finally, definitely go ahead and invest in a pet-specific cleaner spray that neutralizes odors. Even for well-behaved pets, having this spray on hand can help address pet-related messes quickly enough that they don’t leave behind lasting damage to furniture or fabrics.

That’s it for our pet-proofing tips! As always, if you’re looking to live in a community that takes pest control seriously, you can always shop RPM communities across the US by checking out our Communities page!