For too many people who rent, owning a cat is a distant dream. Faced with a rental market that frequently operates blanket ‘no pet’ policies, owning a cat can seem impossible (writes Peterborough Cats Protection spokeswoman Sheridan Gaunt).
Some renters may have been lucky enough to find cat-friendly housing, but live in fear of having to move, aware that cat-friendly properties are few and far between. Over the last few years, our helpline has seen a dramatic increase in calls from the public desperate for our help as their landlord either current or new, just won’t allow cats, and this can be a heartbreaking experience.
Some landlords may just think it is easier to operate a ‘no pet’ policy for fear of damage to their property, they may have had a bad experience with previous tenants, or they may just be using a standard template for the tenancy agreement, and may not have even thought about flexibility for pets.
Don’t despair! There are things you can do to help reassure your landlord that your cat is unlikely to cause a problem by taking a few simple steps.
Pick up the phone: Many adverts may state ‘no pets’, and this can be off-putting. But in some cases, a landlord might be flexible once you approach them. Try phoning local letting agents and landlords and explain your situation. By reassuring them that you’re a responsible owner and your cat has been neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and treated for fleas, some may be happy to give permission.
Put together a Pet CV: By putting together a ‘Pet CV’ it enables you to tell prospective landlords about your cat. It should include vet records so they can see the cat has been neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and protected against fleas and other parasites. It may also include details about your cat’s character, how they like to spend their time, if they use a litter tray and how they interact with people and animals. If possible, provide a pet reference from a previous landlord to confirm the cat had not caused damage.
Ask for help: If you need to move and still haven’t found a property, try asking a trusted friend or family member if they can temporarily look after your cat. It may give you some time to find a more suitable home, or your landlord may be more inclined to allow cats once you’ve been a tenant for a while.
Be honest: Don’t try to sneak a cat into your property, or get a cat before asking permission first.
You could lose your tenancy, and you may find yourself in the stressful situation of having to find a new home for yourself and your cat, or even having to give your cat up to a rehoming charity.
Please don’t give up at the first hurdle, we understand how much a cat can help your wellbeing and make a house feel like a home. For more information, please see our guide to cat friendly agreements at: www.cats.org.uk/purrfectlandlords