Landlords are missing out on a huge pool of responsible tenants who would treat properties as a valued home, according to Cats Protection.

The charity is launching a feline-friendly campaign, offering guidance to landlords to help tenants own a cat.

Currently, around 43 per cent of private rental accommodation allows cats, but Cats Protection would like to see that grow.

The charity suggests that properties should be advertised as “pets considered”, so that decisions can be made on a case by case basis after the prospective feline tenant has been met and vetted.

Spokesperson Jacqui Cuff said: “We hear from renters who tell us most adverts state ‘no pets’.

“Often, the reason for not allowing cats is simply habit, with a third of landlords who don’t accept cats saying they didn’t proactively choose to ban cats, but instead followed a standard template or advice from a letting agent.”

The charity has produced a downloadable example clause which says that tenancy conditions can require cats to be neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped.

The charity says that private tenants who are allowed to own cats often stay in the property longer, look after it better and feel happier. And happy tenants are good tenants.

Ms Cuff said: “The reality is that cats very rarely cause problems for landlords. In actual fact, many cat owners tell us that having a cat is what makes their house a home and helps them put down roots and value the home they’re living in.”

Broadcaster Andrew Collins said: “Cats are more than just much-loved pets – they’re part of the family and the heart of the home. For me, a home without a cat isn’t a home at all.

“They’ve got an important role to play in the lives of many people – from helping children understand about caring for others, to providing a lifeline to pensioners who may otherwise feel isolated and lonely.

“By helping landlords see the benefits of happy, settled tenants, we can help more tenants experience the joy of sharing their lives with a feline friend.”

In January, Simple Landlords Insurance reported on a survey which revealed more than a quarter of tenants would be prepared to pay more rent to live with a pet.

A poll of more than 3,200 people, carried out by LSL Corporate Client Department, for Your Move and Reeds Rains, found that some 28 per cent of private rental sector tenants would pay extra, at £24 a month on average.

Women were more likely to say they would pay more than men, with nearly a third (31 per cent) saying they would pay additional fees to live with their pet in their rental property, compared with 23 per cent of men.

Richard Truman, Head of Operations at Simple Landlords Insurance, said: “Accepting cats on a case-by-case basis could encourage good tenants to remain in a property for longer, and this clearly benefits landlords who want to avoid a high turnover of tenants as well as unprofitable void periods.”

But he warned that some landlords have been faced with extra cleaning costs to remove the odour of cats, once the cats and their owners have vacated the property.

“Responsible pet owners keep clean pets, but it’s always worth inspecting your property to make sure your happy with everyone’s litter tray standards. We recommend going in between 2 and 4 times a year to spot small problems before they become big expensive issues.”

Are you an animal lover? Our resident blogger Bindar Dosanjh also looks at the pros and cons of allowing rental pets in a recent blog post.