If you are thinking of getting a cat then you need to know what you will need to provide for them. Firstly, it is important to be aware that cats live for around 14 years, that’s a big commitment. You need to be 100% sure that you can satisfy a cat’s needs for their entire life.
As with any pet, you are required to abide by the Animal Welfare Act. This was put in place to prevent animals from unnecessary pain and suffering. Pet owners have a ‘duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals.’
You must abide by the five freedoms;
- need for a suitable environment
- need for a suitable diet
- need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
- need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
What about things that cats specifically need? If you are a cat owner then here are some important things you need to know.
Cats need to be fed an appropriate diet depending on their size, age and health requirements. You need to make sure you are feeding them all the nutrients they require to stay fit and healthy. Cats need a high protein diet with an adequate amount of meat, they should not be fed a vegetarian diet.
There are a wide range of different types of food you can get your cat including wet and dry food. Whatever food you decide on make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions and feed your cat the correct amount. Try to avoid suddenly changing your cats diet as this can cause digestive problems.
Keep an eye on your cat’s weight to check they are the correct weight for their age. Weight they regularly to make sure they don’t get under or over weight. You should feed your cat on a daily basis. It is normally best to feed them small meals regularly throughout the day.
We have a wide selection of cat food brands on our website, click here to find a cat food that is best suited to your cat.
Your cat must always have access to clean, fresh water.
A suitable place to live (shelter)
Cats are territorial and enjoy having a home to call their own. They can also get scared easily so they need some areas where they feel safe. They enjoy going out exploring but need a place to come home to at the end of the day where they can take shelter.
Cats tend to sleep a lot and love their afternoon naps. They should have somewhere warm and dry where they can spend some quiet time. This area should be clean, cats are very clean animals and won’t go near anywhere that’s dirty. It should also be away from any cold drafts so that your cat is warm enough.
Freedom from sickness and disease
If you realise anything is wrong with your cat make sure they get the treatment they need. Do not leave them to suffer any longer than necessary. Take your cat for regular check ups at the vets and check them regularly yourself.
Going to the toilet
Cats don’t like going to the toilet near where they sleep and eat. You need to arrange for a suitable place for them to do their business that is away from their comfort areas. You can choose whether you want to train them to go outside or in a litter box inside your home, it depends what is best for you and your cat.
If you want them to go in their litter box make sure you change it regularly and keep it clean or they will simply go elsewhere. Their litter tray should be emptied on a daily basis. Do not use strong cleaning detergents, bleaches or strong smelling cleaning products as they can not only poison your cat they can sometimes put them off using their litter tray.
You might want to get your cat a cat flap so that they can come and go as they please. This also makes life easier for you as you don’t have to let them out all the time, and then wait for them to come back. You can also get catflaps that let your cat in but not out again, so that you can control when they go off on all their adventures. Whatever you decide to do, your cat should be able to come home whenever they want to. Even if it’s in the middle of the night they need to be able to get inside.
Some cats can live as indoor cats, providing they still get everything they need. They will need an adequate outside space to exercise in. They should also be provided with enough mental stimulation to burn some of their energy and keep their minds active.
It is not a good idea to try and make a cat that is usually used to roaming around outdoors turn into an indoor cat. If you are going to keep your cat indoors do it from a young age so that they can get used to it.
When you go away
Cats should not be left to fend for themselves while you are away. Having a neighbour pop in every few days is not enough. If you are going away for an extended period you need to arrange for adequate care. You can get someone to come and care for your cat in your own home or take them to a reputable cattery.
Transporting your cat
You should get a cat carrier in case you need to transport your cat. You might need to take them to the vet, transport them when you move home or take them on holiday with you. It’s definitely worth investing in a cat carrier to easily transport your cat. It needs to be large enough so that they can turn around and lie down.
Some cats don’t like going into cat carriers, especially if they haven’t been in one before. You need to introduce them gradually, don’t rush them or you could make the situation worse. Put a few things from home in the carrier so that it feels familiar and use treats to slowly tempt them inside. Click here to see our range of cat carriers.
Cats need a certain amount of mental stimulation. They absolutely love scratching posts, you might want to invest in one to prevent them from scratching your furniture instead. Cats that aren’t given much to do can become anxious and bored.
Playing with toys also helps them to improve their reflexes and keeps them active. Cat toys are designed to allow cats to use their natural instincts. They particularly enjoy playing with toys such as stuffed toys, mice, tunnels and treat dispensers. Cats enjoy playing anything they can chase, bat with their paws and pounce on.
Your cat needs to be able to exercise. They need to exercise to keep at a healthy weight, keep them fit and healthy and to give them something to do. Make sure you let your cat out for exercise everyday and encourage them to be active by playing with toys.
It is a good idea to get your cat micro chipped so that if they get lost they can be reunited with you.