Cats are not dogs. It’s an obvious statement to make, but a necessary one. We’ve previously made the case for landlords to allow tenants to keep canine companions for company in rented accommodation, but we appreciate that dogs are essentially big, lumbering balls of energy with a low boredom threshold.
When left alone in a house, they have a tendency to chew the curtains, savage the sofa, and defecate on the floor.
They get bored, anxious, lonely, and stressed.
This is not the case with cats. Cats don’t care if you’re in the house or not, so long as they are fed twice every day. Younger felines may occasionally climb the curtains when they’re in a playful mood, but there’s no real damage is there?
Add into this the fact that cat shelters across the country are stuffed to bursting point, and you have the perfect answer to the question of animal neglect and abandonment.
That’s the logic behind the ‘Purrfect Landlord’ campaign by charity, Cats Protection in its effort to persuade both PRS and social landlords to be more lenient in their policies on pets.
Here’s the thing though – cats aren’t all sweet innocence, and they absolutely can cause destruction and mayhem every bit as efficiently as a dog.
If the property doesn’t have a cat flap, then the mog is going to need to be trained to use a litter box in the house. They stink. They’re unhygienic, and even with litter changes every day, cats still kick their poop onto the carpet. And when the litter tray is full, they’ll crap under the sofa. They’ll leave it behind the curtains. It’s disgusting.
Cats also have a tendency to squeeze into places they can’t get out of. Under floorboards, between walls, ceiling voids. Anywhere. And when that happens, the pet owner has to choose between covering their ears against the feeble mewling of Felix as he starves to death in the dark or calling the landlord to have the floors ripped up. The deposit doesn’t come close to covering the cost of that kind of damage.
When visiting a tenement in Dundee about ten years ago, we met a lovely couple who had two cats, one of which had been missing for weeks. It turned out the missing mog had become trapped in the empty flat next door. We don’t know how he managed to feed himself, but the amount of faeces present on every surface proved that he had.
Cats aren’t essential for human existence, and landlords aren’t running menageries, zoos, dairies, or farms. They’re letting to people not animals. It’s unreasonable to have workmen come round and have to endure the stench of rotting cat poop while a fanged menace attacks at ankle height. And it’s unreasonable to expect landlords to install a cat flat, which may need to be removed after only six months, so that the cat can do its business in the flowerbeds instead.
If you’re renting, you’re probably not ready to to put down roots and commit to a property just yet. So why commit to a cat?
Image credit: Nicholas Smale