Staging The Litter Box & Other Kitty Tips When Selling

Home Stager with Cincinnati Home Stager

Selling your house can be challenging when you have pets and I'm going to focus today on your CAT. Your furry friend and family member. I've got three myself so I understand and can empathize with my selling clients when it comes to this subject.  I got plenty of inspiration to share some kitty tips when selling from my own experience over the weekend. I decided to move my cat's litter box from the basement to our first floor mudroom.   See, my cats are senior citizens now and since I'm not planning to move into a ranch style home with no stairs for THEIR sake, I had to make some adjustments for them.    

The dreaded 'litter box" can pose some challenges when you put your house up for sale.  I've seen litter boxes in just about every room now in working with sellers over a number of years.  I still remember when we were looking for a house to buy, we toured two houses with cats.  The one house had about 7 litter boxes throughout the house including bedrooms. you think they had a problem?      The other house had only one litter box and it was located in their family room right by the sofa.  It reeked. Needless to say, we didn't buy either of those houses.    Downplaying the presence as well as the location of the litter box really is critical when selling.  


I've found the best locations for a litter box is out of the way places like the basement and laundry/mudroom.  I've seen them in bathrooms too but I've found that buyers really want to see the bathroom and not get distracted by a litter box.    One way to help my kitties better transition when I moved their box was to put their food in close range of it.  This worked perfectly.

What's That Smell?
If you have cats then you know that if you don't keep their throne pristine, it's going to smell.  When selling, this is a no brainer.  You may have to scoop 3-4 times a day but this is a MUST.   Do you have a COVER for your box?   If you do, great!  Now make sure you turn the box to make sure the hole is facing a wall.    If you don't have a "cover", think about getting one.   If the box has to be present during showings, at least the box is covered up and the hole is against the wall.   Buyers really do not want to see inside of the box even if it is pristine.  They just don't.  
I also recommend buying those "stick ups" they sell in the pet aisle or pet stores that help neutralize odor.  Stick that baby on the side of the covered litter box. They really do work.    And a quick spritz of Febreeze in the area before a showing is a good idea too.  Remember I said "quick spritz"........NOT half the bottle.  

Take It Outside
The BEST solution I give my clients is to place the litter box in the garage during a showing if at all possible.   I know this doesn't work for some kitties that can't be trusted but I've found that it works for the majority.  My own cats freak and run under a bed and hide when visitors come to our house so having a missing litter box for an hour is not a problem.

Creative Solutions
I came across an amazing idea on a forum while doing some research for this article.  Someone was building a house and decided to incorporate the litter box into their laundry room cabinetry so it was out of the way and they could keep the room....ummm.....more "visually appealing" you might say.     I jumped all over this idea and told my husband to break out the power tools and cut a side door into our sink cabinet that is in our mud room.   The cats go through the door and all I have to do is open up the front doors to scoop and be done.
It's hidden and better than a covered litter box.

Talk About "Staging" Your Litter Box

Who knew there were such a wide variety of creative litter box options out there?  (I'd just suggest turning that hole around to face the wall.)

What about these cool styles?

Okay...if you were freaking out like I was when I first saw this, you can relax when I tell you that I think they are trying to show another option here.  I don't think most people would actually put a litter box beside their bed (but you never know!).  A cozy hideaway bed for your cat is another way to use this piece of furniture.  Feel better?  I know I did.

For the modern cat:

Entry Table AND Litter box in one...Who Knew?

Need a Litter box in the Office?  Just be careful that you get the right box when looking for that file....

I'm having too much fun with this...can you tell?

Here's some other Staging Tips For Kitty When Selling:

Princess Perspective:
This might be harsh, but when you are selling, kitty is NOT the princess (or prince) anymore.  The castle is for sale and things cannot stay the way they are. That means that the cat jungle/scratching post tower has to put away, the million mouse and feather toys must be rounded up and the sunning window perch for cats has to be disassembled and stored away.  Yes, I realize that it's your cat's favorite place but your potential buyers needs to see how pretty the window is, not looking at the pile of cat hair left on the cushion attached to the window.

Meow Mix Mayhem:
Did you know that kitty's dishes shouldn't be out during a showing?  It's so much a part of our everyday lives that we don't think about it, right?  But when selling, they need to be gone.  This also goes for those cool plug in water fountains.  The cat may love them but with their messy cord and location near a plug (which is usually in the kitchen) it's not a great thing to keep around when you're trying to impress buyers.    

Not Everyone Loves Your Cat

I know, it's your baby.  I understand.  I have three furry children myself and I love them dearly.  Not everyone is a cat person.  Or likes pets at all.  Many are allergic to cats as well. When you are selling, it is really important to see it from the perspective buyer's point of view.

Fur Ball Fiasco:
If you've got a cat, you've definitely
got this: Cat Hair.   Getting rid of as much cat hair as possible and staying on top of it by cleaning frequently is critical. Are you trying to use a lint brush to get rid of hair on the furniture or curtains?  Forget it.  The best thing to use is a rubber glove.  A damp cloth works really well too.  The Swiffer is another great product to use on the floors.   I'm constantly amazed at all the invisible hair you can't see until you look at the bottom of the swiffer pad when you're done.  Whoa.

Stay Or Go?

Have you been waiting for me to answer the obvious question: What the heck should I do with my cat during a showing?  Don't worry, your cat will probably be fine staying at home. More than likely the cat will either go hide (like mine) or lay on a bed and look slightly annoyed at the interruption from strangers.  If your cat is never to be outside, you may want to consider putting him in a cat carrier or taking him with you.  Better safe than sorry.  

Even though your pet is a huge part of your family, downplaying their presence while selling your house is a smart move. Remember it's all about the house and getting it sold.  Follow these tips and ideas I've shared with you today so that it can help you better deal with your kitty when selling so that it doesn't cost you a sale.  

Happy Staging!

You can use this article in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you add the following bio box:
Posted by

Teresa Meyer is the Owner and Lead Staging Designer at Stage a Star, Cincinnati's Premiere Real Estate Staging company located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Teresa is an Accredited Staging Professional and recently awarded 2011 Midwest Stager Of The Year.  She is a member of RESA, Real Estate Staging Association, RESA Instructor and currently is the State of Ohio RESA President.   Teresa can be reached at 513-379-5488 or by email: to answer your questions about the staging process and looks forward to assisting you in preparing and staging your house for the Cincinnati real estate market.


Stage A Star provides home staging services to Hamilton county Ohio, Butler county Ohio, Warren County, Ohio, Clermont county Ohio, West Chester, OH., Liberty Twp, OH., Mason, OH., Fairfield Twp., OH., Monroe, OH., Hyde Park, OH., Loveland, OH., Maineville, OH., Morrow, OH., Deer Park, OH., Indian Hill, OH., and surrounding Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas.


Comments (34)

Marci Toliver
438-4642 - Mauldin, SC
Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging

Some of the litter boxes were odd for sure!  Great article, Teresa!

Mar 27, 2009 06:59 AM
Heather Cook
Beyond the Stage Homes - Kitchener, ON
Delivering beautifully staged spaces

LOVE some of those litter box ideas! My husband is now wondering how we can incorporate that into our  laundry room! Great ideas and emphasis on the fact that while your pets are definitely your babies - while the house is on the market the way in which they live with you has to change so that buyers can appreciate the house and not be put off by all the "pet stuff".


Mar 27, 2009 09:11 AM
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Maureen: I didn't know that you could actually "STAGE" the litterbox until I saw all these litter options. And I just KNEW I had to blog about it too! LOL!

Laurie: Glad you had fun reading it!  Humor helps with those sensitive issues sometimes!

Jenny: It was a first for me too.  Clever ideas these cat lovers have thought of!

Hey Judy!  Too funny! Only a STAGER would actually TAKE the litterbox with the cats...LOL!  Didn't you move from San Diego a few years back?  How lucky you are!  What a great place to live!

Kathy! Always good to see you! My senior cats would probably just sniff it and then give me a dirty look.  I miss them playing...

Mar 27, 2009 11:53 AM
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Ginger: It is easier to talk with sellers about this subject when you are a cat lover too!

Susan: Good point. That's a real problem and not an easy one to deal with ESP. when selling.  Would the carrier be the best solution?

Hi Peg: Please share if the occassion arises.

Cathy: I staged a house yesterday with a very friendly cat that kept messing with the slipcovers. My photographer Jenny had a time with him too.  He wanted to be in every picture..LOL!

Marianne: I completely agree!  The cabinet furniture might be good if you put it the mud room but I would NOT want a litter box in my office, thank you very much!

Allegra: Glad the post made you smile today!!

Michele: Good to see you! Yeah...I'm with you! Who knew!

Sharon: I almost broke it up into 2 posts but went ahead and put it all together.  Thanks for sticking with WAS extensive!  Even I was surprised that I had so much information about dealing with your cat!

Mar 27, 2009 12:06 PM
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Marci:  Odd? You must not have a cat! LOL!  Maybe you were thinking what I was thinking about putting these furniture pieces to work in actual living and working areas. 

Heather: I LOVED the cabinet in the laundry room idea!  Brilliant!

Mar 27, 2009 12:10 PM
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging,

This post is the cat's meow Teresa - you spent a lot of time and effort putting this together and I love the "furniture options" for the rulers of the roost in your house. Who knew how stylish a kitty korner could be? 

As for me and my house, one dog, one bird and two guinea pigs would not allow for even one feline friend... we have enough to deal with and thankfully, we are NOT selling!

Mar 27, 2009 02:48 PM
Sandi Gerrard
Toronto, ON

It's amazing how many upscale litter boxes are on the market !!

Mar 28, 2009 01:35 AM
Jacqueline Forde
Alluring Interiors - Ajax, ON

Teresa, Great acticle!  Very informative....and the photos used for your illustrations were fabulous!

Mar 28, 2009 01:59 AM
Jessica Pirone
Just Perfect! Home Staging & More - Wilmington, NC

What a fantastic post Teresa..... I love it!  It always is an issue with sellers because they are part of the family and you have provided in such detail the reasons and ways we do things...and the pictures are so fun and lighten the subject as well... Great job!

Mar 29, 2009 02:09 AM
Jane Ann Lance, ASPM, IAHSP, WCR
Mobile, AL

Great post Teresa!  You are so right about so many things, but one is that it really helps to be able to empathize with our clients.  If we have walked in their shoes (by having pets ourselves), then it helps them understand that we aren't being critical of their furry family members.  I always bring little pet treats with me when I visit my clients for the first time.  Who knows if they have pets?  But one thing for sure, is if they DO, the pet talk will be part of my recommendations.  By the way, I always ask permission before I offer a treat to their pet.  You never know if a pet is restricted to a certain diet.  Thanks again for a well thought out post. 

Jane Ann Lance, Mobile Alabama's Premier Property Presentation Specialist

Mar 29, 2009 02:22 AM
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Great post and one that deserves the feature star! Most of us have furry children as you say and when selling we don't always see what must be done to have less days on market when it comes to our little darlings.

Mar 29, 2009 02:54 AM
Kathryn Wilson

What a great post!  When working with clients who love their furry friends so much one has to be so tactful when making suggestions for being "discreet".  I certainly will keep some of these options tucked away in my head for a future furry friend lover client.

Mar 29, 2009 07:13 AM
Shelley Roufs
Simply Staged Homes - New Ulm, MN

Very clever! Love the added pics.

Mar 30, 2009 07:25 AM
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

This is just great stuff!  I am not a pet owner and it is sometimes difficult for me to figure out what to do with houses that do have pets. These are awesome alternatives and I can't wait to share this info.  Thanks for sharing this with us - I really needed it!

Apr 04, 2009 03:38 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Teresa, great tips for staging. I am going to forward this post to my friends.

Jul 22, 2009 02:46 AM
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope these tips will help! (smile!)

Jul 22, 2009 04:04 AM
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate


You have some great tips there, and since we cats really have ownership of the homes where we live, we want to see them get top dollar and sell quickly.  However, to put up with the inconvenience, the least that our humans could do is provide extra treats and some new cool toys.

Also, thanks for showing all those fantastic litter boxes.  I plan on taking Gary shopping as soon as I decide which one that I like the best.


Yaz at Home

Jul 23, 2009 05:08 PM
Bridget Cella
Re/Max Connection - Sewell, NJ
e-Pro, Realtor

Very well written - I see you got a ton of re-blogs - and I was one!  Thanks a bunch!

Aug 07, 2009 02:52 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome
Teresa, These are fabulous examples. Thanks for sharing and for commenting on my blog about Sassy's cat house.
Sep 22, 2013 05:44 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

How adorable those are. The main point to clean that box regularly, so no smell or dust around it. Unfortunately, my cat does not understand ''no dust'', she loves to dig... and does it putting all her little heart in each time. 

Apr 02, 2018 06:48 PM