Ambassadors and Patrons
We are extremely fortunate to have the support of a number of individuals who share our beliefs and commitment to cats. We would like to thank the following people have become Ambassadors or Patrons for International Cat Care, helping us promote our work and spread feline information and knowledge further.
Liz Bonnin – ambassador
Liz Bonnin, Science and Wildlife Presenter
'As science continues to unravel the secret lives of cats, we can develop richer, more interesting relationships with our fascinating feline pets. International Cat Care is dedicated to providing cat owners with all the information they'll ever need to make sure their cats have the best quality of life possible, but they are also committed to improving the welfare of all cats everywhere. It's a great pleasure to be able to support such a hard working and passionate organisation.'
Liz had always been interested in biology and chemistry at school, and she went on to study Biochemistry at University. After graduating, she started a career as a TV presenter working on shows that included Top of the Pops, before returning to her first love, science, and completing a Masters in Wild Animal Biology and Conservation. Liz's main interests during her studies were animal behaviour and intelligence and big cat conservation. She set up and carried out a research project on the diet of tigers in Bardia National Park, Nepal, which saw her come first in her class.
Liz's TV career has drawn heavily on her academic expertise. In the latest series of Horizon, Liz presents new scientific research raising hard questions about the future of zoos, in Horizon: Should We Close Our Zoos. She has also been busy filming a brand new wildlife series about animal migrations called Nature’s Epic Journeys, which broadcast in May 2016. Liz also presented the hugely successful Big Blue Live series in Monterey, California. Other TV credits include wildlife and animal behaviour programmes Super Smart Animals, Animals in Love, Animals through the Night: Sleepover at the Zoo, Operation Snow Tiger and Animal Odd Couples; science series Horizon, Stargazing Live and Bang Goes the Theory; documentaries Egypt's Lost Cities, Museum of Life and Science Friction; and the popular Countrywise.
In addition to her TV work, Liz is a seasoned and engaging conference facilitator and awards host, and has MC'd various events, including most recently, the UK's National Science and Engineering Competition Awards and the Natural History Museum's prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards.
International Cat Care is delighted to have Liz on board as an ambassador for the charity.
Vicky Halls – ambassador
Vicky Halls, Cat Behaviour Counsellor and author
'I have been a keen supporter of iCatCare since the early 1990s (when the charity was the Feline Advisory Bureau). I was struck from the very beginning by how much amazing work could be done by so few people! The charity has gone from strength to strength and I am still there nearly 25 years later supporting them in any way I can. Everyone at iCatCare has enormous respect for the species and I hope that one day all cats throughout the world will benefit from the knowledge they are spreading with such passion and enthusiasm.'
Vicky has been working exclusively with cats since 1988 and specifically as a Cat Behaviour Counsellor for the past 18 years, treating behaviour problems in cats both in the UK and abroad. She is also an international bestselling author of 7 cat behaviour books for the cat-owning public and co-author of a number of veterinary textbooks. In 2008 Vicky was voted as the 'Nation's Favourite Cat Author' by the readers of Your Cat Magazine.
Vicky is a Registered Veterinary Nurse and member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors. She is also a Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council.
She works closely with International Cat Care on various behaviour and welfare projects and contributes regularly to magazines, radio and TV on cat topics. She gives lectures and seminars to veterinary professionals both at home and abroad on cat behaviour-related subjects.
Vicky also has a diploma in person-centred counselling and is a Registered Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.
Emma Milne – ambassador
Emma Milne, veterinary surgeon, TV presenter and author
'For many years I have admired and respected the work of iCatCare and have always been impressed by the charity's steadfast dedication to improving the welfare of all cats. It is a massive honour to be asked to join them as an ambassador and I only hope I can live up to their excellent credentials!'
Emma qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol Veterinary School, UK, in 1996 and went on to work in a mixed, country practice in Somerset, Cheltenham and York in the UK.
She is best known for her appearances in the highly successful BBC One programme, Vets in Practice, and appeared in all 11 series. She has since appeared in numerous TV and radio programmes and has co-presented programmes on wildlife and been a regular guest reporter for the BBC’s Inside Out programme.
Emma’s first book, The Truth About Cats and Dogs was published in July 2007 and highlighted health problems in pedigree dogs and cats associated with body size and shape as well as other inherited conditions. In March 2012 her second book, Tales from the Tail End, a light-hearted collection of memoirs from her time on TV and as a vet, was published. Her most recent writing is a series of children’s pet care books, The Pet Detective Series, including Is a cat the right pet for you?, based on animals’ five welfare needs and the importance of mental as well as physical wellbeing.
International Cat Care is delighted to have Emma on board as an ambassador for the charity.
Emma is generously donating 10% of the royalties from the sales of her new book The Pet Detectives: Is a cat the right pet for you? to iCatCare. The book, aimed at children ages 7-12, costs £9.95. iCatCare supporters will receive a 10% discount on this book with the code: ICCPDC16. Order your copy here.
Lord Black and Mark Bolland – Patrons
Lord Black (right) is a Life Peer member of the House of Lords, UK, and Executive Director of the Telegraph Media Group. Mark (left) is a public relations executive who has worked for the Advertising Standards Authority and the Press Complaints Commission before serving as Deputy Private Secretary to Charles, Prince of Wales. Both are committed cat fans and are pictured here with their Russian Blue, Victoria
International Cat Care is very proud to welcome Lord Black and Mark Bolland to our team as iCatCare Patrons. Here we learn a little more about them...
Early experiences of cats
Interestingly, their great love for all things feline wasn't - as you might expect - forged in early childhood. As Guy recalls, 'My mother developed an allergy and, although she loved cats, we were sadly unable to have any at home (but I did have a budgie called Dougal).' Mark, too, wasn't raised alongside cats - although there was a rabbit called Flash! Later on, however, a series of cats entered their lives. They fondly recall the black and white cat who followed them home one day, and a pair of ginger kittens that Guy’s mother worshipped - and also Tristan and Tobias, two beautiful birmans. Their most recent cat, a Russian Blue called Victoria, sadly passed away last summer, aged 19, and is very much missed.
While Guy and Mark (and us) know that 'all cats are special and each one is special in its own way', they also feel that all cats share the same remarkable ability to give back. 'They give so much to one's existence' and it is their 'unconditional, constant love' coupled with a 'fun and mischievous nature' that is the source of the wonderful companionship a cat brings. (And while adamant that all cats are special - they admit that some possess that extra something. Victoria was clearly very special indeed - as Guy says - 'she was a veritable Grande-Dame!')
The challenges ahead
Guy and Mark firmly believe in the importance of raising children who care. 'A cat for a young person is very important, it's about responsible ownership'. Learning early is vital, not only because it helps children to develop relationships built on respect, but because it reduces the incidence of cruelty (to animals and humans) later in life.
They also believe in the importance of raising standards of care in order to bring an end to abuse and unnecessary suffering. They spoke of their particular sadness at seeing the ragged street cats in Ankara and Amman - and the enormous importance of international neutering programmes.
International Cat Care
It was the international dimension that persuaded Guy and Mark to become Patrons. They want all cats to be treated with care and compassion whichever country they are in. 'Love shouldn't know boundaries - we need to work to changes attitudes around the world'. They believe that International Cat Care has an incredibly important role to play. Guy has also suggested that we draft a Feline Bill of Rights - a minimum set of standards worldwide - that all countries could sign up to. We think that's a great idea and are working to put that into action.
Finally, Guy and Mark say that they are both proud and thrilled to be Patrons - 'This work is very important - if our taking part can help then it's worth every minute.'
At International Cat Care, we are delighted and honoured that they have accepted our invitation to work with us.