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One in five kitten owners feel overwhelmed and confused by mixed pet care information

  • Over a third (37%) of city based kitten owners got their pet in the last 18 months, and for 65% this was their first kitten
  • Over a quarter (28%) of new kitten owners are seeking advice on how to best set up their homes to meet their kitten’s needs
  • One in five (20%) kitten and cat owners admit to not being fully aware of their pet’s needs, leaving 21% wishing there was more accessible kitten specific information available
  • Royal Canin has teamed up with interior designer Whinnie Williams and International Cat Care’s cat behaviour expert, Dr Sarah Ellis, to design ‘The Kitten Dreamhouse’, the ultimate indoor set up for kittens and cats
  • In response to the findings, leading science based pet food brand Royal Canin has continued its work on its ‘One in a Billion’ platform which provides new kitten owners with a single, credible source of information that recognises the unique needs of each kitten
According to new research revealed by science backed pet nutrition brand Royal Canin, new urban kitten owners are on the rise, as 65% of these owners got their first kitten in the last 18 months. With 11 million* cat owners in the UK, over a quarter (28%) are seeking advice on how best to set up their homes to improve their kitten’s happiness (35%) and enrich their life (29%).

The research also revealed that one in five (19%) new kitten owners feel overwhelmed or confused by conflicting information surrounding pet care.  Despite nutrition being a key part of a kitten’s development, 44% of owners were not aware that new kittens needed kitten specific food and a huge 49% didn’t realise their cats should not go outside before being neutered.

Other common cat and kitten misconceptions across the nation include:

  • 81% didn’t know that kittens and cats need multiple feeding zones
  • 69% didn’t know kittens and cats need places to rub their faces
  • 55% didn’t know that kitten food has adapted nutrient levels that differs from adult cat food

Further confusion includes 70% not being aware that placing their kitten’s bowl far away from their litter tray improves their feeding experience. One in five (20%) feline owners also admitted they have metal or reflective feeding bowls for their pets, which is something cats fiercely dislike.

In response to the findings, Royal Canin has teamed up with British interior designer and TV presenter, Whinnie Williams to create ‘The Kitten Dreamhouse’, the ultimate indoor kitten set up to help kittens thrive and support current or future kitten owners.

To ensure the design provides for a kitten’s unique enrichment and nutritional needs, the brand has also joined forces with International Cat Care’s renowned cat expert, Dr Sarah Ellis, to consult on each element. Whether it’s the right level of stimulation, the positioning of the feeding area or the colours and textures used, Sarah has shined a light on how best to support your kitten and cats’ needs when in an indoor environment.

For kitten owners who want to ensure their own home set up is suited for a kitten’s nutrition and enrichment needs, Dr Sarah Ellis has provided tips for optimising the available space:

  1. Kitten-friendly feeding: Your kitten has unique nutritional needs, so create a dedicated feeding area free from distractions and away from their litter tray and sleeping area. Remember that during their intense growth spurt until 12 months, kittens require specific kitten food containing tailored nutrients such as essential amino acids, calcium, and phosphorus to fuel their development. And don’t be surprised if they pick at their food throughout the day, kittens, and cats like small but regular meals! Mixed feeding with wet and dry food can also help ensure your kitten gets more hydration and a variety of textures to keep it interesting.  Refrigerate any opened wet food, but cats and kittens also prefer wet food served at room temperature, rather than fridge cold.
  2. Choose purr-fect feeding and drinking vessels: Wide, shallow bowls made from ceramic, while minimising any pesky reflections, which may scare them.  Avoid reflective metal and plastic bowls, plastic can absorb and interfere with smells.  Ensure your bowls have ample space for whiskers and are easy to clean, as leaving old food remnants is a common reason kittens can go off their food.
  3. Comfort zones: Treat your feline friend to deep, comfortable bedding that is soft and warm, with raised edges or ‘lips’ which makes them feel like they’re nestled in a cloud of comfort and security.
  4. Prime potty spots: Help your kitten maintain their dignity by placing litter trays in secluded spots, far from their dining areas. Choose clumping, unscented litter for easy clean-up and ultimate freshness.
  5. Harmony in multi-cat homes: Foster a harmonious environment by providing plenty of resources for each cat. Set up multiple feeding and water stations (kittens like to dine in private), multiple scratching areas and litter trays in lots of different locations.  Ensure there are plenty of safe havens where each cat can claim their own space and feel right at home.

The one thing kitten and cat owners are sure of is the love they have for their pets, as 45% say their cat is their best friend. A further third (30%) admitted to spending more time attending to their kitten or cat's needs than their own and even spending more money on them (23%).

Dr Sarah Ellis, International Cat Care’s cat expert commented:

"The Kitten Dreamhouse is designed to meet many of a kitten’s species-specific needs for feeding, drinking, resting, exploration and play - it is important for owners to understand kittens have unique needs and require kitten specific food. From strategically positioned feeders that allow predatory behaviour, to features that allow them to deposit pheromones and scent, each element helps support both kittens and kitten owners. It has been fantastic working with Whinnie and Royal Canin to bring the science to life in such a stylish way.”

Interior designer and founder of Poodle and Blonde, Whinnie Williams, commented:

“Being a cat owner myself, this was my dream brief!  I had lots of fun putting this together with Royal Canin, it’s great to see they are so invested in making sure cats have the right environment to thrive. I am particularly proud of the feeding area, which is both functional and stylish. “In the three years I have had Jimmy, I can vouch for the sheer amount of information out there for your pet.  It can be quite overwhelming for kitten owners, and a lot of it is not entirely true. It’s great to know that we have designed something where kittens can thrive, especially during those first few months of their lives when they aren’t able to go outside until they are neutered.”

In response to the research and findings, leading pet food brand Royal Canin has continued to build its One in a Billion platform, which is designed to offer kitten owners a single source of accessible, expert advice to cut through the avalanche of information available online.

Dr. Lauren Hayes, MRCVS, a veterinarian at Royal Canin, said:

“Following last year’s launch of One in a Billion for puppy owners, we knew that we needed to further our research into kitten owners and really understand the issues they are facing...

With more people introducing kittens into their lives and homes, it’s important that owners not only understand how essential nutrition is, but also their surroundings and the equipment available to them. As owners often find information conflicting, we hope that our One in a Billion platform can alleviate this stress and provide a one stop shop for all kitten owner’s needs...

Our research has shown that more than one in two kitten owners are not feeding their pet a kitten specific diet designed to support growth, which they need until they are 12 months old. Think of them like children in an adult’s body: even if they look fully grown, things like their digestive tract, cognitive and immune functions are developing incredibly quickly, and so they continue to need a diet optimised for growth. Once neutered, feed a neutered specific kitten diet to help prevent unnecessary weight gain.”

For clear, simple, expert advice on raising your kitten, visit the One in a Billion hub at One In A Billion Kitten


For all press enquiries please contact: [email protected]


Consumer research

Consumer research conducted with 3Gem, across 1,000 UK kitten and cat owners who had their pet since it was a kitten, between 10th and 14th May 2024.


*PDSA animal wellbeing report 2023



Insight from Dr Sarah Ellis regarding the design of The Kitten Dreamhouse:


1. Safe spaces: Secluded heated cushioned dens positioned in elevated locations give the kittens quiet cosy opportunities to rest and sleep. A chill-out canopy offers kittens the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by. Multiple levels offer vantage points and increase perceived safety.


2. Depositing pheromones and scents: Hessian walls allow kittens to stretch out to full height for optimal scratching. Soft protruding brushes provide ample opportunity for facial rubbing. Both features allow kittens to deposit their pheromones and individual scents, which help them to feel this is their territory and they are safe and secure in their surroundings. 


3. Feeding and drinking stations: Feeding and drinking areas are close enough to each other to encourage drinking after eating, but far enough away to prevent the risk of contaminating the water with food. Shallow ceramic feeding bowls avoid any scary reflections while eating, prevent sensitive whiskers being stressed by touching the edges of the bowl and allow for thorough cleaning to keep feeding an enjoyable sensory experience. The bespoke water fountain, simulates running water, indicating to kittens the water is fresh - which is why so many love drinking from the tap!


4. Allowing predatory behaviour during feeding: Puzzle feeders are integrated throughout the design and layout to encourage kittens to ‘hunt’ for their food, as their ancestors would have done in the wild. This encourages them to use their brains and bodies, keeping them physically and mentally fit.


5. Multiple opportunities for play and exploration: Varied structures, such as dual entry hiding holes, a climbable wall, staircases, toys and cat grass encourage exploration and play – enriching the kitten’s day.


Common kitten misconceptions

1.    81% did not know that kittens and cats need multiple and hidden feeding zones

2.   69% did not know that kittens and cats need places to rub their faces

3.   55% didn’t know that kitten food has adapted nutrient levels that differs from adult cat food

4.   49% did not know that kittens and cats should not go outside until they have been neutered

5.   44% were not aware kittens needed kitten specific food

6.   30% believe litter trays should be placed near a kitten’s sleeping area

7.   24% think one kitten or cat only needs one litter tray

8.   20% believe littler trays should be placed by the feeding area

9.   12% think kittens and cats like plastic feeding bowls

10.  11% think kittens and cats like sharing food bowls with other cats


Common incorrect indoor kitten set ups

1.    50% do not have more than one litter tray per cat

2.   49% do not have at least two safe / hiding spaces for their kitten or cat

3.   41% have plastic feeding bowls

4.   36% have a kitten or cat dedicated space with all their feeding bowls and litter trays in one area

5.   33% have scented candles, air fresheners, oil burners and / or reed diffusers in at least one room

6.   23% have feeding bowls that attach their water and food together

7.   20% have reflective or metal feedback bowls

8.   18% have cat printed beds or blankets

9.   16% Have double or twin feeding bowls for multiple cats to feed together

10.  16% have scented litter

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