The Animal Welfare Act (2006) was the first review of pet law in 94 years! Building upon The Protection of Animal’s Act 1911, it designed to prevent outright cruelty to animals as well as prevent actions that may cause cruelty in the future. The Animal Welfare Act combined more than 20 pieces of legislation into one, making it easier for authority’s to protect animals and prosecute those who intended harm.
So how does it affect cat ownership in the UK?
The Animal Welfare Act Section 9 enforces a duty of care on to all animals that are “commonly domesticated in the British Islands.” This duty of care means that the persons must fulfill the animals need, these needs are:
- its need for a suitable environment,
- its need for a suitable diet,
- its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,
- any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and
- its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
Normally pet owners are very conscious of animals' needs; we know what it is that our pets want, and they always have their own little ways of showing us too! We all know that our animals have the rights to shelter, food and water. We also try our hardest to protect our pets from suffering and pain.
One thing that is less at the forefront of our mind is letting our cats to exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
Here are our top tips :
- Although cats can sleep for up to 20 hours a day, when they are awake they need plenty of opportunities for exercise and play. This means plenty that we need to provide your cat with safe toys. Toys and towers with elevation and places to jump from are very effective.
- Buying a scratching post or just taping some cardboard to a wall for cats to pluck is also very important, it may also save some of your furniture too!
- Provide regular human contact and time to be by itself.
- Plenty of time to sleep, this should be somewhere warm and dark.
- Ensure your cat receives enough mental, physical and social stimulation.
- Moving food and bedding areas for the cats to find is a cheap and fun way to keep cats stimulated.
- It is now recommended that indoor cats should be given plenty of time outside so consider investing in a catio, cat enclosure or building a cat proof garden.