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Caring for cats and kittens

Cats make affectionate and playful pets, but it's important to have a good understanding of their needs before you welcome one into your home.

On this page, we'll take you through some top cat facts to help you get to know these amazing animals, and point you in the direction of our expert advice on how to keep your kitten or cat happy and healthy.

Cat fact file

No two cats are the same, but understanding their biology and behaviour can help you to understand your pet better. Here are our top ten cat facts!

  1. Cats have highly developed senses - they can detect higher frequencies of sound than dogs or humans, and have an excellent sense of smell - better than ours! They can see better than us in dark and dim light.
  2. Cats are expert hunters and hunt alone. In the wild, they'll spend 6-8 hours a day hunting. They can hear the high-pitched frequencies used by small rodents and their whiskers (or 'vibrissae') are highly sensitive to vibrations, helping them to detect prey.
  3. Cats are agile - they have powerful, tightly controlled muscles and fast reflexes that allow them to move quickly and gracefully. They are skilled at running, jumping, climbing and stealthily stalking prey.
  4. Cats have a range of ways to communicate - including purrs, 'meows', trills, chirrups, growls, yowls, and hisses. They also communicate visually using different body postures, as well as visual markers such as scratch marks or the deposition of faeces.
  5. Cats are independent - survival is a solitary affair for cats, and they're self-reliant for food, shelter, grooming and territory defence. They can be social, but prefer to choose their own companions.
  6. Cats are territorial - a cat's territory is an area it defends, aggressively if required, against other cats. They use a range of methods to mark their territory, including scratching, spraying urine and depositing faeces. Help keep your cat safe outside.
  7. Cats are meat eaters - meat is an important part of a cat's diet, and they can't survive without the nutrients found in animal-based food.
  8. Cats love cat naps - domestic cats sleep for 12-18 hours a day! Sleep allows them to restore their energy resources, so it's vital for a predator that needs to be ready to hunt whenever it detects prey.
  9. Cats are playful - they're intelligent and need both mental and physical stimulation. Play is important, as it improves motor skills, provides brain training and encourages social behaviour. Keep your cats entertained with fun toys.
  10. Cats are clean animals - tiny abrasive hooks, found on the centre of cats' tongues, helps them to groom themselves. Grooming keeps a cat's coat in good condition and also helps to remove fleas and other parasites. Read more about keeping cats healthy.

Cat care tips and advice

If you're thinking of getting a cat, remember that they'll need space to be active and have regular interaction with people and other animals (cats don't really like to be left alone for long periods during the day).

They will also need access to clean water, meat-based cat food and regular grooming, as well as private access to a litter tray, which should ideally be replaced once a week.

We have lots of advice for cat owners, including tips on understanding cat behaviour, when and why to neuter and specific advice on how to look after a kitten during those first few weeks and months. Take a look around to learn more...

Pet cost calculator

Compare cat and dog breeds to help you decide which pet is right for you and your budget.

Adopt a cat or kitten from us

We have lots of cats and kittens in need of a loving new home, so why not adopt a kitten or cat from us? And if you've ever wondered what it's like to be a cat in a rehoming pod, here's your chance to experience a 360-degree view with some inquisitive kittens!

Don't forget to move the camera around for the full experience!