Keep pet cats from destroying your apartment

Living with any roommate can be a struggle, but furry, four-legged roommates can take your frustration to a new level. Those claws, teeth, and annoying habits can wreak havoc on any space, particularly a small apartment. If you’re really hoping to keep your apartment and belongings intact while living with a cat, you’ll have to take some steps to prevent your animal from destroying everything around it. Try some of these tips to keep your sanity and your security deposit.

Set up a scratching post: Or several. If you’ve got a cat, don’t even bother trying to teach her not to scratch: It’s going to happen — it’s in their nature. Instead, try to provide places where she is allowed to scratch so you’ll both be happy. Place scratching posts near places your cat already scratches or where she spends a lot of time. If she doesn’t take to it immediately, rub or spray the post with catnip or consider getting a taller post or one made with a different material.

Take care of her claws: If scratching posts don’t work, you might consider doing something with the claws themselves. Trimming them regularly may keep damage at a minimum, or claw caps (small plastic caps glued over a cat’s claws) can also prevent scratching damage. Redirecting is one way to “teach” a cat what not to scratch. Forget about declawing — it’s cruel and the equivalent of cutting off a person’s finger to the first knuckle.

Protect your blinds: Curiosity is an unavoidable feline characteristic, and many indoor cats love looking out windows to see what’s going on in the world outside. If you’ve got horizontal blinds, this habit isn’t as charming as it sounds. Cats trying to get to the window often snap blinds in half or break off ends, leaving you with damage your landlord won’t ignore. If you don’t live on a ground floor, you should consider raising the blinds a bit in a window or two and giving the cat an easy way to access the window. If raising the blinds isn’t an option, try to keep the cat off the window sill with specialty double-sided tape sold at pet stores, foil, or a Scat Mat.

Spay or neuter them: Spraying is a problem with unneutered male cats, and once you’ve smelled sprayed urine, you’ll never forget it. It’s far from pleasant, and can stink up your whole apartment. Neutering your cat, though, typically eliminates this territorial spraying and even makes the urine smell less strong. Spaying your female cats can help prevent problems (and messes) that sometimes happen when a cat goes into heat several times without mating, including diarrhea and vomiting.