Feline behavior experts release guidelines to improve the welfare of cats

June 18, 2013

A team of internationally recognized feline experts including veterinarians and feline scientists co-chaired by Dr Sarah Ellis from the University of Lincoln, U.K. and Dr Ilona Rodan, Director of Cat Care Clinic, Wisconsin, U.S.A. were invited by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) to compile guidelines for veterinarians, owners and those working with cats on how to meet the environmental needs of the domestic cat. The new guidelines appear in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

A cat's level of comfort within its environment is intrinsically linked to its , emotional well-being and behavior. Thus, meeting the environmental needs of the cat is an absolutely essential part of our care-taking role of this companion animal. The guidelines provide readers with a basic understanding of the cat's species-specific environmental needs including how interact with their environment as well as providing practical based advice on how to meet these needs.

Co-chair, Dr Sarah Ellis said "Just as we do for relating to cats, the decisions we make on the environment we provide for our cats must be based on information produced from a solid evidence base in order to ensure we are providing the highest possible welfare standards for our cats. Over the period of nearly a year, the panel compiled, reviewed and consolidated all available research in this area to provide a reader-friendly, evidence-based set of guidelines allowing veterinarians, owners and those working with cats to easily access this information and advice all in one place."

The panel has organized the guidelines around five primary concepts (named as 'pillars') that provide the framework for a healthy feline environment. Such comprise providing:

  • a safe place
  • multiple and separated key
  • opportunity for play and predatory behavior
  • positive, consistent and predictable human-cat social interaction
  • an environment that respects the important of the cat's sense of smell

Co-chair Dr Ilona Rodan said "As a veterinary practitioner, I find these guidelines to be the support that we need to help prevent and even resolve many behavior problems. If we understand the cat and its needs, and educate our veterinary teams and clients about how to live with these beloved pets, we can keep cats healthier and happier."

Explore further: As deadly cat disease spreads nationally, MU veterinarian finds effective treatment

More information: "AAFP and ISFM Feline Environmental Needs Guidelines" by Sarah L H Ellis, Ilona Rodan, Hazel C Carney, Sarah Heath, Irene Rochlitz, Lorinda D Shearburn, Eliza Sundahl and Jodi L Westropp, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

Related Stories

Fur flies over call to rid New Zealand of cats

January 23, 2013

A campaign to eradicate New Zealand's cats as a way of protecting native wildlife has raised the hackles of pet lovers, with critics leaping to the defence of their feline friends.

Can you love cats too much?

April 10, 2013

A study into cat ownership looks at whether people who own an excessive number of cats are on the slippery slope to becoming animal hoarders.

Recommended for you

Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050

August 31, 2015

Researchers from CSIRO and Imperial College London have assessed how widespread the threat of plastic is for the world's seabirds, including albatrosses, shearwaters and penguins, and found the majority of seabird species ...

Researchers unveil DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue

August 31, 2015

A UCSF-led team has developed a technique to build tiny models of human tissues, called organoids, more precisely than ever before using a process that turns human cells into a biological equivalent of LEGO bricks. These ...

Study shows female frogs susceptible to 'decoy effect'

August 28, 2015

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers has found that female túngaras, frogs that live in parts of Mexico and Central and South America, appear to be susceptible to the "decoy effect." In their paper published in the journal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.