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You and your cat

Cat Care for Life – a lifelong Partnership of Care for your cat

The CatCareforLife Partnership of Care programme that is summarised here is brought to you by your vet, the charity International Cat Care, and its veterinary division International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM).

CatCareforLife is a ‘blueprint’ for you, your cat and your veterinary clinic to be able to work together to keep your cat healthy and happy throughout all its different life stages. After all, with good care, many cats are now leading happy and active lives well into their teens, and sometimes considerably longer!

Whether your cat has come from a homing centre, a breeder, a friend, or from some other source, it will already have become an integral part of your home and family. Cats are special for many different reasons – for the affection they show, for their independent nature, for their cleanliness, for their companionship, for their appealing nature and for their elegance and gracefulness. CatCareforLife aims to enhance the unique bond between you and your cat, by encouraging you to think long-term about what is needed to maintain your cat in the best possible health.

As an owner, you have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of your cat. By undertaking routine preventive healthcare, through all stages – from kittens through to old age – you can ensure your cat stays as healthy as possible. You can also prevent problems arising or maximise the chance of early detection of any illness, when much more can be done.

Your CatCareforLife records are specific to your cat, and there is lots of practical tips and advice. But importantly it also shows you:

  • What your vet will be looking for at routine health visits
  • How often these should be done in different life stages
  • What additional investigations may be appropriate at different ages
  • The value and role of blood and urine tests

On **this page** we give an overview of the different health checks recommended at different life stages, and you will also find recommended health checklists that cover cats at different life stages that you can print out and that you (and your vet) can fill in at each visit. This way you have a record that you keep of what has been done at each visit, and of some of the health information collected. With this information, you will be able to monitor what is normal for your cat, and this will help you to spot any changes that may need investigating.

As you read through the CatCareforLife information, you will see how you can work together with your vet to develop a Partnership of Care for the wellbeing of your cat.

Your vet’s role

International Cat Care and ISFM have provided veterinary clinics with a freely available practical guide to the CatCareforLife programme. It defines the life stages of cats (also described for you here), along with recommended best practice guides for recommended health checks, and advice on when health problems are likely to occur. The information is set out simply but it has taken many years of treating cats and gathering information on disease to devise a good health plan! The information is all based on independent published studies and data, and has been developed by expert feline veterinarians and others working with International Cat Care. It is information you can trust as being reliable and independent.

As a dedicated cat owner, you will know and appreciate that providing a good home environment, good nutrition and good care, together with routine preventive healthcare checks from your veterinarian can have a profound
effect on the long-term health of your cat. The CatCareforLife programme thus encourages you to work with your veterinary clinic to maintain your cat in the peak of health through all its life stages.

Finding a ‘Cat Friendly’ veterinary clinic

The timing for this programme is just right – thanks to the International Cat Care and ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic initiative (see www.catfriendlyclinic.org), many veterinary clinics are becoming much more cat-orientated and aware of cats’ particular needs in the clinic. This includes the need to have quiet surroundings, gentle handling, unhurried clinical examinations and many other requirements to reduce stress in a veterinary clinic setting.

We know taking your cat to the veterinary clinic can be extremely stressful for both the cat, and for you. You may therefore want to look for a local veterinary clinic that has achieved the ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation at ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ or ‘Gold’ level(see www.catfriendlyclinic.org). This accreditation is a demonstration of the efforts the clinic has made to treat cats (and cat-owners) differently and with the distinctive approaches that are really needed for these special animals.

For more information, please see www.catfriendlyclinic.org, and find out where your nearest accredited clinic is. If there is no accredited clinic near you, look out for a veterinary clinic that is an ‘ISFM Practice Member’. Although this is not the same as the Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation, it does at least tell you that the clinic takes cats seriously and keeps up to date with the latest developments in veterinary care and treatment of cats.