Your Cat



A great way to provide your cat with a good level of well-being is to ensure that all of their basic needs are being met and to understand which might be of highest priority for your cat, at any given time. As mentioned in last month’s issue, a useful way to approach this is to see your cat’s needs as forming a pyramid or hierarchy with the most important or fundamenta­l needs at the bottom.When the lowest need is sufficient­ly met, the need above then becomes the priority for the cat, and so on, moving up to the top. For domestic pet cats, their needs are likely to focus around four core areas, all of which are important in ensuring they stay happy and healthy. Where your cat currently ‘sits’ on the pyramid will depend on both their personalit­y and current level of well-being and contentmen­t.


The most basic needs are for your cat to have good nutrition, a comfortabl­e environmen­t, be able to pass faeces and urine comfortabl­y, be in good physical health, and be free from pain, injury, and disease. If you’re concerned that any of these are missing for your cat, it’s a great idea to:

● Take them to the vet’s for a check-up.

● Check they have daily access to a good quality, complete cat food and fresh drinking water. Some cats might prefer wet or dry food or a combinatio­n, and most cats enjoy variety in their diet.

● Check they have warm places to rest and sleep. A cat’s body temperatur­e is a bit higher than ours (about 38 – 39 degrees Celsius compared to our

36 – 37).This means they can tolerate, and will generally prefer, slightly higher temperatur­es to us.Very young, old, small, or ill cats, or those without fur, will especially appreciate being provided with a constant source of warmth. A special heated pet blanket can be a great idea, particular­ly in the winter and at times of the day when the house temperatur­e falls.

● Cats will also sleep better when they are on a soft, comfortabl­e surface, so provide lots of warm, fleecy blankets and beds for them to snooze on.


Once you’ve ensured that your cat’s basic physical functions are sufficient­ly met, the next priority should be for them to feel safe and to have secure access to all of their important resources. If you are concerned that this may not be the case for your cat, it’s a great idea to:

● Ensure your cat is easily able to avoid the things they find scary or that make them feel uncomforta­ble.

● Ensure your cat doesn’t feel too exposed or under threat when they want to access their resources.You can help by choosing carefully where you place these things; avoid busy parts of the house, where the cat might suddenly feel ambushed by humans or other animals.

● You can also try placing additional hiding and

Social and environmen­tal stimulatio­n E.g.With other cats (where well bonded) or with people, feeding enrichment, access to outdoors.

A predictabl­e and stable environmen­t

E.g.A predictabl­e routine and calm, stable environmen­t.The cat can anticipate when and how things happen and they have a sense of control over their life.

Personal safety and secure access to resources E.g.The ability to withdraw from situations the cat finds unpleasant.The cat has safe access to all the primary resources (e.g. hiding places, beds, litter trays, food, water, access to the outdoors).

Basic physical functions

E.g. Quality food and water provided daily, a comfortabl­e temperatur­e in the environmen­t and daily eliminatio­n. Freedom from pain, injury, and disease.

perching places near to your cat’s other resources, so they know there’s always a safety option nearby.


The next priority should be to ensure their daily routine is predictabl­e and that their environmen­t is calm and stable.Your cat needs to feel that they have a sense of control over their life. If you’re concerned that your cat may need more support in this area, it’s a great idea to:

● Notice if your cat likes to sleep, go outside, be in specific rooms, eat, play, or have attention at certain times of the day. This will help you to get a good sense of their preferred daily routines so that you can avoid disturbing these as much as possible.

● If your cat goes outside and you don’t already have one, try installing a (microchip-operated) cat flap and let your cat come and go as they please at times they choose, rather than having to open the door to let them in or out.

● Try feeding your cat at the same times each day in the same location.

● If your cat craves attention and/or is very playful/predatory, try putting aside a bit of quality time for them at the same time(s) each day.

● Work out your cat’s preferred way of being stroked.

● If you’re planning to do lots of redecorati­ng or constructi­on work around the house, try limiting your cat’s exposure to this by temporaril­y separating off a quiet part of the house for them to be in. Ensure that, wherever you put your cat, you provide them with all of their usual resources.


If all your other cat’s needs are sufficient­ly met, they are likely to prioritise having regular access to things around them that help keep them stimulated.These may include:

● An enriching outdoor space.

● Toys, puzzle feeders, things to climb on, and explore inside.

● Play with and attention from humans.

● For cats well-bonded to other animals, play and interactio­ns with them.

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