The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) announced the successful outcome of the CATalyst Summit, which was held Feb. 5-6 in Palm Springs, Calif. Attendees were led by AAFP and represented more than 30 leading organizations and companies including the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Cornell Feline Health Center, Morris Animal Foundation, Winn Feline Foundation and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
These key influentials gathered to discuss how to improve health care for felines, increase responsible pet ownership, enhance the stature of cats and enrich lives. They all agreed there are alarming statistics about the cat that need to be addressed and, as a result, developed an action plan that includes the following five elements:
- Continue to Collaborate Across all Channels
- Develop Feline Life-Stage Guidelines (for veterinarians and pet owners)
- Create Cat-Friendly Veterinary Practices
- Brand the Cat
- Produce a Consumer Awareness Campaign
A steering committee has been formed to determine the structure and organization of CATalyst to carry out the action plan established at the Summit.
"The passion and energy shared by all the participants at the CATalyst Summit was awe-inspiring," Jane Brunt, DVM, Summit chair and past president of the AAFP, said. "Throughout the meeting, we kept in mind that it's all about the cat, and as a result participants from so many areas of the feline world agreed on how we can do our part to help cats."
As an immediate outcome of the Summit, the AAFP and the American Animal Hospital Association announced their plan to partner on developing feline life-stage wellness guidelines for veterinary professionals. Winn Feline Foundation will coordinate the writing of a consumer version of the guidelines with the assistance of writers on its media committee.
The CATalyst Summit was first announced as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released the 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, which showed an increase in the cat population coupled with a decline in veterinary visits for cats. Jim Flanigan, Director of Marketing for the AVMA, presented the Sourcebook data along with findings from the Perceptions and Attitudes of Pet Owners study from BNResearch. These studies concluded that cats from households with both dogs and cats were seen by the veterinarian significantly less often than dogs from these same households.
More information about The CATalyst Summit is available at the event Web site, http://www.catalystsummit.org/.