Find out how International Cat Care’s campaigns are improving the health and welfare of cats worldwide.
Ever year we hear shocking and distressing cases of cats being taken to the vets due to accidental posionings and injuries that happen in the apparent 'safety' of their own home or garden. Some cats will survive especially if they receive veterinary treatment immediately, but for many others the outcome is not so good.
International Cat Care is now launching a campaign to highlight the dangers that lurk in and around the home. We will be looking at household products which are toxic to cats (eg, lilies, disinfectants, paracetomol), cats eating strange things (eg, needles, rubber bands, wool) and accidental injuries (eg, from collars, falls, road traffic accidents).
The key message of the campaign is that prevention is better than cure and we hope that the campaign will spread widely to help prevent needless suffering and promote faster recognition and treatment following poisoning or injury.
On our website we will be offering advice on how to minimise the risks, how to recognise the signs of poisoning/injury and what to do. For veterinary professionals, we will also be providing in depth advice on clinical signs, treatment and prognosis.
Fact: Permethrin-based spot-on flea products for dogs can kill cats
High concentrations of permethrin are used in a number of 'spot-on' flea treatments for dogs that are available as 'over the counter' products in many shops. The legal categorisation of these products often means they can be sold to owners without the need for any advice or precautions, with the result that they are sometimes used on cats, with potentially fatal consequences.
Cats continue to be poisoned by these products, suffering convulsions and often death.
Owners use these products on cats, sometimes accidentally, or sometimes because they are unaware of how toxic they are to cats. Even coming into contact with the family dog that has recently been treated can cause poisoning in cats. We are campaigning for a reclassification of the products which would mean that they could not be purchased without proper guidance being given by a 'suitably qualified person' at the point of sale. This simple step could dramatically reduce the number of cats being poisoned and killed by permethrin, through provision of appropriate advice and warnings.
Healthy, happy cats require good veterinary care; however many owners put off taking their cat to the vet because they know it can be stressful for cat (and for them!). Clinics vary enormously in their approach to cats and the standard of care they receive can vary as well. We have set up the Cat Friendly Clinic programme to help and encourage veterinary clinics to make cats’ visits much less stressful and to cater for cats specifically within the clinic. All of this leads to a much better experience for cats and their owners, and a higher quality of care. It is an accreditation scheme open to any veterinary clinic that deals with cat patients.
Who would have thought that a beautiful flower could be lethal to cats? All parts of the lily we love to have in our homes are toxic to cats, and the cat can be severely affected by nibbling a leaf or even licking pollen off its coat. We continue to campaign to get florists and garden centres to label lilies as toxic to cats (as well as ensuring other poisonous plants are highlighted). We are also asking all vets to lobby for the widespread adoption of warning labels and posters at all locations where lilies are sold, and we have collaborated with CVE (Centre for Veterianry Education, University of Sydney) to produce artwork in a variety of formats which vets can download and distribute to any outlets that sell lilies.
Giving medicines and treatments to cats can be very stressful for them, their owners and even for vets. In 2005, we began a campaign to encourage pharmaceutical companies who produced medicines for cats to consider the ease with which owners could use them. Since then we have given 25 Easy to Give awards for companies which have produced smaller tablets, less frequent treatments, palatable tablets and liquids, spot-on treatments instead of sprays, and other innovations which make life easier for owners and ensure that cats get the medication they need.
International Cat Care takes a considered
stance on many current and often controversial cat health and welfare issues. We feel it is important that there is an accurate source of information, which can be referred to by concerned members of the public, members of the media, as well as those working with cats.
International Cat Care has joined forces with Boehringer Ingelheim to promote awareness of chronic pain in cats. As many as 90% of cats over the age of 12 have signs of degenerative joint disease that could be causing chronic pain. This campaign is designed to raise owner awareness and promote better treatment of pain in cats.
Pledge against cat pain website
Many kittens are born accidentally because their owners have not realised that what they still consider to be their ‘kitten’ is actually able to have kittens itself! These kittens often add to the huge numbers of cats and kittens without homes finding themselves in rescue centres, living rough or even worse. For health and welfare reasons all cats not specifically intended for breeding should be neutered. Cats can be neutered safely when they are young and we are advocating 4 months for neutering instead of the traditional 6 months (when some cats could already be pregnant). We are asking owners and veterinary practices to book in cats after their vaccination programme and to help ensure that every kitten is a wanted one.
Pedigree cats – first do no harm
International Cat Care wants to ensure that we do not take pedigree cats down the same disastrous road as pedigree dogs. We know that there are some beautiful pedigree cats out there and some very good breeders who care about their cats health. However, there is also a tendency to take a genetic mutation and start a new breed, or to push a cat’s body to extremes for a different look, to make something new for curiosity sake or, sometimes, just to make money out of something new and strange. If, in creating a new colour or coat pattern there is no harm done, then we have no problem with that; however if the physical form brings a less healthy and able cat, or if the small gene pool generates cats with inherited diseases, then this is not acceptable. Breeders who love cats should work for the good of the cat and not the breed standard if it is detrimental to health.
International Cat Care is very worried about the increasing number of ‘breeds’ which are being developed by crossing our domestic cat Felis catus with wild cats. Aside from the very early generations, these cats are being bought by people wanting a pet with something different, but the character and behavior of the cats is uncertain and many of them are quite large cats. Add to this the problems if they go outside and are aggressive and highly territorial to other cats, or are much more avid hunters causing devastation to wildlife. What is also not considered is the welfare of the wild cats which are kept for breeding, the danger for the domestic cats which are mated to the wild cats and the welfare of the early generations which cannot be sold as pets but must be kept as wild cats. International Cat Care believes that there are plenty of lovely cats to choose from and that we should not add more hybrid cats.
iCatCare is working together with PupAid on a campaign to call on the Government to ban the sale of young kittens and puppies unless their mothers are present. Such a ban would help reduce kitten and puppy farming where very young animals are separated from their mothers too early and often transported huge distances for sale via newspapers and websites to unsuspecting members of the public.
When buying a kitten, prospective owners should always ask ‘Where’s mum?’ and insist on seeing a kitten interacting with its mother. The only exception for a mother not being present is in a rescue situation. Kittens should be at least 8 weeks old before leaving their mother. Separating kittens too early from their mother can lead to insufficent socialisation and associated behaviour problems, as well as impaired immune systems that make them more prone to infectious diseases.
To join the campaign and sign the petition visit: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49528