cat in the bed

Moving to NYC with a Cat: Tips and Tricks for a Successful Experience

Category: Moving Tips

New York City is an incredible place to call home. There is something to do at all hours of the day, ranging from nightlife options to 24-hour eateries. Life moves at a fast pace, and space is often at a premium.

If you’re thinking about moving to NYC with a cat, the first thing to consider is the place you call home. There’s enough space in most apartments for feline companionship, but your square footage will be significantly reduced. Many one-bedroom units have less than 700 square feet.

Is that enough space for you and a cat? Here are some additional considerations to review before signing the paperwork in your new place.

What Are the Rental Terms for the Building?

document with the rules

Some buildings in NYC will not allow any pets. Even though that might seem harsh, the law respects their reasons. Trying to sneak in a cat after you’ve agreed not to have pets is often grounds for eviction.

That means some apartment listings are already disqualified when moving to NYC with a cat.

Other buildings allow some pets, but not others. Pets can do damage to a unit, so you’ll need to ask about what is permitted. It might be necessary to budget between 10% to 25% more to ensure you get into a space you love.

What Environment Does Your Pet Enjoy?

cat walking outside

NYC will be a challenging transition if your cat loves spending time outside roaming freely. Not only are you in a large building, but life in the city is hectic. Felines that try to escape constantly aren’t always a great fit for city life.

One of the ways you can compromise with your cat is to purchase a harness and a leash. When you take a walk with your kitty, even if it is only around the block, you can help them enjoy some outside time.

Some buildings have balconies for some outdoor access. You could speak with the landlord or property manager about installing cat-friendly barriers.

Do You Require Unit Modification?

cat house

Living with a cat can sometimes mean installing shelf runs, window nap areas, and other spaces for them to enjoy indoors.

Some buildings permit modifications at the tenant’s expense with the understanding that a return to the previous state is required.

You’ll need to receive clarification before signing if your cat expects a specific indoor environment.

Can You Afford the Vet Bills?

vet clinic

You’ve likely heard that everything in NYC is a little more expensive. It’s true. That means your kitty’s care will cost more after moving here.

The average cost of pet care in NYC is over $2,000 per year. Treatments could be several hundred or a few thousand dollars depending on your situation. You might consider taking out a health insurance policy to cover those potential expenses.

Even if you have a healthy kitty that encounters no concerns for the year, the cost of care is typically $1,200 or more.

Dealing with Ongoing Uncertainty

Landlords have the option to add a no-pet clause to a new lease agreement. When an old one expires, there is the chance that the addendum could require you to remove the cat from your home. If you want less uncertainty, the goal should be to sign the longest lease possible and have your pet on its best behavior at all times.

Although most buildings maintain a consistent policy, pets that cause damage or are considered a nuisance could be asked to leave.

It’s also possible for pet clauses to get added to a lease, ranging from extra rent to excluding rescue animals. Some landlords have even asked for animal interviews.

You are not required to sign a lease addendum if you already have a valid agreement. If your landlord wants to change the rules, you might need to find a new place to live.

What About Emotional Support Pets?

Emotional support pets and service animals are often exceptions to the pet rules you can find on some NYC properties. You might be asked to provide documentation to support the animal’s classification in these areas before your cat will be allowed on the property. Even if your condition occurs while you’re in the middle of a lease that doesn’t allow pets, you can typically get one under the rules of the Fair Housing Act.

Moving to NYC with a cat comes with some unique challenges, but they are not insurmountable problems. When you look for apartments, ask about their pet policy regarding felines. You might be surprised by how many pet-friendly units there are in the city!

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