Practical feline behaviour understanding cat behaviour and improving welfare

(Axel Boer) #1
132 Chapter 9

creatures who need sufficient space to run and climb. They also require areas to rest
and places to hide if feeling threatened. So, as well as plenty of floor space, they also
require access to vertical space, e.g. the tops of furniture, shelves, indoor cat trees, etc.
(see Appendix 1).
Space is also required for food, water and litter trays, all of which need to be
positioned well apart from each other. If there is more than one cat in the household,
multiple separate feeding and water areas may be required, and because some cats
prefer one area for urination and a separate area for defecation, even a single cat may
require at least two litter trays positioned in separate locations. If there is more than
one cat in the house the recommended number of litter trays to provide is one per cat
plus one extra.

As a pet that requires little financial input

A non-pedigree cat or kitten might be acquired at little or sometimes no cost, but the
care of a cat, regardless of its breeding can be expensive.
A potential cat owner should consider whether they are able not only to cover
the cost of food, routine veterinary care, and other everyday costs such as cat litter,
cat carrier, toys and so on, but also if they can cover the cost of cattery fees and unex-
pected veterinary fees for illness or injury. If not able to cover large unexpected bills,
can you afford to pay for annual pet health insurance?

As a gift

No animal should be given as gift unless the recipient is able to make their own choice
and is fully aware of and prepared for the responsibility that caring for the animal
entails. Even children given the gift of a pet animal by a parent or guardian should be
made aware of how much they are expected to contribute to the pet’s care and wel-
fare, although in the UK legal responsibility for the care of a pet animal rests with the
parents or guardians until the child is 16 years old. This age of legal responsibility
varies in different countries according to local jurisdictions.

Box 9.1. Health benefits of pet ownership.
●●Increased relaxation.
●●Reduced anxiety.
●●Reduced stress.
●●Lowered blood pressure and heart rate.
●●Increased survival and increased longevity following a heart attack.
(Friedmann and Thomas 1995; Bernstein 2007; Dinis and Martins, 2016; Kanat-
Maymon et al., 2016.)
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