The team at International Cat Care (iCatCare) were delighted to learn over the weekend that former CEO, Claire Bessant, will receive a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her outstanding contributions to cat welfare.
During the 28 years Claire spent at the helm, she consistently championed the health and wellbeing of cats, growing a small UK charity into the leading global voice for feline welfare.
Highlights from Claire’s time at iCatCare include the development of the world-leading international veterinary society, the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), as well as the Cat Friendly Clinic programme dedicated to reducing stress for cats visiting the vets. These programmes have revolutionised how veterinary professionals worldwide approach feline healthcare. There are now nearly 3,500 Cat Friendly Clinics in 49 countries around the world, with over 20,000 veterinary professionals committed to improving standards in feline medicine and care via ISFM membership.
In this time, iCatCare has also led the global debate on critical cat welfare issues such as neutering, declawing and scruffing, as well as consulting on legislation and collaborating with global leaders and key stakeholders in the animal welfare world. 2022 saw the launch of the Cat Friendly Principles that underpin all of iCatCare’s work over the years and will continue to guide the charity, and all those collaborating towards its vision of a cat friendly world for all cats, into the future.
On this incredible achievement, Claire said:
‘I am absolutely delighted and humbled to receive the MBE and to have it recorded as being for cat welfare. Nobody does it on their own, and the team and supporters at International Cat Care have been brilliant over the years in working together to raise standards of veterinary care for cats, improve our understanding of both the physical and mental wellbeing of this fascinating species, and also now to tackle the difficult issues of helping unowned cats. We have come a long way with much still to be done, but cat welfare is now taken seriously, and international collaborations mean that the charity’s Cat Friendly Principles, educational materials and ideas are now being used worldwide to help millions of cats. It has been so satisfying to tackle the challenges and build on the growing cat-loving community – I have loved it.’
The iCatCare team would like to thank Claire for her incredible dedication to the charity and remarkable work improving the lives of cats everywhere. iCatCare now consists of a professional staff of 32, developing and disseminating knowledge on cats to veterinary teams, owners and all those dedicated to improving the welfare of cats through their work with or interest in cats. Millions of cat owners access information online from icatcare.org, and vets and nurses worldwide use our training and resources to improve the care of cats. In this way, it is estimated that the charity touches the lives of over 25 million cats worldwide annually.