Does Owning a Cat Depreciate Your Home?

Posted by under Ask the Pros

Did you know there are more cats in Canada than dogs?

According to an Ipsos Reid poll, 35% of Canadian households have a dog, whereas 38% have a cat. As with real estate in Toronto and the Hamilton real estate market, it seems like the downtown cores have gone to the dogs. However, stats show that people love their feline friends even more.

Cats offer a bunch of benefits, from warm companionship to pest control. There are studies that show that cats reduce stress and even your risk for heart attack. And there are enough YouTube videos showing cats acting strange to know how entertaining they can be.

But is owning a cat actually depreciating your home? Or will owning a cat limit your possible buyers when you go to sell?

Short answer: yes. While owning a cat has plenty of benefits, they can also be destructive, whether they mean to be or not. Here are a few ways your kitty isn’t helping your resale, and what you can do to resolve it.


Cats spray for a number of reasons, from marking their territory to showing their dislike of new people and routines. It’s definitely the least desirable trait cats have and can be difficult to combat. And, when not dealt with, it can cost upwards of $50,000 to your offers. Even the faintest smell can force buyers to drop their offers significantly, preparing for replacing carpets and baseboards.

Getting a cat to stop this habit is much easier said than done. Take first steps of cleaning the litter daily, and moving it away from the cat’s food and water. You should also take the cat to the vet to ensure there are no underlying health issues; cats will urinate in other places due to conditions like urinary tract infections, so it’s best to rule that out.

Use an enzymatic cleaner to remove all traces of the smell and try to do it quickly. When you’re cleaning prior to listing your house, you must have your carpets professionally cleaned, as well as cleaning all baseboards.

Fur and allergies

Cat allergies can be a nightmare for some, so there are some buyers who will not consider homes where a cat has lived.

If you have carpets, cat dander can remain for a long time, so the thorough cleaning is needed for that reason as well. Be sure to also clean furniture, bedding, and anything else that could keep dander during your showings. If a buyer enters your home and starts sneezing, you’ve immediately hindered your offer chances.

Scratched floors

Cats have a tendency to tear around the house (for no reason). By doing so, they can scratch hardwood and even the walls. You’ll likely be painting your home before you sell anyway, but this should give you an extra reason to get out the rollers. As for your flooring, there are professional waxes and floor refinishers that can make your hardwood look like new, so be sure to do that before showing your home.

Owning a cat can be wonderful, but has its drawbacks. If you’re prepared to fork out some money and effort when you sell, your kitty companion doesn’t have to be the greatest of burdens.

Flickr: Renars

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