Cat Friendly Principles launched at Church House event - Veterinary Practice
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Cat Friendly Principles launched at Church House event

International Cat Care has launched their new Cat Friendly Principles at the Being Cat Friendly event at Church House, London

After facing a challenging few years working amidst the global pandemic, the International Cat Care team were back in person to celebrate the charity’s recent achievements and announce the launch of their new Cat Friendly Principles.

The “Being Cat Friendly” event held on 29 April at Church House, London, also marked the 10th anniversary of their worldwide Cat Friendly Clinic programme and included a ceremony for recipients of the Cat Friendly Clinic Awards. In attendance was the charity’s Patron Lord Black, alongside past and recent trustees, supporters and friends of the pioneering cat charity. A live stream of the event was also available to allow guests from around the world to attend virtually.

CEO Claire Bessant unveiled the new Cat Friendly Principles which outline how the charity will continue to consider cats and work together with the people involved in their care.

  1. Respect cats. Respect the diversity of the species and understand the individual cat
  2. Keep cats well. Giving equal consideration to the physical health and mental well-being of cats
  3. Do cats no harm. Ensure cats are no worse off as a result of people or their activities
  4. Be solution-driven. Find evidence-based, pragmatic and sustainable solutions for cats
  5. Communicate for cats. Communicate considerately and share knowledge generously for the sake of cats
  6. Collaborate for cats. Work together, locally, internationally and with people from different backgrounds, always supporting and valuing each other
  7. Evolve for cats. Be innovative, remain curious and keep learning for cats

On creating the new principles, Claire said: “We have always been a difficult charity to put neatly in a box with a short snappy sentence to explain about our work in the veterinary sector, with owners and caregivers, and those working with unowned cats on such a wide variety of subjects. Over the past two years, we took the time to articulate what it is we have instinctively done over the years in our approach to cats. 

The Cat Friendly Principles will guide us in what we do, and we hope that others will sign up to them and they will aid the navigation the tricky cat dilemmas which face us all everyday…”

Illustrating the principles in practice, was another exciting announcement of a new research article published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS). The article “Online survey of owners’ experiences of medicating their cats at home” provides valuable insight into the challenges experienced by cat owners and explores practical solutions for veterinary professionals looking to improve the way they prescribe medications to cats. 

One of the research team, Dr Sam Taylor, said: “The vast majority of owners found medicating cats orally difficult, and encountered various problems when trying to give medications, including, worryingly, nearly 80 percent of owners reporting their cats tried to bite or scratch them. Difficulty medicating cats has wide-reaching implications in terms of antibiotic resistance, preventative healthcare, and recovery from illness, as well as damage to the cat and owner bond.”

The full article can be accessed free online.

To mark the 10-year anniversary of the Cat Friendly Clinic programme, a competition was held to showcase the incredible accomplishments achieved by accredited clinics around the world. The winners of the Cat Friendly Clinic Competition were presented by Dr Sarah Endersby on behalf of Ceva, the competition’s sponsor:

The winner of the physical category, for changes to their clinic, was Orchid Vets for their separate cat friendly level in the clinic. Niki Pullen, RVN, ISFM AdvCertFB, who submitted Orchid’s entry said: “Winning shows us it was worth it… but even if we hadn’t won the evidence it was worth it shows in our clients and our patients…

“Since we have implemented these changes the (previously protective) cats are letting us examine them… those practices thinking about becoming cat friendly but (think) it’s a lot of effort, no, it is so worth it.”

The winner for the procedural change category was DAP De Witte Raff for their use of the lick matt as a distraction technique. The team at DAP De Witte Raaf said: “Winning the competition is the icing on the cake for our efforts to make our clinic as stress free as possible for our feline friends. It’s the ideal incentive to keep searching for ways to improve our cat friendly approach!” 

International Cat Care would like to congratulate the winners of the 2022 Cat Friendly Clinic competition who have both won two tickets to an ISFM congress. The winner and finalist videos can be viewed on the Cat Friendly Clinic website.

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