This paper is the result of an international initiative and is a first attempt to develop guidelines for the care and welfare of cephalopods (i.e. nautilus, cuttlefish, squid and octopus) following the inclusion of this Class of ∼700 known living invertebrate species in Directive 2010/63/EU. It aims to provide information for investigators, animal care committees, facility managers and animal care staff which will assist in improving both the care given to cephalopods, and the manner in which experimental procedures are carried out. Topics covered include: implications of the Directive for cephalopod research; project application requirements and the authorisation process; the application of the 3Rs principles; the need for harm-benefit assessment and severity classification. Guidelines and species-specific requirements are provided on: i. supply, capture and transport; ii. environmental characteristics and design of facilities (e.g. water quality control, lighting requirements, vibration/noise sensitivity); iii. accommodation and care (including tank design), animal handling, feeding and environmental enrichment; iv. assessment of health and welfare (e.g. monitoring biomarkers, physical and behavioural signs); v. approaches to severity assessment; vi. disease (causes, prevention and treatment); vii. scientific procedures, general anaesthesia and analgesia, methods of humane killing and confirmation of death. Sections covering risk assessment for operators and education and training requirements for carers, researchers and veterinarians are also included. Detailed aspects of care and welfare requirements for the main laboratory species currently used are summarised in Appendices. Knowledge gaps are highlighted to prompt research to enhance the evidence base for future revision of these guidelines.