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What to Do With Your Cat During a House Showing? 7 Expert Tips

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove


Once you’ve decided to put your house up for sale and have it prepared for showings, the goal is to get a sale as quickly as possible. While you may adore your cats, it’s a universal truth that not everyone is a cat person.

Most real estate agents recommend that your cat isn’t wandering freely around your house during showings. This will give prospective buyers a chance to truly appreciate your home without distractions, and it will also keep your cat safe.

Some buyers may have allergies that are triggered by having a cat around the house during a viewing. That’s bound to put them off and make them wonder if yours might not be the right house for them. They may be concerned that carpets will need an expensive deep clean, for example.

In terms of your cat’s safety, a window or door could be accidentally left open during a viewing. It only takes a second for your indoor cat to slip through the crack of a door. Then you’ve got the added worry of trying to track your cat down if they run off.

The 7 Tips for Showing a House for Sale When You Have Cats

1. Keep your cat in a crate during the showing

A cat in a travel carrier

One of the best options is to acclimatize your cat to being in their travel crate during showings. Find a quiet corner of the house that won’t be a focus of the showing. Get your cat used to spending a small amount of time in their crate, and give them plenty of treats and verbal praise. Gradually build the amount of time that your cat spends in their crate up until they’re fine being left in there for the average amount of time that you expect a showing to take.

2. Take them to a neighbor or a cat sitter

cat and female volunteer
Image Credit: Evgeny Bakhchev, Shutterstock

If you have a cat sitter who looks after your cat when you’re on vacation, they might be willing to look after your cat during showings. The same goes for boarding facilities. You’ll have to pay their regular hourly rate and make sure your real estate agent gives you enough warnings of viewings so you can arrange to drop your cat off.

This can be a great option if your cat is vocal and might make a distracting amount of noise if they’re left in their crate at home during showings.

3. Take them for a drive

Credit: Popel Arseniy, Shutterstock

If you’re not at work when a viewing is scheduled and you can’t crate your cat or take them to your pet sitter, you could pop them in their travel crate and take them for a quick drive while the viewing is going ahead. Some cats enjoy going for a road trip, while others hate it, so you’ll have to decide if this is an option that will work for your cat.

4. Keep your cat’s stress to a minimum

Grey cat playing with puzzle toy
Image Credit: Nils-Jacobi, Shutterstock

Cats are creatures of habit, and any changes to their routine can increase their stress and anxiety. They’ll also pick up on any stress that you may be feeling about your house sale. As soon as you know that you’ll be putting your house on the market, that’s the time to start making small changes to your cat’s routine in order to keep their stress levels as low as possible.

Start crate training them for a tiny amount of time or get them used to car journeys if you plan on dropping them at your cat sitter’s facilities during showings.

It’s a good idea to start using a pheromone diffuser or collar to keep your cat feeling calm and comfortable in the home. If you feel that showings are adversely affecting your cat’s health, speak to your vet for advice. They may be able to offer advice and tips or prescribe your cat anti-anxiety medication depending on the severity of their anxiety.

Tips to Prepare Your House for the Showing

So, you’ve decided what to do with your cat during a showing, but you still need to keep your house as neat and tidy as possible. You might love seeing evidence of your cat’s presence in your house, but most prospective buyers will want to see a neutral house without too many signs of personality. It makes it easier for them to imagine living there and more willing to put an offer in, resulting in a quicker sale for you!

5. Keep litter trays clean

Before each showing, clean your cat’s litter trays or place them out of sight in a garage or backyard storage area. Using an automatic and self-cleaning litter tray can help because you’ll have less cleaning to do before each showing. Consider adding an air freshener or diffuser to make areas smell more pleasant.

blue tabby maine coon sitting in litter box
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

6. Give upholstery and carpets a deep clean

Some viewers may have cat allergies, in which case, you don’t want cat hairs on the couch triggering a sneezing fit. It’s a good idea to give soft furnishings a deep clean with a steam cleaner once you’ve put your house on the market and then vacuum daily to remove any stray cat hairs.

Credit: AnnaStills, Shutterstock

7. Remove your cat’s accessories


Before a showing, put away your cat’s food and water bowls, toys, and bed. While you might love these signs that you share your life with a cat, some buyers can find them off-putting, especially if they’re not cat lovers themselves.

golden british shorthair cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: SunRay BRI Cattery RU, Shutterstock

Successful Showing, Successful Sale!

It might feel strange to think about removing your cat from your home during showings, but it’s the safest option for them! It will also make it much easier for your real estate agent to concentrate on showing off your house to its best advantage.

By keeping your house looking as neutral as possible, it will appeal to the widest cross-section of buyers possible, which hopefully means that your house sells quickly and you can concentrate on moving your cat to your new home, together!

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