Cat care guide

Cats & Kittens

Thinking about adopting a cat?

Cats & Kittens

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Cats & Kittens

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What to expect

Taking an adult cat into your home is both exciting and daunting. The first thing to remember is that the cat may need time to adjust, particularly if it has been living in a pen for some months. It’s important to let your new friend adapt to the space, smells and sounds and come to you in its own time and on its own terms.

Getting to know them

Keep the cat indoors for several weeks, until you are confident the cat knows that this is home. When you do let the cat out, make sure it is just before a meal time and call the cat to come home for food, thus training that your call means something good is waiting at home.

All cats have different personalities; therefore the process of getting to know one another varies, just as it does with people. This is a new family member you are introducing and it's a lifelong commitment, so be patient and allow the cat to gain confidence. Some can be very laid back, others take a long time. Cats generally love to be stroked and to sit next to you, but they do not always want to sit on top of you, and many feel very vulnerable when picked up. Respect your cat’s wishes and take your lead from the cat.

Building a relationship

In adopting a cat you have the ideal opportunity to develop a loving, responsive and rewarding relationship. This requires effort; literally, the more you give, the more you get back. Show the cat friendship, care, love and loyalty, give time and attention, and watch the results. Encourage cuddles but on the cat’s terms, Never force cuddles. Never, ever, shout at a cat, and be considerate with noises in the home. Never shut your cat out of the house.

Food and feeding

When you collect your cat from BARKS you will be told the regular feeding pattern and the type of food the cat is used to. Both can be changed gradually but, when you first get home, feed the same thing to avoid a sudden diet change causing a tummy upset. Make sure there's plenty of fresh water available at all times. Cats prefer to drink water away from their food dishes/trays.

Health & hygiene

When you adopt from BARKS you commit to keeping the cat vaccinated and treated for fleas and worms. This also involves an annual health check at vaccination booster time, which is a useful way of keeping a watch on your cat’s health.

It is essential to provide a litter tray at all times, even if the cat (once allowed out) prefers to go to the toilet outside. BARKS also strongly recommend that cats are shut in at night with a litter tray.
We recommend you consider insurance. Vet bills can be very expensive, and clearly it is your choice. However, if you choose not to insure, it's vital that you have ongoing access to funds to cover the bills. It is unacceptable to take on a cat without due preparation for health finance.

Safety tips

If you have children they need supervision when playing with the cat and should be encouraged to wait for the little chap to come to them and to keep play sessions short. Also be very careful and gradual in introducing the cat to other pets. Seek advice from your vet and from BARKS.

As they get around and explore more, it's sensible to regard your home as a place of potential hazards. Make sure all windows and outside doors are closed, nooks and crannies are blocked and any appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer) and toilets are kept firmly shut!

Outside, keep garden chemicals stored safely and think twice about using slug pellets or chemicals – many are toxic to animals.


Remember, a healthy cat can live for more than 20 years. This is a long-term commitment to a new family member.