Recent welfare projects:
Portugal: November 2017
International Cat Care works to improve the welfare of cats worldwide. In November 2017, we helped to fund a project in Portugal to train 29 vets and 1 vet nurse who participate in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) projects in Portugal.
This training coincided with a very welcome change to the law in Portugal which, from 2018 onwards, forbids euthanising unowned cats as a population control method. Local authorities are now required to reduce unowned cat populations by running TNR projects – neutering and releasing stray and feral cats – as well as educating owners on responsible ownership, including neutering their pets.
However, until now, most of the 308 local authorities in Portugal have carried out no neutering campaigns whatsoever, and many of the vets that work for the local authorities are very inexperienced in performing this surgery. Some haven’t performed surgeries for over 10 years and so are not skilled in modern neutering techniques, or in dealing with high volumes of surgeries as required in TNR campaigns.
In addition, training is desperately needed on trapping techniques. TNR needs to be undertaken in a strategic, carefully coordinated and sustainable way. Inexperienced trapping can result in colonies of cats that are extra wary and so even harder to trap, because they have watched the trapping of other individuals and will avoid the traps altogether. Furthermore, many kittens were being released without being neutered because of a lack of knowledge on kitten neutering, and may be very difficult to catch again. Kittens can be safely neutered from just 8 weeks of age.
International Cat Care provided a grant to Animais de Rua and Change For Animals Foundation, two animal welfare organisation based in Portugal who had put together training on feline sterilisation to start to tackle the situation. The training was carried out by three veterinary staff from The Mayhew, a UK-based animal welfare charity, with which iCatCare already collaborates with in training for TNR.
The training was a huge success. Vets learnt how to neuter cats efficiently and safely, leading to shorter surgical and recovery times for the cats, which is better for their welfare as well as for population control. One local authority reported that they can now trap and neuter almost double the number of cats every day. One other reported going on to train another local authority vet in a different area, allowing the TNR project in this area to improve and continue to run. The feedback was very positive, with all who attended reporting that the training was valuable, although they would have preferred longer than one day, to increase their confidence in performing the surgical techniques. Providing longer training courses is dependent on more funding, and the funding we can provide is dependent on the donations we receive.
Demand for this training was so great that the course was full even before registration opened. Many other vets have expressed an interest in receiving the same training. We cannot carry out work like this without your help. Please donate to help us to continue to help cats all over the world.
Working together to upskill on neutering
International Cat Care is delighted to have collaborated with London charity Mayhew during 2017 to help fund the training of vets on the most up-to-date, safe and secure neutering techniques, humane handling and restraint, pre and post-operative care, anaesthesia and pain management for cats.
International Cat Care brought vets put forward by charities iCatCare already collaborates with in Europe; from Portugal (working with Animals de Rua), from Spain (working with Plataforma Gatera) and from Lithuania (working with PIFAS) to Mayhew where the training took place.
At the Mayhew Community Clinic the course participants were able to see and learn about neutering techniques for young kittens as Mayhew provides preventative veterinary care not only for the animals going through its rescue and rehoming operations but also for a trap, neuter and return programme to manage the feral cat population in London. Visiting vets also learned about and flank spaying, most suitable anaesthetic protocols and suturing techniques. When neutering young kittens from around 8 weeks of age they were able to see benefits of the surgery and how quickly the kittens recovered post-op.
International Cat Care continues to work with other organisations to train and educate to help in humane population management of cats around the world.
African Centre for Veterinary Consulting – Sudan
In 2013, we worked with ACVC Sudan in a multiplicity of ways to develop feline welfare and veterinary care from what is almost a zero base. As well as teaching feline content (for the first time ever) on the veterinary degree at the Sudan University of Science and Technology, we supported, funded and participated in practical hands-on training for vets and volunteers in the running of a feline TNR programme. Read more
Tanzania Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO)
In 2012, International Cat Care supported feline TNVR (Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return) training and development with TAWESO. We provided on-the-ground training for vets, charity volunteers and livestock technicians in the area around the Tanzanian city of Dar Es Salaam. We have also made a significant donation of TNVR equipment such as traps and restrainer (squeeze) cages, plus surgical instruments.
Cat Population Management and Welfare Centre
In 2014 iCatCare developed the CPMW Training Centre, based in Portugal, where charity vets and volunteers from countries with developing animal welfare received high quality, free training in a collaborative way where ideas and techniques were exchanged in classroom, surgery, and workshop environments.
Plataforma Gatera – Spain
International Cat Care has supported Plataforma Gatera, a cat welfare organisation in Barcelona, since 2011. We provide them with advice, equipment and guidance, and are holding a joint cat welfare conference with them for feline vets in Barcelona.
Community Cats Network – Ireland
We have worked with CCN to develop their skills and capacity – providing support on volunteer recruitment and retention, equipment for TNR (trap/neuter/return). In September 2013 we worked closely to provide a feline welfare training event for vets, nurses and other animal welfare staff. By financially backing the event, fegistraion fees collected from attendees went straight to CCN to fund their ongoing TNR programme.
Training workshops – Lithuania and Greece
International Cat Care has run training for vets, focused on early neutering, in Kaunas in September 2013, with support from Lithuanian charity PIFAS.
A stakeholder training day for charity and council staff in Greece with the Panhellenic Animal Welfare Federation, took place in Athens in 2012.
‘Today was an incredible experience for all those who participated in the workshop. I find no appropriate words to express my feelings and gratitude to you all.’
Sofia Tzoniki & Irini Molfessi, Panhellenic Animal Welfare Federation
Working with street cats – India
In 2013 we worked with WVS (Worldwide Veterinary Service) to develop a training programme for vets at the WVS International Veterinary Training Centre in Tamil Nadu, India. As well as the training we provide, we also provided equipment (traps and squeeze cages) so that the trainees can put into practice what they have learned. This equipment also protects the staff and students from the risks of manual handling of cats of unknown temperament. ICC staff again attended the centre in 2012 to "train the trainers" at the site.
ACT – China
We support ACT Asia for Animals in the delivery of training for vets and volunteers in China.