U.K. Issues Guidelines for Cat Owners

Proposed animal welfare regulations stress responsibility.

Posted Nov. 12, 2008, 3 a.m. EST

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In an attempt to curb animal cruelty in the United Kingdom, the government recently unveiled a proposed code of practice for the welfare of felines which reads like an owner’s manual for cat parents.

The Consultation Code of Practice for the Welfare of Cats has been issued by the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as a 28-page resource for cat owners. Obligations for cat owners would include:

  • Providing identification such as a microchip or a collar.
  • Having at least one litterbox per cat in different parts of the home.
  • Ensuring your cat has places to climb.
  •  Controlling their diet so they aren’t too fat or too thin.
  • Supplying a suitable scratching post.
  • Supplying toys and playing with them.
  • Protecting your pet from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

The guidelines are set to be published on the DEFRA website and in leaflets to help pet owners understand their responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The regulations are also meant to stress the importance of knowing how to provide proper care for cats.

According to the proposal, a person who fails to comply with the provisions will not be liable for proceedings of any kind. However, those who don’t comply may be fined.

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Reader Comments

Carol    Las Vegas, NV

11/12/2008 3:32:30 PM

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who have cats who actually know nothing about them. They don't know what to feed them. They automatically put them outdoors at night no matter what. And they don't realize that cats can learn tricks,like "fetch". That they will come when you call their name and that they need a lot of affection. I think the UK "laws" are a great idea but I don't know how many people will follow them and how on earth will they be enforced?

Cathy    Hubbard, OH

11/12/2008 5:43:59 AM

I think this goes a little to far and I wonder how they are going to enforce this book????? You are always going to have irresponsible pet owners. Hopefully, this will be a means of prosecuting them.

Gina    Rochester, NY

11/12/2008 5:25:26 AM


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