Black cat in her bedA word from the Cat Protection Society of NSW.

Cats make beautiful loving companions and are ideal for apartment living. Anyone who shares their life with a cat, or cats, knows they comfort us when we’re sad, make us laugh with their antics, give us a sense of purpose and quite simply make a house a home. Not only that, research tells us the benefits of pets to people include

  • Lower levels of risk factors for cardiovascular disease; fewer doctor visits
  • Better psychological health including less depression
  • A buffer against grief and stress
  • Positive association with social contact and perceptions of neighbourhood friendliness (social capital)

With all these benefits for pet owners and the community in general, why is it so hard to find pet-friendly accommodation?

At the Cat Protection Society, every week we see the heartbreak caused by this housing shortage: devastated people relinquishing their beloved cats because they can’t find a pet-friendly place to live, and the distraught felines who come to a strange place full of other cats, wondering, why?

We are a no-kill shelter and we give all our cats all the care and love they need until they find new homes. But it remains that pet-unfriendly accommodation significantly contributes to the surrender of pets and the reduced number of pets being adopted, and therefore contributes to euthanasia rates in pounds and open shelters. Pets and the people who love them are suffering.

What can be done?

It’s a big issue but there are many things that can be done. Three groups have a fundamental role to play: pet owners; strata corporations; and landlords. As well, the government has a role in regulation, legislation and leadership; and everyone has a stake in helping to create happier, kinder communities.

To assist pet owners, landlords and strata corporations, Cat Protection has created template agreements and pet resumes, available on our website under ‘cat care and health,’ ‘renting & strata,’ where you’ll also find our issues paper and other materials, including the excellent publication Pets and the City by the Petcare Information and Advisory Service (PIAS). PIAS has also developed resources in conjunction with Strata Community Australia available from

Cat Protection is a member of the State Government’s Companion Animals Taskforce and we’ve put pet-friendly accommodation on that agenda. The NSW Government has announced a major review of the legislation governing strata and community title will commence in mid-2012. Meanwhile, an on-line consultation is now underway which Fair Trading Minister, Anthony Roberts, says will feed into the Government’s review.

These are all positive signs that we may yet see a more pet-friendly city but we can only get there with your help. We believe that denying people the right to have a pet on their property is to deny them and the community access to the human health and social benefits that pets provide.

Pet-friendly should be the default position for strata, as it is in the ACT. Permission to keep pets should never be unreasonably withheld, and arbitrary restrictions on dogs based on size need to change. We’re not dog experts, but those who are will tell you with assessing suitability of dogs for apartment living, it’s breed and temperament that count, not size.  As for cats, ‘one-cat only’ policies are silly. For indoor-only cats, invariably two is better than one as they provide stimulation for each other while their people are work.

Cat Protection will continue to help the victims of pet-unfriendly accommodation as well as advocating for a more pet-friendly community. We invite you to lend your voice to those calling for a kinder, fairer world for pets and those who love them.

If you wish to participate in the on-line consultation on the strata review go to before 29 February or write to your local member of State Parliament.