5 Welfare Needs for Cats

Cats have five basic welfare needs:

  • A suitable environment
  • A suitable diet
  • To exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • To be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • To be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease 


When thinking of adopting a cat into your family, these welfare needs should be considered. Can you as an owner meet these requirements to keep your cat happy and content? 

Environment:
An environment that is safe,that will provide stimulation, that will provide shelter and warmth. 

Diet: 
A diet that meets all their nutritional needs. A diet that provides enough satisfaction, so they are not hungry. A diet, if they need a special one, as prescribed by your vet, ie if they are diagnosed with a medical condition where a special  diet is part of the treatment. 

Behaviour:
To be able to hunt, if going outside. If an indoor cat, hunting should be replicated in play.

To be able to go to the toilet in a safe/private area. If an indoor cat, a litter tray should be provided, again in a safe, private area, with a clean litter tray available at all times.

To be able to wash itself, so not allowing your cat to become so obese that this becomes an im possible task, which will cause your cat a lot of underlying stress. 

To able to scratch theirselves, keeping their claws in good condition and a good length, to defend themselves in an altercation with another cat or a dog, and to give them the ability to climb, which is a natural coping mechanism in times of stress.

Other animals:
Cats should not be forced to live with animals that will increase their stress, that they cannot live happily with. This should always be a consideration when bringing animals into your home. It is equally a decision that should me made with all your animals in mind, not just through a human eye.   

Health:
Your cat should be registered with a vet and regular checkups at your vet should be carried out. They need to be protected from fleas and worms, with regular treatment with a veterinary issued product. 

They need to be protected from disease, with annual vaccinations this will give them protection against a lot of serious diseases, some of which can be fatal. 

Veterinary treatment should always be sought in the event of illness, injury or accident, and for treatment, pain relief and recovery. Please consider your ability to be provide this before taking on a cat. Also consider a pet insurance policy to give you financial protection in any of these situations.