The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) came of age in 2017. Launched in 1996, it has grown and developed and this year celebrates its 21st birthday. It was first brought to life as the European Society of Feline Medicine (ESFM) by its parent charity, then called the Feline Advisory Bureau (FAB), and became ISFM in 2010. FAB also underwent a metamorphosis to become International Cat Care in 2013.
When first launched, the Society published a slim quarterly newsletter for its modest number of members, who mainly hailed from the UK. In 1999 the Society’s Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS) was launched and, in 2002, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) also adopted it as its official journal. Initially a quarterly publication, it increased its circulation to six issues a year in 2003 and, in 2009, developed into a monthly title with its unique approach of alternating Classic issues (featuring clinical research papers) and Clinical Practice (featuring review articles and guidelines). JFMS has for a number of years been publishing 1000 pages of information annually for practitioners who see cats, but in 2017 this will rise to 1200 to cater for increasing numbers of high-quality article submissions. The Journal has maintained an excellent citation index, despite its clinical focus, and has benefited from the support of eminent feline specialists from the start.
In spring 2015, JFMS Open Reports was launched as an open access, online-only sister journal to JFMS. It is already achieving its ambition of publishing the best peer-reviewed clinical reports in feline medicine, and celebrated the publication of its 100th article earlier this year.
ISFM now has over 2400 individual and practice members in 61 countries and is going from strength to strength. Its annual Congresses are hugely popular and maintain a friendly and open ethos, welcoming back delegates who regularly attend to enjoy its choice locations across Europe, as well as those visiting for the first time. From the first Congress in Stockholm in 2002, the Society is holding its 16th Congress (this year the ‘World Feline Congress’) in Brighton, UK, at the end of June. What better venue than the new British Airways i360 iconic vertical cable car to stage ISFM’s 21 st birthday celebrations. Located right on the Brighton seafront, the event will form the ISFM/Hill’s Welcome Reception. As well as its own Congresses, ISFM regularly holds pre-Congress Feline Days at other conferences such as BSAVA, WSAVA and SEVC, and is launching a joint Asian Conference with the University of Sydney in Thailand in November.
Other major achievements for the society have included the conception, development and launch of ‘Cat Friendly Clinic’ in 2012. There are now over 1800 clinics worldwide that have gained accreditation and thousands more that are using ISFM’s cat friendly principles to improve the care of cats. ISFM’s achievements in bringing about an improvement in veterinary practice were recognised in 2016, when it received the prestigious Veterinary Record Innovation Award for its Cat Friendly Clinic programme.
But it is not only vets that ISFM caters for – in late 2014 it launched its free nurse membership, providing nurse and technician members with a monthly online magazine Feline Focus and free monthly webinars. Recently the 10,000th nurse has signed up – nurses and technicians from 72 countries have benefited from over 30,000 hours of cpd webinars.
Andrew Sparkes, ISFM’s Veterinary Director said, ‘ISFM has brought a real buzz to feline medicine and no practitioner who sees cats should be without the fantastic information it provides. Its discussion forum welcomes vets from all over the world and members enjoy free monthly webinars from global feline experts. Thanks to ISFM, feline medicine has become mainstream and exciting.’
For more information on membership benefits or any of ISFM’s conferences go to www.icatcare.org/vets.
21 ISFM facts and stats
- ISFM is the veterinary division of the charity International Cat Care.
- Founded in 1996 as ESFM (the European Society of Feline Medicine), the society became International in 2010.
- ISFM is an integral part of International Cat Care and is based at the charity headquarters in Tisbury, Wiltshire, which has 20 staff.
- ISFM has over 2400 veterinary practice and individual members from 61 countries.
- ISFM has run European Feline Congresses in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Dublin, Antwerp, Rome, Prague, Edinburgh, Dubrovnik, Vienna, Budapest, Barcelona Riga, Porto and Malta.
- In collaboration with the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), it stages the World Feline Congress every 2 years – alternating between Europe and the USA. Over 6000 delegates from 40 countries have attended over the years.
- ISFM has run four Asia-Pacific meetings in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur attended by almost 700 vets from 18 countries.
- ISFM launched Cat Friendly Clinic in 2012 and has accredited 370 gold, 466 silver and 39 bronze clinics in 30 countries. AAFP runs the programme as Cat Friendly Practice in the USA and has over 1000 accredited practices.
- ISFM launched the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (JFMS) in 1999.
- AAFP adopted JFMS as its official journal in 2002.
- JFMS has published 12,728 pages of feline information and is currently in its 19th volume.
- ISFM launched JFMS Open Reports in 2015. So far it has published 114 paper and attracted 50,000 downloads. It is now also indexed in PubMed Central.
- Most highly cited JFMS article so far: A review of feline infectious peritonitis virus infection: 1963–2008 by Niels Pedersen April 2009, Vol. 11 No.4 with a total of 137 cites.
- Most downloaded JFMS article so far: 2013 AAFP Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel Report – 89,884 downloads.
- ISFM membership now includes free monthly webinars – so far 20 webinars have been watched 15,555 times.
- There are 88 ISFM Academy members – people who have passed a relevant post graduate qualification in feline medicine.
- Since partnering with the University of Sydney in 2009, 469 veterinarians from 35 countries have undertaken the Feline Medicine Distance Education course.
- ISFM launched free veterinary nurse and technician membership in late 2014 and now boasts over 10,000 nurses in 72 countries.
- Veterinary nurses have watched 34 webinars a total of 33,126 times.
- 875 nurses have undertaken ISFM’s Nursing Certificate or Diploma courses since 2010.
- 16 different national veterinary cat groups team up with ISFM as National Partners to raise awareness and standards of feline care across the.