Pet Damaged Furniture

I am presently completing my last week of a five week house sit with one cat. The sit has gone very well until this afternoon. I had left the owner’s condo for four hours and when I returned I noticed the cat had sharpened her nails on the living room sofa and created a one inch hole. The owners had instructed me to allow the cat to roam throughout each room and I had not encountered any problem until today. Do I inform the owners about the damage while they are still on their trip or wait until they arrive home? Also, I am afraid to leave the condo now because the cat is not crate trained and I do not want it to happen again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Just a few thoughts. Do they have a scratching post or a cat tree? If so, when you go out you can put the cat in a room with toys and the scratching post where she is less likely to damage something else major. Or move the cat to a room with less to damage. I don’t know if I would say something now or wait until they are about to head home – probably wait since there is nothing they can do about it. If they don’t have a scratching post, I would go right out and buy one or two of them myself. It will show how concerned you are and possibly soften the blow a little when they learn about the damage. Unfortunately, when you own a pet, you have to be ready for damaged rugs, furniture, clothing … I hope they are not fazed by it. I can’t speak for cats but when my dogs were puppies, they took a chunk out of the kitchen floor (I had to replace it), a bite out of an Oriental rug (I turned it so the chewed section was hidden under a bed), chewed a lovely hand-hooked throw rug that I still use in its chewed up state, chewed up an easy chair w/matching ottoman (had to be thrown out), ruined two sectional sofas – one had a bite out of it (had to be tossed), the other smelled so bad it had to be thrown out … , and that was not all!

We had a similar thing happening this week. The cat jumped on top of the cupboard & quite a few things came tumbling down & broke. (flower pots, ornaments)

We took a pic & send it with our daily update, rather than surprising the owner with it when she came home.
She was totally fine, realized that is the risk of owning a cat & said it could’ve easily happened on her watch.

In your case I would indeed move the cat to an area where she can do less damage when you’re out.

Difficult one. As Els says, maybe send a picture of the damage. You’ve only done what the owner asked and allowed the cat to roam. Did the owner say how long the cat could be left? Usually you can leave cats most of the day. I don’t agree with Mars that you go out and buy scratching posts, if the cat hasn’t had one before it’s unlikely to use it and why should you spend your money?
I don’t think it’s a big issue so try not to worry about it.

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Hello @mugsyrugsy (love that username!!) and welcome to the forum.

You’ve had some great feedback already and I think as @Els shows (and we also know from personal experience), it’s not unusual for cats to create havoc now and again. I think most cat owners would have this in mind. If it’s a playful cat, and you see him/her start to scratch, you could distract with toys. If there are any sofa throws, you could try covering that area to discourage kittie from making it a focus of his scratching during your last week.

As you are in the last week, I (personally) probably wouldn’t worry the home owner, and would close off that room when I went out, while also discouraging any noticeable furniture scratching when home - but I’d gauge that on the relationship I’ve had with the owners while they’ve been away.

It could be a one-off if you’ve got this far without it happening before, and you can explain what’s happened and how you’ve remedied it when they return. Or you could let them know and tell them what you plan to do to try and dissuade this during the final week. I’d say trust your gut based on correspondence you’ve had with the owners while away. Good luck and do let us know how it goes. All the best, Vanessa


We communicate any damage made by animals (or by us) immediately, it shouldn’t be an issue if you followed the HO’s instructions. They can also advise you how to proceed further.

So sorry this has happened to you near the end of your sit. I have no answers for you but it has made me think that this would be a good discussion to have with home owners before the sit starts. That is, would they want to be notified regarding minor damage by their pets?

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As a HO, I would want to know immediately so I could tell you it’s not your fault and don’t worry about it.


Thanks for all your wonderful tips! I decided to notify the owner and send a pic of the damage. They were very nice about it and suggested I keep the cat in a few of the other less furnished rooms. They also told me they had two scratching posts stored in the basement and instructed me to bring them upstairs. They also said they were going on their third sofa due to past damage. Thanks again for all your suggestions!


All good in the end. It usually is when you’re honest :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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