Caring for your cat

Cats retain much of the biology and behaviour of the wild cats they originated from. This means they have very complex needs so looking after them well can be challenging.


Provide your cat with a comfortable, dry, draught-free, clean and quiet place where they can rest undisturbed. Give them regular access to a suitable place where they can go to the toilet, outside or in a litter tray, which is separate to where they eat and sleep.

Make sure your cat has constant access to safe hiding places where they can escape if feeling afraid.

If more than one cat shares a living space, provide sufficient extra resources (e.g. toys, beds and hiding places) and give them enough space that they can get away from one another if they choose.

Ensure the size and temperature of any place you leave your cat (including your vehicle) is appropriate.


If your cat likes people, provide regular contact, even when you are away. When you are away, make sure your cat is properly cared for by a responsible person.

Think very carefully before getting a second cat, and if you do, seek advice on the best way to introduce them. If you have cats who are not friends, make sure that they can avoid each other at all times and that they can access everything they need (e.g. food, water, outside, litter, bed) without having to pass one another.

Don't force your cat to interact with people or animals that he/she doesn't like, and make sure he/she can avoid them. Seek advice from a clinical animal behaviourist if this becomes a problem.

Health and Welfare

Check your cat for signs of injury or illness every day, and make sure this is done by someone else if you are away. Consult a vet promptly if you suspect that your cat is in pain, ill or injured.

Ask your vet for advice about things you can do to protect your cat's health, such as vaccination, treatments to control parasites (e.g. fleas and worms) and neutering.

Get your cat neutered, unless he/she is intended for breeding and provisions have been made to care for both parents and offspring. Before allowing cats to breed, seek the advice of a vet to ensure they are suitable for breeding in terms of their health and personalities.

Take your cat for a routine health check at your vets at least once each year. Only use medicines that have been prescribed for your individual cat. Human and dog medicines can be very dangerous to cats.

Ensure your cat's coat is kept in good condition by grooming him/her regularly. If you are unsure how to groom your cat properly seek advice from a pet care specialist. If your cat changes his/her grooming habits, you should seek advice from a vet as your cat may be ill.

Make sure your cat can be identified, ideally via a microchip.


Provide your cat with constant access to clean drinking water; cow's milk is not a substitute.

Make sure your cat eats a balanced diet suitable for their age, health status and lifestyle.

Feed your cat every day, preferably splitting the daily ration into several small meals throughout the day (unless advised otherwise by your vet).

Read and follow the feeding instructions relating to any cat foods that you buy.

Adjust how much you feed your cat to make sure they do not become underweight or overweight.

If your cat's eating and drinking habits change, talk to your vet, as your cat could be ill.

Position your cat's food and water well away from their litter tray (if you provide one).