Property Managers: Consider the Consequences Before Updating the Pet Policy
A Day In The Life...
Working alone in a leasing office can get pretty lonely. Check out this story from a cat-loving manager who decided to bend the rules and allow a fat cat named Trixie inside.
A Cat Named Trixie
I worked for a small management company where the owner had a strict no-pet policy. Knowing we’d have a higher occupancy rate if he would relent a little, I convinced him to start accepting pets weighing fifteen pounds or less.
Soon after, I leased an apartment to a couple that had a huge orange tabby cat named Trixie. They really sweated Trixie’s passing the weight limit test—and rightfully so because she tipped our office scale at a whopping twenty pounds! The anxious couple assured me they’d put the cat on a special diet, so I made the executive decision to bend the rules a bit and let them move in. (After all, who doesn’t fudge a couple of pounds when declaring their weight?”
Although our new residents told me that Trixie would be an “inside cat”, I began noticing her following me around whenever I was out walking units or touring with prospects. In fact, it was almost as if she were stalking me. Whenever I’d leave the office, she’d appear—her telltale ID tags jingling, letting me know she wasn’t far behind.
Who Wouldn’t Love Trixie?
As flattering as it was to have my own personal orange cat shadow, I was concerned about her welfare and spoke with her owners about the dangers of Trixie getting lost or hit by a car. They told me that since they’d moved in, their cat hated being inside their apartment. In fact, they said she would stand by the front door and howl until they let her out. They also shared that Trixie hadn’t actually been living “at home” for quite some time and become a sort of “community cat”. Several neighbors were feeding her (which explained why Ms. Trixie was growing noticeably fatter; in fact, she was leaning toward being obese)
I asked the couple to make an effort to lead their cat back to being an indoor cat, but to no avail. Each day when I arrived at the office, there was Trixie—sometimes even “gifting me” with a lizard or bird she’d captured. As the weather grew colder, I started letting Trixie hang out in the office with me. Since I worked alone, it was nice having some company. The property was fully leased, and everything was running smoothly.
The Cat Had My Tongue
It was a crisp winter day when my property owner popped into the office unannounced. He said hello to me, but his eyes were on the big orange creature lounging on the guest chair across from my desk.
“What is that?” he exclaimed, pointing to Trixie.
At that moment, the huge tabby stood up in the chair and stretched, as if to reveal just how magnificently large she really was. The she plopped back down and began licking herself.
I explained to the owner that this one of our resident’s pets that sometimes hung out with me. Of course, at her current size, Trixie likely weighed double the fifteen-pound maximum I’d talked the owner into accepting. Suffice it to say, he was not happy about the cat! Turns out, he actually hated cats and said he’d always been allergic to them. He told me to give Trixie the boot then and there, insisting that I tell her owners they would have to find her a new home.
I’m probably lucky I didn’t lose my job over the cat. I know I shouldn’t have broken the rule, but it seemed pretty innocent at the time. Oh, and I’m happy to share that the new home we found for Trixie happened to be mine. She became a beloved member of my family and lived a happy, fat-cat life with us for many years!
Contributed from Georgetown