This article first appeared on iCatCare here.
Meet vet Martina Načeradská from the Czech Republic who is paving the way for a better future for cats. After becoming a member of ISFM (iCatCare’s veterinary division) and establishing the first ever Cat Friendly Clinic in the Czech Republic, Martina works tirelessly towards improving feline welfare. We caught up with Martina to learn all about the progress she has made and to hear about her future aspirations for cat care in her country.
This is Martina’s story:
My life with cats
‘I’ve provided homes for cats of all shapes and sizes over the years. I currently live with Nekko (a stray tabby cat), Atrei (a beautiful Ragdoll that had been abandoned because the previous owner didn’t want the responsibility of having to groom a longhaired cat) and also a Bengal called Alfred Hitchcock. Due to the risk of road traffic accidents I’ve made the decision to keep all my cats indoors. It is a challenge to make sure all three cats are stimulated and provided with enough play opportunities so my husband and I are continuously trying to think of new ways in which we can make our flat more cat friendly –we have even built a cat running wheel that Alfred particularly enjoys.’
Improving cat welfare in my country
‘In 2007, I decided that I really wanted to take action towards improving cat welfare in the Czech Republic so I picked a cat shelter and offered them my support and veterinary services. They were really suspicious of me at the beginning because the offer of free help in my country is a rarity. However we now have a trusting relationship. I support them by collecting donations and unwanted cat food from clients at my vet practice. I also organise regular ‘Dental Days’ at the shelter too. This is where I provide dental treatments for the rescue cats – I’m normally able to treat about 6-10 cats per day. Following treatment, the cats are able to eat much better and consequently have a much better chance of being adopted.’
Educating the general public
‘Last year, I also started working on a charity project in my country that aims to educate the younger generation about cats. I travel to schools and teach children about a feline behaviour, biology, and welfare needs. In addition, the project aims to encourage children to look for a potential pet at rescue centres rather than buying animals from adverts seen on the internet – I really hope this campaign will start to pay off so that the number of homeless animals in rescue shelters reduces.’
‘I am pleased to say that there are finally some developments in animal welfare laws in the Czech Republic. I am part of the specialist team working towards preparing material for the politicians to help encourage this progress. I am determined to ensure that cats have equal legal protection to dogs as sadly this is not currently the case. Unfortunately, the Czech Republic is currently one on the biggest producers of animals bred on puppy and kitten farms in very poor welfare conditions. I am fighting hard to make sure these new laws provide protection for animals caught up in this nasty practice.’
The support from ISFM and iCatCare
‘Over the years I have felt great support from ISFM and iCatCare which has helped me continue fighting for a better future for cats. Thanks to ISFM I am continuously able to learn new things about feline medicine and wellbeing. I also find the resources provided are invaluable to my work. The iCatCare website is also a great source of valuable information for me and my clients – at any opportunity I direct my English-speaking clients towards the website so that they can learn as much as possible about cat behaviour and welfare.’
‘Looking ahead to the future I am determined to persevere and continue to make a future that is better for cats.’
For more information about unowned cats, see our Cat Friendly Solutions for Unowned Cats section