Caring for a cat combines a source of enjoyment with the responsibilities of cat ownership. So, this introductory guide will help you learn how to look after a cat or a kitten.
You may need to care for a pet cat for up to 14 years. Even though some felines will live longer, fourteen is the average lifespan for cats.
Like most pets and animals, cats also display differences in behaviour and in needs. In fact, no two cats act the same!
Even so, getting an insight into the behaviour of cats will help you better understand your pet.
This guide is a basic introduction into the welfare of cats. You will find cat care tips and health information on owning a cat.
But, several factors influence how well they thrive in their environment. You will have to consider their dietary requirements as well as the general health and welfare needs of cats.
This is the important part:
Cats are active creatures and will need some space to assert their existence. But, your cat will also appreciate regular interaction with people and with other animals.
As a rule, felines are not solitary animals. Thus, most cats would prefer not to be alone or left by themselves for long periods in the day time.
You must provide your pet with access to clean water. They will need some kind of meat-based cat food. Cats also need regular grooming, much like horses, although it's a lot easier to groom a pet cat.
Caring for a cat at home means providing them with somewhere to carry out their biological functions. So, make sure they have private access to some kind of a litter tray. Try to replace the tray at least once every week.
Note: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) Code of Practice for the welfare of cats applies to the care of all felines in the United Kingdom.
In some cases, keeping an active household pet for that length of time might be too much of a commitment for some families. So, you should consider all the factors that may affect your ability to care for a cat. Owning a cat does not suit everyone!
You should take the size and the location of your property into consideration. Looking after a cat as a pet can be a financial commitment - not to mention the time implications involved.
But wait - there's more:
Caring for a cat can sometimes be an expensive experience. Can you meet the cost of keeping a cat and can you pay for pet health insurance? Cats welfare is most likely to include paying for routine and unexpected veterinary treatment.
It would be wrong to say that all cats can be 'properly' cared for in one single 'perfect' way. Every cat and every kitten is different and has different needs for each situation.
It is the responsibility of the cat owner to determine their precise requirements. That said, caring for felines will mean taking all reasonable steps to ensure:
The full responsibility for meeting a cat's needs rests with the pet owner. So, as a parent or a guardian of a child under 16, you would also be responsible for any animal that your child owns - or is in charge of!
UK law on pet ownership remains unchanged even in a situation where you are unable to care for your cat. Thus, you would need to make arrangements for another suitable person to look after the pet on your behalf.
Even so, the owner remains responsible for ensuring the welfare of the cat, even while they are away. Any person left to take care of your cat would also have legal responsibilities. They would be responsible for some cat welfare during your absence.
Note: As the owner or the person responsible, failing to meet the welfare needs of a cat or causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, can result in a prosecution.
The introduction of a new law (under the 'animal care plan') means around 10 million cats must have a microchip in the United Kingdom.
The percentage of cats microchipped in the UK is a little over 70%. Yet, the figure is more than 90% for dogs - since it became compulsory on the 6th of April 2016.
Besides being able to track a lost cat much easier if it has a chip implanted under its skin, it should also target a sudden rise in pets being reported as stolen.
Failing to microchip a cat means you could face a fine of £500 (the same penalty for not microchipping your dog).
Note: We will update this information when further details about the new cat microchipping law become available.
Cats Welfare: Tips for Looking after a Cat in United Kingdom