With ownership of domestic cats increasing year on year worldwide, public interest in cat welfare has never been greater. In recognition of this, International Cat Care (iCatCare) and its veterinary branch, the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) have developed two international initiatives that will further the holistic approach to cat welfare that’s central to the charity’s vision.
- ISFM Academy of Feline Practitioners
- iCatCare Feline Wellbeing Panel
For more than 60 years, the charity has addressed both physical health – funding vets to specialize in feline medicine, and mental wellbeing – developing initiatives like Cat Friendly Clinic, that emphasizes the importance of reducing stress. Great progress has been made, but this new international and collaborative approach will allow these two groups of experts to push forward their respective disciplines, and provide the opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing between them.
The ISFM Academy of Feline Practitioners is a body of dedicated veterinarians from all over the world who have further qualifications in feline practice or medicine, or have specialized in disciplines that complement the focus of ISFM.
Members will have the opportunity to discuss publications, investigate cases with colleagues, collaborate on research, talk about developments, and forge meaningful links between vets in different countries. It will be a forward-thinking coalition that will actively seek to advance developments in medicine. Any vet that meets the requirements of the academy can join, and although participation is encouraged, members are free to contribute however much they like.
To complement the veterinary expertise in the Academy of Feline Practitioners, and in keeping with the aims of iCatCare to better understand and promote the mental wellbeing, as well as the physical health, of domestic cats, the charity has developed the iCatCare Feline Wellbeing Panel.
The panel is an international coalition of experts, who come from different professional backgrounds but who all specialize in some form in the mental wellbeing of cats, including both those owned and unowned. Members bring invaluable insight and knowledge with their range of academic qualifications, research and extensive practical experience.
The purpose of the panel is to help those working and caring for cats in all the various settings they encounter them to understand their behavioural, emotional and cognitive capabilities and needs in order to be able to actively promote their mental wellbeing and ultimately protect their welfare. Such settings include people’s homes, in catteries, in veterinary clinics, and in homing centres and on the streets. Through the sharing of initiatives and information in a confidential space, this will be a collaborative effort that will advance the accepted understanding and common practices in a way that would be impossible to do individually.
In enabling these discussions, iCatCare has also created the International Cat Care Community as a platform for the groups to communicate in separate, friendly, safe spaces. This is a forum in development, with capacity for different groups to ask questions and discuss anything related to feline welfare.
Commenting, CEO, Claire Bessant said, ‘By working together, gaining input from great people and enabling all those who work with cats to grow their expertise, iCatCare can deliver on its mission to create a world in which each cat’s life experience will be as good as it can be’.
For weblinks, including how to join the ISFM Academy of Feline Practitioners, see below.