Keeping pets safe - meancatThis morning I came across a news item about a family cat that terrified its owners so much that it caused them to be trapped in their bedroom while they called the police to come rescue them. It may sound a little funny, even a little over the top but the truth is, animals even docile family pets can be unpredictable.

Very often I’ve gone to view homes for sale and the information about the home states something like Small friendly dog named Dixie, will be there. She’s very friendly but please do not let her out the front door or something like, Two docile cats will be there. They may follow you around and purr against your legs“.

Red flag, Red flag…….

Apart from the obvious issues:

What do I do if Dixie somehow escapes out the front door? Do I really want to risk losing your dog? What happens if Dixie gets hurt while enjoying her new found freedom? Who would be responsible for those vet bills? What if the cats do follow us around and manage to get trapped in one of the bedrooms after we close the door? Will they run straight for the blinds and tear them up or do their business all over the carpet? Who’s responsible if that happens? What if my buyers are allergic to cats or have a phobia about dogs? What if…… What if….. So many What if’s.

keeping your pet - mean dogHowever, for me the big question is: What if those family pets, that are so friendly and docile to their owners, are not so friendly to strangers that just walk in the front door, particularly when their owners are not at home?

The very same pets that jump up and lick their owners faces and get so excited when they come home may see strangers as a threat. The last thing I would ever want is for one my buyers getting bit by a ‘friendly’ dog or scratched by a ‘docile’ cat.

As a Realtor those are more serious issues and they are issues that I really take into consideration when showing homes for sale.

Recently, I went to go show a home with my buyers where the notes said “Small friendly dog named Dixie, will be there. She’s very friendly but please do not let her out the front door“.

After discussing it with my clients and scheduling the appointment, we went to go see the house. Well this small friendly dog turned out to be a monster! As soon as I tried to unlock the front door I could hear her barking and growling. When I tried to slowly open the front door, all I could see where rows of teeth and gums coming at me.

Needless to say I quickly shut the door and we crossed that property off our list and went to the next house. I called the sellers agent and told him what happened, his response was “The owners normally come in through the backdoor so maybe that’s why the dog acted like that“. Well then why did you give us with a key for the front door and not the backdoor?

Keeping pets safe-scary catSo as a homeowner and pet owner that will want to sell your home, what can you do to prevent a scenario like that? I know you need to sell your property and you need to be able to get as many buyers to see it as possible but you also have pets that normally have freedom in the house.

Well there are several things you can do to both keep your pets safe and also allow buyers to view your home while you’re gone.

  • Be very, very specific with your Realtor about your pets behavior. If your pet is not allowed into the bedrooms then make sure your realtor knows that.
  • Follow up with the information your Realtor provides to other Realtors to make sure it’s accurate. If your dog is not allowed out the front door then make sure you provide keys to the backdoor and fenced in yard instead, somewhere the pet is more comfortable hearing people enter from.
  • Make sure your Realtor knows how much time you need in order to take care of your pet. If it’s not possible to cage your pet all the time while your gone then make sure your Realtor knows how much time in advance you need to secure your pet.
  • If possible schedule appointments when you can be there. Although it’s never a good idea for a home seller to be at the home buyers are looking at it, there is no reason that a home seller can’t be there to open the door, gather up the pets and go for a walk or drive while the buyers are looking at the house. A good buyers agent will call and let you know when they done, so you can come back.
  • Remember your pet loves you and they want to protect you. Even though they may be friendly and docile while you are around they won’t always behave like that when you are not there.


Talk to your Realtor. There is a solution to both making your home available to buyers to view and taking care of your pets needs too.

Maybe, the family in the news that had to call the police to protect them from their family cat, only occurred because the cat felt jealous that he was no longer the loved and favored baby of the family. Maybe the cat saw the baby as a threat.

Can you imagine a complete stranger opening the door to that home?

Cats gone wild!


Article proof read and edited by Megan Krenek.

Pictures chosen by Megan Krenek.