How does it work?
Owners turn to a variety of sources for information on their cats’ health. This may include the vet, but often also includes information from other sources such as the internet, friends, breeders along with companies and organisations involved in pet care.
CatCareforLife seeks to make contact with as many owners as possible through a wide range of influences – the vet, the internet, the pet shop, the cattery, the rescue organisation, the breeder and so on. The initiative is aimed not only at people who already go to the vet, but also hopes to stimulate interest in those who rarely or never go to the vet by encouraging them to think more about their cat’s health. A combination of printed materials and online resources make up a comprehensive Partnership of Care kit, providing a single set of standards with a consistent message.
CatCare Owner Information and Records
On this website we have produced information and HealthCare Sheets specifically designed for use by owners. The HealthCare Sheets, which owners are encouraged to print out and bring with them to routine consultations, can also be printed out and used by the clinic – there is a different sheet for use with each life stage of the cat, reflecting the different health and care requirements of cats at each stage of their lives.
About Your Cat Sheet
We provide an ‘About Your Cat’ sheet for owners – this allows them to keep a record of some of the important details about their cat, along with contact details for the vet clinic. We encourage both owners and/or vets to print this out to ensure the details are kept by the owner (and updates as needed).
The HealthCare Sheets and information we provide to owners seek to get them involved in preventive healthcare by:
- Explaining what you, as their vet, will be checking in their cat at different life stages
- Encouraging owners to record various health parameters
- Warning of disease risks associated with different life stages and
- Advising of the often subtle signs of disease to be vigilant for.
We also provide space for the owner or veterinary health care team to write down any notes, recommendations or useful information to refer to at home.
We also provide sheets that owners and/or vets can print off that allow owners to record details of any signs of illness that occur. These records also facilitate good communication with the clinic, allowing the vet to fill in sections on any diagnosis, recommendations and treatment given or suggested.
CatCareforLife veterinary information
The information on this web site for veterinary healthcare professionals outlines a ‘gold standard’ of preventive care for cats. It is the cornerstone of the CatCareforLife programme, and is designed to be used alongside the accompanying owner-oriented materials.
These are designed for veterinary clinic waiting rooms, and also for other sites such as catteries, breeders, pet shops and pharmacies. The poster encourages cat owners to ask about the CatCareforLife programme, to visit their vet, or to look at the web site (www.catcare4life.org) for more information.
Life stage and age equivalent poster
This is aimed at stimulating interest in owners who may not have thought much about their cat’s health. The life stages poster invites owners to think about which stage their cat is in, and how this relates to equivalent ages in human beings. This provides an important point of reference when talking with owners about preventive healthcare.
Make sure your clinic is Cat Friendly …
To have a successful lifelong partnership of care that involves the clinic, the owner and the cat, it is vital that both the owner and the cat feel comfortable in the clinic, and know that the specific and unique needs of the cat are being prioritised and met.
Fundamental to this is having a good understanding of feline behaviour, and the implications of bringing a cat into the clinic environment (for both the cat and the owner!).
The veterinary team can take many steps to reduce stress for both the client and the cat by adopting cat friendly principles, and the clinic should also have appropriate feline-specific equipment to enable good clinical care to be undertaken. All of these are aspects covered by our ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation programme and we encourage all clinics to look at these materials, to make changes in the clinic to improve their cat friendliness, and wherever possible to become accredited under the initiative.
Finding a Cat Friendly Clinic
With the ISFM Cat Friendly Clinic programme, we have a website where owners can easily search for the clinic nearest to them that has achieved Cat Friendly Clinic accreditation. This too, we hope, will encourage owners to seek veterinary attention on a more regular basis, knowing they will be going to a clinic that will try to make them, and their cat, feel at home.