Owners are responsible for the health and welfare of their cat(s) and must provide both the basic necessities and good quality of life for their cat(s).
Choose a cat breed most suitable to your lifestyle and circumstances. When selecting a new cat you should consider:
*activity level of a cat (some breeds are more active than others);
*grooming requirements (long compared to short hair);
*breed temperament (eg Siamese are highly vocal);
*degree of human socialization (eg. wild-born kittens generally do not make good pets);
*cost of care and feeding.
Good cat welfare depends on owner competency. Owners need to understand and provide appropriate care, handling, and management requirements of their cat.
*Cats must be fed at least once a day. However, it is recommended that cats are fed twice daily (to avoid overfeeding divide the daily feed into two smaller meals) as their feeding habits are more for small frequent meals rather than one large meal. As a general guide, a moderately active cat requires around 70 Kcal x body weight (kg) of food a day.
*Cats must be fed a diet that provides proper and sufficient food to maintain good health and meet their physiological needs.
*Cats are carnivores and must not be fed a purely vegetarian diet. Diets composed entirely of vegetable matter are not nutritionally adequate for cats, even if such diets are sufficiently palatable to be readily eaten.
Nor should cats be fed a diet solely of fresh meat (including fish), as the required minerals and other nutrients will not be provided.).
*A balanced diet is important as cats have specific nutrient requirements and sensitivities; e.g. excessive feeding of the liver will cause Vitamin A toxicity problems. If not feeding commercial cat food to your cat, seek veterinary advice to ensure a properly balanced diet is being provided for your cat.
*Cats must not be fed dog food as it lacks nutrients that cats require.
* Kittens have special feeding requirements and require more food (per kilogram of body weight) because in addition to requiring energy for maintenance and activity they need extra nutrients for growth. A number of small meals need to be provided daily as their daily requirement of food is greater than their stomach can accept in one feed. Ideally kittens up to 12 weeks of age should be fed 3-4 meals a day, from 12 weeks to 6 months 2-3 meals a day and from 6 months 1-2 meals a day. Kittens should be fed on commercial kitten food or a balanced diet specially formulated and discussed with a veterinarian to ensure all nutrient requirements are being met. Poor nutrition during this growth stage can create health/skeletal problems in later life.
*Cats and especially kittens can be lactose intolerant so feeding cow's milk is not recommended. If giving milk to a cat it should be lactose-free milk designed for cats.
*Cats need to be fed a well-balanced diet to maintain health, vitality and body weight in the correct range for their breed and age. Regularly monitor a cat's body condition to ensure its diet is adequate. Cats have different nutritional requirements depending on their stage of life, amount of exercise and physiological needs, e.g. during growth (kittens), pregnancy, lactation (kittens suckling), old age and cold weather. They may require food of differing nutritional value rather than just a greater or lesser volume. As a guide, the feeding instructions on the can or pack can be followed.
*A separate food bowl needs to be provided for each cat and should be maintained in a clean condition.
*Cats must have access to clean drinking water at all times.
Water containers must be checked daily and maintained in a clean condition.
*Water should be provided in a container that is not easily tipped over. The container should be large enough or refilled often enough to provide access to water twenty-four (24) hours a day.
*If kittens are present, the container should not be so large or deep that they can fall in and drown.