TIMONIUM, MD. — CATalyst Council says an initiative rolled out in early 2011 is starting to make inroads on reversing the decline in feline
visits to veterinarians.
The initiative works with volunteer clinics to help them increase cat visits through education, specialized training and,
sometimes, reconfiguring patient flow to make the clinic more cat friendly, CATalyst Council reports.
"We are confident that this pilot will show that there are relatively easy steps that veterinary practices can take to increase
the number and frequency of feline visits," says CATalyst Council Executive Director Jane Brunt, DVM. "We're excited about
the positive initial results that we're seeing and exploring opportunities to make a difference in the lives of cats everywhere."
The launch of the program followed a survey of cat owners to gauge their attitudes about veterinary care. The results mirrored
some of the finding in a recent study called the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Survey by the National Commission of Veterinary
Economic Issues, Brakke Consulting and Bayer HealthCare.
The findings, Brunt says, confirmed that cats are not receiving the same level of care as dogs.
Here are some additional facts gleaned from the survey:
- Cats were two times more likely to never have been examined by a veterinarian when compared to dogs.
- About 25 percent of cat owners said they didn't believe a trip to the veterinarian would improve their pet's overall health.
And that is why they didn't take their cats to veterinarians in more than a year.
- One-third of cat-owner respondents say they would take their cat to their veterinarian more often if the doctor explained
the value and importance of preventive care.
- More than half of the cat owner respondents say transportation is a major obstacle to accessing veterinary care.
CATalyst is developing tools to help veterinarians overcome the feline decline, including the video, "Cats and Carriers: Friends
Not Foes," which guides owners through five steps to acclimate cats to carriers. The video, along with other tools, are being
incorporated into the CATalyst's full program, which will be unveiled at the group's November meeting.