The charity says that the widespread use of blanket ‘no pets’ policies is unfair and outdated, and that an overhaul of how pets are viewed in the rented sector is urgently needed.
Cats Protection’s Advocacy & Government Relations Officer for Scotland Alice Palombo said: “The pandemic has really highlighted just how important pets are in our lives – whether it’s providing companionship to people living alone, comfort for those with ongoing health conditions or simply a fun and much-loved part of family life.
“Yet as the law stands, it can be impossible for people who rent their home to own a cat. It cannot be right that pet ownership is largely reserved for those people who own their own home.”
Research from Cats Protection’s Cats and Their Stats Scotland report, published in 2021, shows just how important cats are to people who are able to own them – with 94% of owners in Scotland saying their cat is part of the family and 91% saying their cats bring them joy.
The Scottish Government is currently consulting on proposals to allow tenants to keep pets in rented housing, and Cats Protection is asking its supporters to back the proposals.
Alice said: “This consultation is a big step in the right direction and we’re urging the Scottish Government to continue this momentum. Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and it’s only right that everyone should have the chance to own a cat if they wish.”
Mum-of-two Stephanie Wood, of Balornock, Glasgow, is backing the charity’s campaign after she was forced to give up the family’s much-loved cat Whoopie when she struggled to find a new pet-friendly home. The heart-breaking decision, just before the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, came at a particularly stressful time for Stephanie, who works as a clinical healthcare assistant in two NHS hospitals. It meant her daughters – then aged six and one - faced lockdown without their beloved cat and denied Stephanie the comforting and calming presence of a pet.
Stephanie explained: “Our landlord decided to sell the property we were renting, and I found myself in the position of having four weeks to find a new home. I was aware the lockdown was on the horizon, so it felt like a real panic to find somewhere. When I did find a suitable home, the landlord said she’d only consider a pet once we’d been there for six months.
“It seemed like an impossible situation and we had no choice but to give Whoopie up to Cats Protection. It was heart-breaking – me and the girls are still very upset about it. Whoopie was part of our family, she was fun, affectionate and a big part of our lives. She used to sleep snuggled up to my eldest daughter and she had a really calming effect on us all. Working for the NHS during the pandemic was incredibly difficult at times, and I often thought how lovely it would have been to come home to Whoopie, but sadly that was not possible. It just feels incredibly unfair that families like mine are denied such a simple pleasure of owning a pet cat.”
You can support cat owning tenants by using Cats Protection’s simple online form – it takes only a couple of minutes to complete. Find out more by visiting: www.cats.org.uk/scottish-renters
For more information or a photo, please email Cats Protection’s Media Office on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01825 741 911.