Make sure your cat is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Things you should do
- 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.
- Before deciding to buy/acquire a cat, make sure you find out what health and behaviour problems he/she has, or may be prone to, for instance as a result of his/her breed, how he/she has been bred and how he/she has been cared for. Always check with a vet if you are unsure about anything.
- Try to minimise stress in your cat’s daily life, by so doing you will decrease his/her risk of certain illnesses.
- 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 (ask your vet for advice), so he/she can be treated quickly if injured or returned to you if lost.
- Consider taking out pet insurance to ensure your cat is covered if he/she needs veterinary treatment.
- Cats feel pain and have similar pain thresholds to people.
- Individual cats show that they are in pain or suffering in different ways.
- A change in the way a cat normally behaves, or in his/her daily activity pattern, can be an early sign he/she is ill or in pain. Read more about cats' behaviour.
- Cats are vulnerable to a range of serious infectious diseases and other illnesses.
- Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of injury and early death of cats.
- Cats that are insecure or stressed may become unwell as a result.
- Un-neutered female cats can produce up to 18 kittens a year and are more likely to suffer uterus infections and cancers later in life.
- Un-neutered male cats are more likely to fight and to be lost or run over whilst roaming.
- Fighting increases the risk of injury and can spread diseases.
- Some breeds of cat have been selected for exaggerated physical features which can cause them to suffer and reduce their quality of life.
- Certain breeds are particularly prone to inherited disorders and diseases.
- A cat which can be easily identified (e.g. via a microchip) is more likely to be reunited with his/her owner and to receive prompt veterinary care if injured.