Cat care

Essential Guides

From the considerations to take into account when adopting a cat to details of watching his weight and behaviour, the Essential Guides series tells you everything you need to know about responsible cat ownership.

The full range of leaflets is available to download below.

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  • Caring for your cat - Cats can be independent souls and are great pets for people with busy lifestyles, but they still need to be looked after. Keep your cat happy and healthy by following this advice.

  • Welcome home - It’s time to help your cat or kitten settle into his new home! Following the advice here will help to ensure he soon becomes used to his new surrounding.

  • Moving house - Moving house can be a big deal for cats – much of their feeling of security and ability to relax comes from being surrounded by the familiar sights, sounds and scents of their own territory.

  • Feeding and obesity - Pop into your local pet shop or supermarket and you will be faced with a whole aisle full of cat food. So, how do you know which one to feed to your cat?

  • Keeping your cat safe - Cats are naturally inquisitive animals and while most will enjoy happy lives free from danger, their curiosity can get them into scrapes from time to time. As a responsible owner, you’ll want to do all you can to protect against unfortunate incidents.

  • Neutering - Cats Protection believes that having your cat neutered is an essential part of responsible cat ownership.

  • When to let go - The average life expectancy of a cat is around 14 years but many cats live well beyond this age. As a pet owner, it is important that you are able to assess your cat’s quality of life in order to prevent suffering as he gets older, or if he becomes ill.

  • Microchipping - Microchipping offers cats a safe and permanent method of identification and increases the chances of a lost cat being safely reunited with his owner.

  • Understanding your cat's behaviour - By understanding the behaviour the cat has developed to enable it to thrive in a changing world, we can learn how to best provide for our cats, meet their needs, maximise their welfare and ensure long-lasting friendships for happy cats and owners.

  • Managing your cat's behaviour - There are some things your cat will do which are just instinctive. Before taking on a cat you should be sure that you are happy to live with these behavioural habits.

  • Cats living together - If you already have cats that live together, or are thinking of getting two cats or more, there are some important things to consider about their social nature.

  • Indoor and outdoor cats - Just like people, cats are all individuals. Some cats love going outside, some barely put a paw through the cat flap and others can’t go out at all, so wherever your cat spends his time, make sure he’s safe and happy.

  • Cats and the law - Much of the law in relation to animals has now been consolidated in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and in the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. This leaflet also refers to other legislation which remains relevant.

  • Cats and people - If you already share your life with a cat, you’re probably aware that you get far more than just companionship and affection in return, but did you know that owning a cat has proven health and social benefits.

  • Caring for your kitten - Kittens are adorable, fun and unique, but it is important to remember that providing a home for a kitten is a commitment for its lifetime, which may be 15 to 20 years. Before you take on a new kitten, there are a few things to consider.

  • Elderly cats - As your cat enters his golden years, he’ll need some extra understanding for his changing lifestyle. Cats are generally considered geriatric from around 12 years of age and there are lots of simple steps you can take to ensure the later years of your cat’s life are comfortable and happy.

  • Feral cats - The term feral describes members of a domesticated species that have reverted to living as wild animals. Feral cats have had little or no contact with humans. They can never be tamed and this should never be attempted because they are very fearful of people and it would seriously compromise their welfare.

  • Pregnant cats, birth and the care of young kittens -Cats Protection (CP) recommends neutering as the only effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the UK. Cats are prolific breeders and their offspring need to be speedily neutered or the population will quickly get out of control.

Veterinary Guides

From dealing with fleas to caring for deaf and blind cats, the Veterinary Guides series answers all the important questions regarding the wellbeing of your feline companion.

Written by Cats Protection's team of vets, this set of guides provides the information that will help put your mind at ease.

The full range of leaflets is available to download below.

You will need Adobe Reader in order to view these PDFs.

  • Arthritis - The term ‘arthritis’ means inflammation of the joint; many animals suffer from it and cats are no exception.

  • Feline Lower Urinay Tract Disease (FLUTD) - FLUTD describes a collection of common conditions that affect the bladder and/or urethra. It includes the condition more commonly known as cystitis and does not usually involve the kidneys.

  • Diabetes Mellitus - Diabetes mellitus affects the control of blood sugar levels and usually occurs in middle-aged and older cats, particularly those that are overweight. There may be some genetic predisposition to the condition.

  • Skin Disorders - Like many mammals, cats are susceptible to a range of skin disorders, which may affect areas with specialised skin, such as the outer ear canal, the pads and the claws, as well as the skin covering the rest of the body.

  • Feline Parovirus (FPV) - Feline parvovirus is a virus that can cause severe disease in cats – particularly kittens. It can be fatal. As well as feline parvovirus (FPV), the disease is also known as feline infectious enteritis (FIE) and feline panleucopenia.

  • Kidney or renal disease - The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products out of the blood to form urine. Disease of the kidneys is one of the most common problems affecting middle-aged and older cats.

  • Cats with disabilities - Some cats are born with a disability, whereas others result from accidents, disease or the degenerative effects of old age.Cats are generally very good at adapting their lifestyle to cope with a disability, allowing them to still enjoy a good quality of life.

  • Hypertension - In cats, high blood pressure (known as hypertension) usually occurs as a result of another underlying disease, such as kidney disease, heart disease or hyperthyroidism. It can also occur as the primary problem.

  • Feline Immondeficiency Virus (FIV) - FIV is a virus in cats that is similar to the human virus, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). However, FIV does not infect humans and HIV does not infect cats.

  • Feline Coronavirus (FCoV) and Feline Infectious Peritontius (FIP) - FCoV is a common and contagious virus, passed in the faeces of cats. It is more commonly found in multi-cat households and does not affect other animals or people.

  • Heart murmur - The he is a muscle that pumps blood around the body, providing it with oxygen and nutrients. The normal pumping and shutting of valves in the heart causes the ‘lub-dub’ heart sounds that a vet listens for with a stethoscope.

  • Hyperthyroidism - The thyroid is made up of two glands located on either side of the windpipe at the base of your cat’s neck. These glands produce thyroxine, a hormone which helps to regulate his metabolic rate.

  • Feline asthma - Disease affecting the upper respiratory tract in cats is commonly known as ‘cat flu’ and can be due to a number of infectious agents. Asthma, however, is a disease that affects the lower respiratory tract or small airways within the lungs.

  • Teeth and oral health - Cats commonly suffer with disorders of the teeth, the jaw and the soft tissues of the mouth. Owners may not notice their cat is in pain because they hide signs of discomfort so well and may continue eating and drinking normally.

  • Fleas and other parasites - A parasite is an organism that lives and feeds on another to the detriment of the host. Both outdoor and indoor cats are at risk from infection.

  • Cat Flu - Cat flu is a common illness that affects the upper respiratory tract of cats. It can be caused by a number of infectious agents, including viruses and bacteria and can be life threatening.

  • Your vet - Even healthy cats require regular visits to a veterinary practice.

  • Cats and pregnant women - Toxoplasmosis - Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T gondii). As it is a disease that can affect unborn babies, many pregnant women are understandably concerned. However, recent studies have shown that – contrary to some misguided beliefs – while cats are involved in part of the parasite’s life cycle, human contact with cats does not increase the risk of infection with the parasite. Click here for further information and a helpful video.