Cats are very popular pet animals; there are approximately eight million cats kept in the UK .
There are different breeds and varieties of cat, varying in size, body shape and temperament. The majority of cats owned in the UK are non-pedigrees.
Typically, cats live for fourteen years, but many live for much longer.
Understanding cats' needs
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. Being aware of how wild cats live can help you understand your pet cat’s needs better, so why not check out our Cat Factfile to learn more.
Your duty to care
Owning and caring for a cat is great fun and very rewarding, but it is also a big responsibility and a long-term commitment in terms of care and finances. If you own or are responsible for a cat, even on a temporary basis, you are required by law to care for it properly.
Read more about the Animal Welfare Act and your duty of care to your animals.
The five welfare needs
There is no one 'perfect' way to care for all cats because every cat and every situation is different. Cats are now increasingly kept as indoor-only pets, whilst many are given access outside or even live outside permanently. It is up to you how you look after your cat, but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that you meet all its needs.
Read our expert reviewed pet care information to find out more about the needs of cats: Environment, Diet, Behaviour, Company and Health and welfare.
You'll find lots more detailed advice under these main webpages, so do take a look around our cat section for top tips on keeping your cat happy and healthy.
You can also download our booklet: How to take care of your cat (pdf 1.95MB).
 Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) pet statistics 2012. PFMA provide statistics on the UK pet population and pet food market.