Taking a stand on feline health and welfare issues
International Cat Care is an animal welfare charity passionate about improving the lives of all cats, everywhere. We have some key campaigns and position statements which are designed to help protect cats and highlight current and often controversial welfare issues.
Our position statements provide a considered and 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/ISFM position statement on the responsible use of parasiticides in cats
Concerns have recently been raised about the risk of contamination of waterways by parasiticides commonly used in companion animals. As these products are harmful to a wide range of invertebrates, the impact that these can have on wildlife and ecosystems cannot be dismissed.
iCatCare/ISFM support the British Veterinary Association (BVA), British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) policy position on the responsible use of parasiticides for cats and dogs and the recommendations made in this policy. Read our position statement here.
Keeping Cats Safe
At International Cat Care we believe it’s crucial to raise awareness of the range of issues affecting cat safety, and it’s for this reason that we have relaunched our Keeping Cats Safe campaign.
Originally run in 2015 and 2016, this year we are revisiting some of the key topics to update them with the most relevant information. We will be covering some of the most common dangers which our cats encounter and some of the key things which will help to keep them safe.
International Declaration of Responsibilities to Cats
Life is tough for many cats all over the world, and cat welfare urgently needs improving. Solving these problems isn’t easy. Change will only happen when different entities, including central governments, non-governmental organisations & charities, breeders, owners and veterinary professionals come together and play their part.
That’s why International Cat Care has developed the ‘International Declaration of Responsibilities to Cats’, to provide a clear framework to help everyone to protect and improve feline welfare.
Pledge to Go ‘Scruff-Free’
‘Scruffing’ of a cat is a term used to describe restraining a cat by firmly gripping the loose skin at the back of the cat’s neck – this is sometimes accompanied by lifting the cat up or heavily restraining the cat in other ways. International Cat Care is against the use of scruffing as a method of restraint, because of the stress and distress it can cause to cats. This campaign encourages all veterinary clinics to pledge never to scruff cats, pledging to go ‘scruff-free’.
All parts of the lily are toxic to cats. In fact, they are so poisonous that a cat can suffer fatal kidney failure just from nibbling a leaf, licking pollen off its coat or even from drinking water from a vase with cut lilies in it.
International Cat Care works to highlight the dangers to cat owners and is campaigning to get florists and garden centres to label lilies as toxic to cats, as well as ensuring other poisonous plants are highlighted.
Cats Deserve Pain Relief Too
International Cat Care’s veterinary division, the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), encourages the routine assessment and treatment of pain in cats. However, recognition of pain is not always straightforward and the perception that cats experience less pain than dogs may largely reflect different behavioural responses to pain between the two species rather than genuine differences in the experience of pain.
This campaign highlights the reasons many cats are not receiving adequate analgesia and aims to encourage clinics to review their policies on prescribing analgesics to cats.
First Do No Harm: Breeding of Pedigree Cats
International Cat Care understands that some people wish to own or breed pedigree cats – to be able to choose a cat with a certain look and perhaps certain behavioural characteristics. However, International Cat Care wishes all breeders to act responsibly and to ensure that no harm is done to the health and welfare of cats. The bred cat must not be less healthy than the ‘original’ and its welfare must not be compromised.
We have developed a Position Statement on the Breeding of Cats designed to inform both cat breeders and prospective cat owners.
We are also working with the British Veterinary Association on the #HealthOverLooks campaign which urges cat lovers to avoid choosing pedigree breeds of cat designed to have extreme or unusual features, such as flat faces or folded ears. This is because of problems associated with these features which may not be immediately obvious, but cause suffering for the cats.
International Cat Care/ISFM position statement on feline telemedicine for veterinary practice
Telemedicine is defined as the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. Whilst we recognise that telemedicine may offer many potential benefits to cats, caregivers and the veterinary profession, there are also concerns that if used inappropriately it might have a negative impact on cat welfare. We consider it to be a complementary service to physical assessment of the patient.
Declawing of Cats
International Cat Care and its veterinary division the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) consider the declawing of cats for anything other than genuine therapeutic medical reasons to be an act of mutilation and to be unethical. iCatCare and ISFM support the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Code of Conduct in calling for legislation to be passed wherever possible to prohibit the performance of non-therapeutic surgical procedures, including declawing.
Cats and Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis refers to infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Cats are important in the lifecycle and transmission of this parasite and humans can also be infected. From time-to-time, headline and articles appear in the press implicating cats as the major source of infection in human disease. Unfortunately, such articles often misrepresent the true situation or fail to provide a full and balanced picture. We have put together a position statement designed to provide a true and balanced understanding of cats and toxoplasmosis.
Importance of microchipping
The accurate and permanent identification of pet cats is both important and desirable, and is an essential component of cats’ welfare. Having this information is vital in reuniting cats with their owners should a cat ever stray, escape or get lost. We have put together a position statement outlining the importance of microchipping and addresses safety concerns.
Cat Friendly Clinic
Healthy, happy cats require good veterinary care; however many owners are put off taking their cat to the vet because they know it can be stressful for the cat (and for them!). Clinics vary enormously in their approach to cats and the standard of care they receive can vary as well. International Cat Care’s veterinary division, the International Society of Feline Medicine, has 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. This is an accreditation scheme open to any veterinary clinic that deals with cat patients.
This campaign has its own website: Cat Friendly Clinic
Cat Care for Life
Cat Care for Life, is a new initiative from International Cat Care and its veterinary division the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM). This preventative healthcare programme promotes a partnership of care between cat owners and their veterinary clinics for the lifelong health of their cat. It is a blueprint for how a clinic and owner can work together to keep cats healthy and encourage regular preventative healthcare checks.
The programme is aimed at both veterinary clinics and cat owners and has its own dedicated website.
This campaign has its own website: CatCare for Life