Need a short term place to live with 3 cats
April 14, 2016 5:08 PM   Subscribe

We sold our house and have to be out soon but we haven't found a house in our new city (US university town) yet. Since the time is short, we need a back-up plan for a place to stay until we can buy and move into our new house but it's complicated by the fact that we have 3 cats. Most places, including hotels don't want cats. I am hoping you give me some "out of the box" ideas so we aren't living in our car with our cats.
posted by Flacka to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are a bunch of hotel chains, like La Quinta, that are delighted to have your cats. I would also try airbnb, vrbo, etc and expect a lot of nos. What town are you in? This might help us advise you on cat-friendly accomodation.
posted by arnicae at 5:14 PM on April 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

When we've stayed at hotels that allow cats, their rule is that the cats must not be left alone in the room. Not sure if there are any exceptions, but I'd be careful about that if you do find a hotel that will allow them.

I would second airbnb and vrbo. You're probably going to have to send out a ton of requests to find someone who will go for it, but I think eventually you'll find one.

How long of a time period are you anticipating needing this temporary place for? Are we talking in terms of days, weeks, or months?
posted by primethyme at 5:27 PM on April 14, 2016

I have also found that plenty of hotel chains are happy to accept cats. We didn't have too much trouble when we moved and needed to tide ourselves over for a couple of days in a hotel before moving into a new apartment. I believe we stayed at a Holiday Inn, although it was a few years ago. Of course, that would add up quickly depending on the amount of time you're talking about.
posted by rainbowbrite at 5:29 PM on April 14, 2016

I have personally stayed at a La Quinta with 3 cats. Just one night on a road trip, but it was above-board (i.e. I didn't sneak them in, and I think I paid an extra deposit).

Airbnb/VRBO is a good idea too; that didn't exist at the time of my La Quinta adventure.

Thirding that the timeframe would be helpful.
posted by slenderloris at 5:33 PM on April 14, 2016

Response by poster: We are heading to Charlottesville, Va and may need temporary housing for a few weeks to a few months.
posted by Flacka at 5:34 PM on April 14, 2016

I stayed in a Holiday Inn for about five days recently with two cats. The cleaning crew refused to enter unless the cats were already crated, but the policy about not leaving them alone is fairly lax if the cats are quiet.

I wouldn't recommend it long-term, but it's definitely a solution for a few days. Three cats may be harder to house, however-- maybe you could get a suite?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:01 PM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Look into extended stay hotels. They are nice and have kitchens and often welcome pets.
posted by Toddles at 6:23 PM on April 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

How about an RV?
posted by mightshould at 7:13 PM on April 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

I stayed at a Comfort Inn with two cats for two nights. I was concerned about leaving them alone but I asked at the front desk and they said it was fine. Still, I only left them for an hour or two at a time. I also left the "do not disturb" sign up and had the cleaners stay out. I think if I'd been staying longer I would have tried to coordinate cleaning with the front desk and (as steady-state strawberry said) crated them when the crew came in.

I brought a small litter box (which I set up in the bathroom), scoop, and plastic bags for disposal.

I believe they officially had a two cat limit but I had the impression they were pretty casual about the whole pet thing so they might have been ok with three.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 7:22 PM on April 14, 2016

The Fairhaven Guesthouse say they would probably say no to cats, if anyone asked, which they haven't. Because so many other people are allergic. BUT you might contact them anyway just to ask for outside-the-box ideas. They are like a tiny slice of Portlandia in Cville.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:46 PM on April 14, 2016

Also here are the things that have persuaded initially unwilling landlords to let us bring our cats:
-- offer a massive deposit
-- write up résumés for the cats. (No, really.) Past places of residence, medical history, references.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:57 PM on April 14, 2016

A quick google search finds several corporate housing locations in and around Charlottesville.
Several of them allow pets and are likely to be cheaper than a hotel over the long run.

Most Residence Inns also allow pets with no restrictions on leaving them alone in a room.
(Policies vary by location, naturally)
posted by madajb at 8:36 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

If it's going to be longer-term and you want a homey atmosphere, look for an Airbnb or temporary sublet situation, and as feral_goldfish suggested, write up a pet resume! I have two pit bulls and three cats and have written and talked my way into temporary and long-term places to stay (though I've certainly had to compromise on "niceness" of accommodations). The key is to show how very, very responsible you are, and how very, very clean and well-behaved your pets are. Here's a good pet resume example.

If you can swing the cost, though, a corporate housing/extended-stay hotel may be the easiest option. Invest in a large dog crate or cat-safe double-decker cage to close them in when the cleaners come by.
posted by adastra at 9:40 PM on April 14, 2016

I am currently in a long-term VRBO while I wait to close on a new house in a new town (one more week! woo!) with three different species of pets. I wrote emails to every possible-looking VRBO listing explaining our situation (VRBO lets you save your message which makes this super-easy) and suggesting a reasonable price for the long-term rental of their place (cheaper than just multiplying their nightly rate by the number of nights we'd be staying, enough that they're not losing money after turning the unit is factored in but it's actually easier for them because they don't have to turn it / respond to a million emails during the duration of our stay) and got a place that way within two days.

I will also tell you that I did this in desperation from an extended stay hotel that was NOT a place I wanted to stay for weeks on end. Also, the VRBO ended up being way cheaper ($1350 for one month vs. over $2000 at the extended stay hotel once the pet fees were factored in), way bigger (3br/2ba house vs. just a king suite) and way better kitted out for long-term living (all kitchen utensils, dishwasher, laundry, etc.)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:09 AM on April 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Residence Inn is a great choice, they're little apartments and they don't have daily housekeeping.

Another thought is a rental suite in an apartment complex. Many have a furnished unit that they rent out for extended stays. We did one in Nashville for a few months while our house was being built.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:51 AM on April 15, 2016

You've probably thought of this but depending on how soon you're talking about, university towns almost always have a glut of apartments available for subletting over the summer, beginning as early as the beginning of May. Many would be happy to accept your pets especially if you offer a higher deposit or monthly rent. When I sublet out my apartment in a university town, I list it on Craigslist and on Uloop.
posted by LeeLanded at 7:54 AM on April 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

You could see about paying someone to privately board the cats for you for a few months. Provide the food and litter, their accessories, and negotiate payment depending on cats' care requirements. If it's literally just "clean water and food daily, attention, and clean out litterbox" then maybe $20/week/cat might be a reasonable price.

Maybe it would be best starting off with asking around to people you know. Could be a good way for some teenager to earn money if the parents are game. You could also advertise, stipulate your requirements (other cats in the house ok or not?) and request references of course.
posted by lizbunny at 8:04 AM on April 15, 2016

If you're going to work at the university, it's worth asking your department admin if there's a listserv where you can send out a request for a sublet. This is how a lot of sublets get booked in my university town.
posted by dizziest at 8:15 AM on April 15, 2016

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