A CAT charity has stepped up its campaign to encourage more landlords to allow tenants to keep pet cats.

Cats Protection’s research shows that in the South West, less than half of private rented housing allows cats – preventing many people in rented homes from ever owning one.

The charity visited the Landlord Expo, the South West’s largest housing show, recently to help local landlords and letting agents find out why cats make great pets for tenants.

Advocacy and government relations officer Madison Rogers said: “Our Purrfect Landlords campaign is all about helping landlords see the benefits of allowing their tenants to have a pet cat.

“We often hear heart-breaking stories about people who have had to give up their much-loved pet cat for rehoming, simply because they can’t find a rented home which allows pets. Because more people are renting their homes for longer, many people have simply given up hope of ever owning a cat.

“We’re travelling throughout the UK to meet more landlords and letting agents to talk to them about why allowing cats is of benefit to them. Cat-owning tenants are more likely to stay for longer and treat a property as a home, reducing the time and expense of a quick turnover in tenants.

“We believe happy tenants leads to happy landlords, and of course, happy cats.”

Cats Protection has launched a new website full of guidance for landlords and tenants about allowing cats into their properties and addressing any concerns. The website (www.cats.org.uk/purrfectlandlords) includes example tenancy clauses for landlords and letting agents, setting out simple conditions on responsible cat ownership to protect and benefit both landlords and tenants. This includes requiring the cat to be neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and treated for fleas and other parasites. The charity is also offering advice to help tenants speak to their landlords to ask for permission to own a cat and create a ‘Pet CV’.

Cat owner Anna Erskine, who lives with wife Mhairi and daughter Mhòrbheinn in a rented house, is supportive of the campaign.

When the family first moved to Bristol in 2017, they faced major challenges finding a rented home where they could keep cats Boy and Badger.

Anna said: “So many adverts all stated ‘no pets’ and many places wouldn’t even let us book a viewing once we told them about the cats. Eventually, we found a brilliant private landlord that would take the cats which was a huge relief as I was heavily pregnant and time was running out to find somewhere.

“We are settled now, but we’re on a rolling two-month tenancy, so it’s always on our mind about what could happen if we needed to move. Two months may be sufficient time to find a new home if you don’t have cats, but for us it would be incredibly stressful and difficult.”