If You Think You Find the Home Renovation Stressful…

How to keep your cat safe and secure while you remodel.


Home improvement projects have been steadily increasing. Even during the pandemic, the surge continued and actually accelerated in some locales. It’s understandable. As people were stuck in their houses, they wanted better kitchens, updated home offices, perhaps a refinished ensuite bath in the main bedroom. Many bought new homes altogether — and are continuing to purchase residences and remodel them — as mortgage rates remain historically low.

Of course, while everybody likes the end result, no one is thrilled about living in the midst of a construction zone, least of all the family cat. In fact, animal behaviorist Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, the immediate past director of the Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic, has said that a home remodeling project is one of the top 10 reasons cats start urinating around the house. The stress, the dust, the noise, the strangers — it all proves overwhelming for cats, who are territorial and like their turf untouched to maintain the calm and consistency they crave. Urinating in spots outside the litter box is their way of marking off their space. Think of it like the velvet rope you’re not supposed to cross. “This area is mine. Keep out.”

Here’s how to improve your cat’s sense of security when the workers descend, even if he doesn’t urine mark to try to take back what’s his.

  • Find a room or area of the home you can completely close off to create a cat-safe domain while the construction is going on. Most cats would gladly trade having the run of the house for a quiet, secure space that no one will disturb. Just make sure he has everything he needs: water, food, toys, litter box, hidey hole, and high-up places to perch.
  • Play soft, soothing classical musical to help dim the noise of hammers, power construction tools, and builders shouting back and forth to each other.



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