Airbnb with Cats: My Experience & Things to Consider

Are you going into an Airbnb with cats? In this blog post I’d like to discuss some factors you may want to consider before booking the Airbnb of your choice.

Traveling with cats is not easy and especially going into an Airbnb brings quite a few challenges. Having been traveling with cats and living in an Airbnbswith cats since the end of 2023, I want to share with you what I’ve learned and what my considerations are for booking an Airbnb.

Airbnb with Cats: Challenges

Bringing your cat to an Airbnb will come with several challenges. Here are a couple of problems you may run into:

Cats like familiarity

Know what you’re getting yourself into. Cats are territorial animals and can become stressed when removed from their familiar environment. Traveling to a new place can be unsettling for them, leading to anxiety and behavior issues.

Furthermore, cats thrive on routine and familiarity. It may be difficult for your cat to adjust to a new environment. For this reason, I always make sure to bring a couple of items with a familiar smell, such as an old shirt and toys.

Also, my cats seem to adjust more easily in places I’ve already been. For example, there was a comfy chair in one of the Airbnbs I booked and I was sure the cats were gonna like that chair, but they didn’t sleep in it until after sat in it for a while.

Host restrictions

Keep in mind that, even if cats are allowed in the Airbnb of your choice, your host may restrict which rooms or sections of the house or apartment your cat is allowed to be in. Having limitations like this is something I would definitely avoid, but if your host presents you with restrictions, please reconsider. As a result of the restrictions, your cats freedom of movement is impaired, which may cause additional stress. Also, your cat or cats’ ability to run around (aka having the zoomies) is then also restricted. Cats need to be able to move and exercise, just like humans do.

Lastly, having restrictions may mean you will have trouble placing your cat’s litter box in an appropriate place.

Safety concerns

Your cat will be an indoor cat during your stay at an Airbnb. The last thing you will want, is for your cat to escape into an unfamiliar and potentially dangerous environment. Always ensure your Airbnb is safe for your cat and make sure your cat can not escape through open windows or unprotected balconies. Windows with mesh (against bugs) are great – they allow you to open a window and you don’t have to worry about your cat escaping.

Booking an Airbnb with Cats: My Requirements

When I book an Airbnb with cats, I want the place to ourselves. For the sake of the safety of my cats, I do not wish to share an Airbnb with other guests or a host who could leave a door open and let my cats accidentally escape.

This is what I look for when I search for a cat safe Airbnb:

Safe windows

Safety is my number one priority. My cats have always been indoor cats, so the last thing they need, is to be able to escape. An open window is a huge liability, so the windows either have to be closed, or they should be protected with an additional mesh, such as a bug screen.

Safe balcony or patio

I do not want to risk having something happen to the cats if they were to escape through an open door. So I do not want a place with an unsafe balcony or patio. Although this isn’t too high on the list, as such a section can simply remain locked, I still take it into account.

Having said this, I do like it when an Airbnb comes with an enclosed patio and safe windows. In Bucharest for example, this has allowed our cats to enjoy the idea of being outside without actually being outside. It also came with a grass mat (plastic). Especially Tommy spent most of his time sleeping in the patio, with the window open. Although the cats were initially careful in the patio and had to get used to the height (7th floor) and sounds of cars (we were at a busy street), they eventually learned to love it. Must have reminded them of our backyard back in The Netherlands. I mean, they are still my cute little Backyard Cats after all. :-)

Additional door to close

The last thing I want, is for curious cats to escape out of the Airbnb as I enter it. They would either end up in a stair well or right onto the street. So in addition to a safe Airbnb, I require that there is a room with a door to close, which is usually a bedroom. This means I can safely enter and exit the Airbnb without needing to worry that a curious kitty is right in front of the door to the apartment or building.

Naturally, this rules out places like studios, which often have everything setup in one room: bed, kitchen, sofa. Theoretically I could lock them up in the bathroom, but the bathroom is usually very small and I believe it would stress them out to be shoved into a place where they normally don’t go. So I would not feel comfortable going out for a couple of hours leaving them in the bathroom.

As most hotels do not offer “multi-door” rooms (or they are significantly more expensive) I have not been considering hotels for our stay with cats. To be honest, I’ve never been in a hotel in my entire life, so I can’t say for sure whether it would work or not. But I’ve heard of this thing called “room service” and cleaning people opening the room without permission, which would be a moment the cats could escape.

Final words

Yes, I want total control over my cats. Unless proven otherwise, I believe I can take care of my cats the best way. So I do not share an accommodation with others. So far, we’ve been living in Airbnbs for almost 4 months now and the cats are doing very well. Even though Traveling with cats is not easy.

I also want to add that you should of course be a responsive guest. Don’t bring cats that you know would damage furniture, or pee or poop inside the house (cat pee is worse and harder to clean). To minimize the chance of your cats damaging anything, look for Airbnbs that are cat-proof. And cover furniture with some sheets if needed. Also, bring a scratch post if you can or buy one when you arrive at your location.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there extra fees for staying at an Airbnb with cats?

The Airbnbs that I stayed in, did not charge an additional fee for bringing cats. I have seen some hosts stating they charge an additional fee for cats, though. One host stated they charge 5 USD extra per cat per night. This means that a one-month stay would cost an additional 300 USD just to stay over with two cats!

I have heard of hosts charging an additional pet fee – up to 150 USD per stay – after completing the booking. If a fee is not listed on the Airbnb listing you don’t have to pay it. They can request it, but you would have the right to deny it. So be sure to contact your host prior to booking and inform if bringing pets is okay, how many pets, what type of pets and if any additional fees are involved.

Can an Airbnb host reject me for bringing a cat?

Yes. A host is allowed to reject you if you are bringing a cat and they do not want to allow cats in their property. The reason may be an unfortunate experience with a previous pet owner, or perhaps they don’t want to risk other guests with allergies suffering from allergy attacks after a cat has visited the property. Whatever the case, don’t take it personal. Surely you will find a nice place where you and your cat are welcome.

However, should a certain Airbnb be the only place where you could stay over with your cat and they don’t allow pets or cats, you could always opt to contact the host and offer a deal. For example, you could offer to pay for a safety deposit and agree to receive it back if the place is left clean. Or you could discuss an additional fee per night to bring your cat. It won’t hurt to try!

What if my cat needs medical attention?

It could occur when you are staying over at an Airbnb with cats that one or more cats require medical attention. Since you’ll most likely be in an unfamiliar area, I wholeheartedly recommend searching for (well-rated) veterinary clinics in your area. Also be sure to know who you can call for a taxi ride to a vet if needed. Of course we all hope you won’t need any emergency medical care for your cat while staying over at an Airbnb, it’s better to be prepared!

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