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What's new Pussycat?
Dr Andy Sparkes
ICC's Cat Friendly Practice initiative enters a new phase

Speaking at a special press briefing at the BSAVA Congress, Dr Andy Sparkes, clinical director of International Cat Care (ICC) announced the launch of its "refreshed Cat Friendly Practice" programme on 15 April.

Andy explained that the Cat Friendly initiative continues to be a focal initiative for ICC and the new materials, developed in response to feedback from early adopting practices, will help interested clinics to gain accreditation; or already accredited clinics to raise their profile to the cat-owning public.

The whole thrust of the Cat Friendly Practice programme is to reduce the stress experienced by cats when they visit veterinary practices. During the past three years it has made a significant difference to the well-being of cats and there are 1,200 accredited cat friendly practices worldwide.

Features of the refreshed project include a raft of promotional materials for accredited practices to use in their promotional activities, a video 'walk-through' of a cat friendly practice and 'tweaked' accreditation criteria that now encompass a Bronze level, in addition to the slightly revised Silver and Gold levels.

There is also an eye-catching new logo and a striking 'How old is your cat? poster for use in practice waiting rooms.

Andy took the opportunity to demonstrate how the Cat Friendly Practice programme reinforced the three pillars of the ethos of ICC:

  • Education of cat owners
  • Veterinary education and
  • Cat population control.

He pointed out that the latter is very labour intensive and the future lies in non-surgical control of reproduction in cats. As a step in this direction, a significant part of the ISFM European Congress  in Porto (1-5 July) will be devoted to this subject.

Andy also showed how the ICC's recent initiatives for nurses were intended to fulfil the organisation's criteria, especially in terms of veterinary education and communication with cat owners.

There are now nearly 4,000 nurses spread over 40 different countries who have taken up the option of free ISFM membership, through which they can participate in webinars and receive the monthly online journal, Feline Focus. And nearly 400 nurses have taken the ISFM Certificate and Diploma, with over a further 100 currently enrolled.

Concluding, Andy completed the virtuous circle. "The Cat Friendly Practice programme," he said, "lends itself to being a nurse-led initiative."

The new website,, will be fully operational from Wednesday 15 April.

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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on outside of these times."  

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News Shorts
Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit