problem cat

10 Biggest Roommate Cat Problems and How to Solve Them

problem cat

When it comes to living with a roommate and their cat, odds are you’re going to run into some potential problems along the way. Just because you may have issues with the roommate and  the cat, it doesn’t have to ruin your roommate situation or relationship. 

After living with a few different roommates over the years, I have encountered a few various issues involving pets. Instead of letting those issues affect the relationship with my roommate, I chose to address them and move forward with no hard feelings.

Here is a look at potential problems you could run into with your roommate’s cat, and how you can solve them to ensure your roommate relationship remains harmonious. 

We have all the answers to the roommate cat problems that tend to come up, such as:

  • Peeing in Inappropriate Places: Use deterrent spray to prevent cats from spraying or urinating outside litter box
  • Shedding: Groom cat regularly to avoid excessive fur loss
  • Scratching: Provide cat with alternatives
  • Fighting With Other Pets: Create a separate “territory” for the cat to relax in

1. Peeing in Inappropriate Places

Cats are typically clean animals, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to “mark” their territory. 

Much like dogs, a cat is notorious for trying to assert their dominance by urinating in a particular area or on an individual item. For example, some cats will urinate on things in the apartment/home or furniture/beds.

If you are dealing with a cat peeing in inappropriate places, you will need to address this immediately as cat urine is very potent and can stain. 

First, start by telling your roommate about the urine issue. There are several effective products on the market to help stop a cat from marking or urinating in certain areas or on certain things. 

One such product is the Nature’s Miracle Just For Cat’s No More Spraying cat deterrent spray. This deterrent spray works to prevent cats from spraying in inappropriate areas in the house. It helps to eliminate all odors and even stains from the previous spraying. It is a mixture of sodium lauryl sulfate, lemongrass oil, and cinnamon oil, specially formulated to discourage the cat from wanting to go outside of the litterbox. 

It is entirely safe to use around animals and on any surfaces in the home, hardwood, carpet, tile, etc. This same brand also makes a Urine Destroyer solution that helps to eliminate even the most hardened cat urine stains and odor while also discouraging their behavior from going outside of the litter box. 

Let your roommate know that you do not appreciate the cat urinating in inappropriate places and suggest that they purchase one of these products to help put a stop to this troublesome behavior.


2. Fighting with other Pets

cat fighting

If you have a pet of your own, you can sometimes expect to encounter issues with your roommate’s cat trying to compete with your pet. Animals don’t always get along. 

It can take months for two different animals to get familiar or used to one another. Cats can be very territorial, so they will want to try to hold their ground against other animals. If your roommate’s cat is trying to start trouble with your animal or the two do not get along, start by having a conversation with your roommate about the behavior issues.  

Then there are a few different things you can do to introduce pets to one another and ensure they get along or at least live harmoniously in the same building:

a, Before you introduce the animals to each other, create a separate “territory” for the cat. This area can easily be set up in your roommate’s room.

The territory would include food, water, comfortable pet beds, blankets for the cat to lounge on, and any other particular item the cat may love.

The other animal should have the same done for them. This is to ensure each animal feels they have a territory to retreat to if they become stressed or anxious during the transition period.

b, When your roommate’s cat first comes into the home, they should spend a few days letting their cat get used to its new surroundings. Recommend that they just let the cat spend their time in their designated area before they try to venture elsewhere in the home or meet the other animal(s).

c, Supervise the introduction of pets. According to Hills Pets, it is a good idea to introduce the cats to one another when the home is tranquil to avoid any further stress or anxiety. If either pet starts to act stressed or anxious, it is ideal for retreating and letting them go back to their territory where they are most comfortable. Do this daily to build upon the relationship.

d, Always recommend that the animals are  separated during the day when no one is present in the home. Each animal can remain in their designated territory.

e, Never leave them unsupervised together to avoid any physical fighting that could lead to one of the animals being able to hurt the other one.

f, You and your roommate could also invest in cat pheromones. The pheromones work to provide a relaxing feeling among the animals. The pheromones can come in a diffuser like the Comfort Zone Calming Cat Diffuser or a diffuser spray. Work together to help make the issue better for both parties.


3. Sheddding

cat shedding

Flickr, Anita Dalton, Wad ‘o fur

Shedding is an issue almost any pet owner deals with. If your roommate’s cat is an excessive shedder, you’ll need to find a solution to the problem to avoid a hairy mess. 

It’s impossible to stop all shedding, but you can manage the fallout by frequently cleaning, grooming the cat, and establishing no cat areas in the apartment or home. 

Let your roommate know that excessive cat fur is a problem for you and explain to them the different ways you can work together to make it better. 

  • Your roommate can brush their cat more regularly. According to Waggs Foods, the best way to reduce the amount of hair a cat sheds is to brush them regularly. There are brushes made specifically for cats who shed an excessive amount.

The Furminator is an excellent tool to use to help reduce shedding. This specific brush is designed just for cats and features a stainless steel edge that helps remove the undercoat and loose fur, which reduces shedding significantly.

  • Your roommate can also  bathe the cat frequently, which helps to reduce the fallout of loose fur.

  • If the cat is shedding a massive amount, then your roommate may want to think about changing the cat’s diet. There are specially formulated cat foods that are designed to help reduce the amount of shedding. Brands like Royal Canin have cat foods made to help decrease shedding and improve the look of the cat’s skin and coat.

  • Your roommate can also work to keep the cat properly hydrated. Sometimes dehydration in pets can cause them to shed.

There are water hydration stations for pets that hold a large amount of water, which is perfect for a cat that may be more thirsty than usual. Such pet water bowls like this PetMate Replenish Waterer would be the ideal addition to the house to ensure the cat stays adequately hydrated to reduce shedding. 

  • Your roommate can also clean more frequently when their cat is out and about to reduce the amount of hair buildup. They can also groom their cat to reduce the amount of hair loss the cat experiences. 
  • Designating no cat areas, areas, where the cat is not allowed to go, can help reduce shedding since the cat will only be allowed to go to certain areas in the home or apartment. 

4. Climbing on Furniture

cat climb

Another issue that is common for roommates with cats is the problem of climbing on the furniture or high countertops. Cats love to climb and will continuously do so. 

This can be an issue because they can jump up on countertops in the kitchen, making them very unsanitary when the cat’s paws shuffle around in the litterbox several times a day. Cats jumping on furniture can also result in shedding on the couch or items on the furniture, so it’s best to address the climbing issues immediately.

  1. It’s best to train the cat to not jump up on furniture or countertops. It’s essential to teach them how to be more appropriate.

According to, it’s important not to startle or be mean to the cat when this happens. Instead, the roommate should continue to move the cat in a sort of consequence for their jumping or climbing onto places they shouldn’t be.

Your  roommate will have to remove the cat from the furniture and surfaces repeatedly, but over time the cat will learn that if they jump up onto that surface, they will be picked up and removed.

  • Creating a safe kitty climbing zone is one of the most effective ways to handle the issue of climbing. Your roommate can provide the cat with a healthy alternative to climbing on furniture or countertops.

An excellent way to do this is to purchase a cat tower or kitty condo like this Frisco 72-inch cat tree. Cat towers and kitty condos provide the cat with a safe area where they are free to jump and climb without being disciplined.

  • Another effective way to discourage the cat from jumping or climbing on the furniture is to make sure  it is not going into these areas alone during the day.

If they jump and climb during the day without being disciplined, then they will become very confused when your roommate starts trying to discipline them when they are home. Make the kitchen and living room a designated “no cat area” during the day or when no one is home.


5. Cat Has No Boundaries

If your roommate does not establish set boundaries for the cat, then you can expect to encounter several issues with it getting into all the wrong places, like your bedroom and other areas in the home where the cat could get hurt. There are several ways to correct these behaviors and set healthy boundaries.

  • Your roommate will need to work to correct the behavior. According to Cat Suite, it is a good idea to provide the cat with a sort of substitute to fulfill their needs without them damaging anything. This substitute could be the addition of multiple scratching posts to satisfy their need to scratch. Whatever the behavior may be, your roommate will need to analyze and figure out a healthy way to correct it and still give the cat what it needs to be happy. 

  • It is also vital for there to be boundaries between you and your roommate. If you do not want the cat to go in your room, you will need to be vocal about this to them. Your roommate can then work to make sure they keep the door to your bedroom closed when the cat is roaming around to ensure it does not wander into your zone.
  • Set down and come up with an established boundaries list for your roommate so they know where their cat should not go in the house. By establishing these boundaries, they will be able to show respect for you by not allowing their cat to go in or around places you do not want it to be. 

6. Terrorizing Guests Due to Stress/Anxiety

angry cat

Wikipedia, Angry cat attack, author Jvanree

Another possible problem you may encounter with a pet is them terrorizing guests due to stress and anxiety.

For example, if you plan to have a few people over to watch a football game, the cat may become stressed out and anxious, causing it to terrorize guests by attacking them, clawing their belongings, or throwing up hairballs around them.

This is a common occurrence in some pets, but with the proper help, this behavior can be corrected. It’s important to work with your roommate and come up with a plan to help ease the cat’s stress and anxiety so that you can still enjoy having friends over for events.

  • The first thing your roommate will need to do is seek help from a veterinarian on this issue. Some cats require medication for stress and anxiety.

  • Your roommate can work to understand the cat and what causes their stress or anxiety. According to Hills Pet, you should never try to scold or punish the cat whenever it is acting out due to anxious behaviors. Instead, your roommate should watch the cat closely to learn what triggers them and causes stressful or anxious behaviors.
  • One solution to help ease the stress or anxiety of the cat would be to block the it from the room in which you will be entertaining guests. For example, the cat could be closed off in a back bedroom with its food, water, litterbox, and bed so that it may relax and be alone while you are entertaining guests.
  • Another way your roommate could help ease stress or anxiety for the cat would be for the roommate to relocate it when you are planning to host an event or have multiple people over. If you know ahead of time that you will be having over several guests for a gathering, you can let your roommate know this ahead of time so that they can make plans to relocate the cat for that specific occurrence.

For example, your roommate could spend the night with a friend or family member and take the cat       with them to avoid it being stressed out by the event.


7. Breaking and Damaging Belongings

cat breaking plant pot

Cats will often knock things off tables and cabinets, resulting in the breaking and damaging of belongings. 

According to Adi Hovav, senior feline behavior counselor at the ASPCA Adoption Center, it is a cat’s instinct to hunt for food, so by knocking over things, this could be a part of their hunting instinct. 

It is also normal for cats to act out in or misbehave if they are feeling upset or stressed out. Cats tend to be vindictive when they feel neglected or like they are being ignored. There are a variety of different ways your roommate can correct this behavior to help avoid the breaking or damaging of belongings. 

  • According to Amy Shojai, certified animal behavior consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, cats have the ability to manipulate situations to help them get what they want.

    She explains that since even bad attention is better than being ignored, knocking over objects provides another way for cats to get a reaction out of their owners. One way for your roommate and you to end this behavior is to simply ignore the cat when they engage in this type of activity. The cat will eventually tire of the antics and find other ways to get their owner’s attention.

  • roommate should make an attempt to analyze this behavior and figure out what their cat needs when they are acting out. Odds are the cat is feeling ignored or needs something. If your roommate can pinpoint what it is the cat needs during this type of behavior, then they can give the cat what it needs to end this behavior.

  • Another excellent way to avoid having your belongings damaged is to work on removing precious or breakable items from high areas in the house. While your roommate may be working to correct this behavior, you can also help by removing any objects that may tempt the cat into destructive behavior.
  • You can also establish “no cat areas” for places in the home or apartment where there may be a large amount of breakable or valuable items. It would be a good idea to speak with your roommate about keeping the cat out of those areas to avoid any damages.

8. Scratching

cat scratched sofa arm

This is one of the main issues cat owners have to deal with. If a cat has claws, they are going to scratch on things no matter what you do. According to The Humane Society of the United States, there are many reasons that cats scratch.

For example, cats can scratch to help them shed the dead outer layer of their claws, the marking of their territory, or to stretch out their bodies merely. 

Since scratching is a normal part of owning a cat that can not be avoided entirely, there are ways for your roommate to lessen the scratching of personal belongings and items. For example, if your roommate’s cat is in the habit of scratching your furniture or personal items, there are a few steps you can take to correct this type of behavior.

  1. Your roommate could invest in kitty caps like these Kitty Cat Nail Caps. These nail caps provide a safe, effective way to keep your kitty from clawing on things throughout the house. The caps come with adhesive that can be applied to the cat’s claw, and then the cap is placed over the claw.

These kitty caps are entirely harmless, and the cat will not even know they are there. According to the National Cat Groomers Institute, “they were created by a veterinarian to be soft and non-toxic to both cats and dogs.” These caps will keep the cat from damaging things when they do attempt to claw on things.

  • Cats are attracted most to surfaces that are coarse or textured. This is why scratching posts are the perfect item to bring into the home to help eliminate the scratching of furniture or belongings. Scratching posts like this SmartCat Unlimited Scratching Post are perfect for a feline who needs to scratch. Scratching posts should be sturdy, coarse or textured, and tall to appeal to the feline.

Your roommate can also purchase fun scratching posts that feature fluffy balls, soft materials, and spring toys to entice the cat to play with it. This Cat Craft 20-Inch Sea Grass Scratching Post with Spring Toy is perfect to entice it  to come play and scratch all at once. 

Your roommate can also add some catnip to the scratching posts to further entice it  to come to this item to scratch as opposed to other areas in the house. Catnip like this Yeowww! Organic Catnip will help draw the cat to the scratching post to scratch.

  • Deterrent sprays are another safe opinion to help keep the cat from damaging anything. Sprays like this Nature’s Miracle Just For Cats Pet Block are safe to use and mimic an unpleasant odor that they  do not like. So they will be less likely to go near that specific area or things that the deterrent spray is on.

9. Hairballs 

Hairballs are another potential cat problem that is frequently unavoidable. There are countless reasons that cats experience hairball issues. If you are dealing with a roommate’s cat that is consistently coughing up hairballs and it is becoming a problem for you, then there are ways you can go about correcting this behavior. 

  • Speak to the roommate about your concerns for the cat. The cat could have legitimate health issues that are causing the hairball problem. According to Pets WebMD, hairballs can cause intestinal blockages within the cat, which is a severe health issue. Your roommate may want to seek the help of a veterinarian to correct the behavior.

  • Another excellent way to reduce hairballs in cats is proper grooming. Your roommate could begin brushing the cat more regularly to help prevent the buildup of fur, which can cause excessive hairballs when it grooms itself.

  • Regular exercise is another great way to help prevent hairballs. Exercise can help keep the cat’s digestive system functioning better,. which can help reduce the number of hairballs.

  • Hairball remedies are another safe, effective way to eliminate the threat of hairballs. These hairball remedies come in flavors and are available in a gel or paste. According to PetSafe, these hairball remedy products come in delicious flavors that cat will love and contain small amounts of petroleum gel or oil that help to lubricate the cat’s digestive system. This will allow the cat to pass the hairball with more ease and less pain.
  • Changing the cat’s diet can also help with hairball problems. Different cat food brands make specific foods to help manage the problem of hairballs. Hill’s Science Diet makes a specific formula cat food perfect for controlling their hairballs.

There are also cat treats made to help prevent hairballs like these Wiskas Temptations Hairball Control treats. Your roommate could invest in these new foods and treats for their cat that will help eliminate the number of hairballs it is experiencing.

  • Discouraging excessive grooming can help reduce hairballs. If the cat is constantly grooming itself, this can increase hairballs and be a significant sign that the cat is feeling stressed out. Your roommate will need to analyze their cat’s behavior and try to help reduce the stress to control its  excessive grooming.

  • Make sure the cat is properly hydrated. Dehydration can affect the cat’s digestive system, which results in more hairballs.

10. Excessive Litter

cat litter mess

Cats frequently use the litter box, and that means that an excessive amount of litter can find its way into other areas of the apartment or home.

If your roommate’s cat problem is notoriously tracking litter all over the house, there are ways to address this situation and manage it.

  • Changing litter brands is the perfect way to reduce the spread of litter.

Most typical cat litters are clumping clay, but there are other brands of cat litter that aren’t as messy such as the recycled paper type like Frisco Recycled Paper Litter that comes in hard pellets. The pellet litter works the same way the clumping clay litter does, except it has less fallout when the cat exits the litter box.

  • Purchasing a litter mat will help reduce the amount of litter left on the cat’s paws. Litter mats like this iPrimo Cat Litter Trapper EZ Clean Mat help catch any excess litter that a cat can drag out of the litter box with them. The textures on the litter mat can also help remove left behind litter from the cat’s paws, which will help reduce the amount of litter you find tracked around the house.
  • Litter boxes with high walls or covers will also help reduce the amount of litter found outside of the litter box. It’s no secret that cats love to dig around in their litter box and cover their business. If you have a low litter box, then the litter can be kicked out of the box easily.

Litter boxes like this IRIS Open Top Litter Box with Shield or this Nature’s Miracle Hooded Litter Box are perfect for  reducing the spread of litter! By purchasing a litter box with high walls or a cover, you can reduce any litter from escaping the box while the cat is digging and kicking around in there.

  • Another solution is to talk to your roommate about the amount of cleaning they are doing daily to reduce the amount of litter throughout the house. Your roommate can increase the number of times they vacuum daily to minimize the litter buildup on the floor.

Writer: Kamie Allen

kamie allen


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