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Cat census highlights mystery of Britain’s felines

The first census of cat ownership in the UK has revealed some interesting facts about the nation’s domesticated cats.

Commissioned as part of Chronic Cat Pain Awareness Month, the census shows that almost one quarter of cat owners (24 per cent) are unaware of their cat’s age.

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Furthermore, the census showed that 22 per cent of owners do not know whether they own a pedigree cat or moggie.

More worryingly, the census showed that more than half of the owners participating (59 per cent) do not take their cat to the vet for regular checks and that 82 per cent have not given thought to taking their pet for an old-age check-up.

28 per cent of cats are classed as mature and older, while 30 per cent of owners admitted their cat could be classed as obese. Despite both these factors putting cats at risk of developing conditions such as arthritis, three-quarters of those surveyed stated that they were unable to recognise the symptoms of chronic pain in their cat.

Despite being unable to spot the clinical signs of chronic pain in their pets, 65 per cent describe their cat as a much loved family member and 20 per cent consider them as precious as a child.

CEO of the charity Feline Advisory Bureau (FABcats) and author Clair Bessant remarked: “Many cats are not necessarily acquired as kittens, or from known backgrounds, so knowing when they were born, or even the specific breed, can be difficult!

“Although many cat owners do not know the exact age of their cat, most will have some idea of when the cat is beginning to age. Just like humans, cats’ behaviour and healthcare requirements can change dramatically as they get older. It is important that owners take their cat for regular check-ups, ideally at least once a year, particularly if they are unsure of their age or health.

“It is important for owners to be aware of the signs of chronic pain in cats. The main signs include a change in temperament, such as becoming withdrawn, reduced grooming and reduced activity. If owners are concerned that their cat might be in pain, then they should always consult their vet.”

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