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, www.catfriendlclinic.org, will be fully operational from Wednesday 15 April.